I have noticed a disturbing occurring that happens far too often. I have noticed most in the Calvinist/non-Calvinist argument, but it seems to pop up all over the place. It’s the shoot out using the supporting Bible Verse. We disagree, we quote scripture and then someone else trumps out scripture with one of their own. For a denomination that claims to believe in inerrency, i can’t help but wonder what we are thinking about.
As believers, can we really use scripture to contradict scripture when we say that scripture never contradicts? What example are we showing people who visit the blog when we start shooting scripture at each other? Do we seriously believe that if we quote a scripture, regardless of context, that seems to prove our point that we are being Biblically based? How is it that we use scripture to disprove scripture rather than interpret scripture.
I am going to go out on a limb and say that if you are quoting a verse to disprove someone who quoted a verse, you are doing it wrong. So how should we do it right? I am so glad you asked.
First, we need to address and examine the scripture being quoted, look at the context and meaning. If someone is quoting something out of context or in error, we need to address that, not just shoot back. For example, if someone quote Psalms 137:9 as justification for abortion, we need to talk to that person about the verse, the context and the exegetical interpretation. If someone quotes something that is in error, we need to discuss the passage in error. Remember that often there are multiple interpretations, so we share our view and our justification. We use scripture to interpret scripture, we use context and we other evidence, like archaeological evidence.
Too often we make scripture say things it doesn’t say. Many of you have read the article I posted concerning the “Gates of Hades”. Many refer to that as the power of the devil, which makes me cringe. In pagan mythology, there is a ruler of the underworld, and we have transferred that into Christianity to say that the devil lives and rules hell. That is pagan, not Biblical. If we use scripture, we see Satan is on the earth, and hell is punishment for him and his angels and all those who follow him. He doesn’t rule hell, hell will rule Satan. To say that hell is the domain of Satan is a bad interpretation, and we know that by using scripture to interpret scripture. To really look a the issue however, we have to address the scripture being used.
The most important thing is that we must let the scripture change us, not change the scripture. Too often we find a scripture that support our theological bent and quote it, regardless of context. We don’t bother to study, we just find something that supports what we already believe. As pastors and leaders, it’s easy for us to quote stuff about followers submitting and respecting. We tend to ignore the parts about to be a leader we must be the servant of all, and to be the greatest we must be the least. We would much rather focus on the stuff we like. I find husbands know the verses about wives by heart, and the wives know the verses about how the husband should behave. Parents can quote lots of things about how their kids should behave, but we seldom want to apply the hard verses to ourselves. The last thing we want is to have our theology challenged, change our view or make us admit we are wrong.
Next time someone quotes a passage you don’t like or agree with, don’t shoot back. Examine the scripture and let the scripture change you. Even if that means becoming a Cal. . . . I won’t go there.