It’s okay to not get everything you read in the Bible.
It’s okay to have questions about the Bible.
It’s okay to say something doesn’t make sense or feels hard about the Bible.
But we only get to do those things if we’re actually reading the Bible. If you’re not in there reading and questioning and sitting with your learning, you’re like a movie critic who tells us his opinion without watching a single movie.
That example seems ridiculous, because we have common sense to know that isn’t how you do your job. But suddenly when we apply that same common sense to the Bible, people get their underpants in a bunch.
Like so, so angry, guys. How dare I tell people to read their Bibles. How dare I say if you pick and choose things from it, you invalidate the whole thing. Just so we’re clear, that’s not my opinion or advice. It’s what the Bible says.
So I was just telling you something I read in the Bible.
Here is what’s hard: I can’t convince you the Bible is God’s inspired Word if you don’t think it is. I can’t quote scripture to tell you how valid the Bible is if you don’t accept it as having the same authority I do.
That really easily ends the argument. We just agree to disagree. I’m giving importance to something you’ve already decided holds no importance. But! But if you claim to be a Jesus follower and you don’t accept the Bible as God’s Word, I get really, really confused.
How do we know God if we aren’t in relationship with Him? How do we know God’s character and will and love without hearing from God in a book He wrote for us? How do we discern what is right and true without a road map?
I don’t think you can.
It’s like saying I’m married, but I don’t actually spend any time with my husband, we don’t live in the same house, and I never hear from him.
It sounds like I’m married in name only, but not actually living as a married person.
And I think that’s where so many of us get stuck. We claim a name, but not the action behind it. Guys, there is a reason Jesus warns us following Him is hard. There is a reason He says most people will not do this because it costs too much. God knows human nature–He created us!–so of course He knows what our tendencies are. Our tendencies for greed and power, for selfishness and laziness, for lust and jealous, for rebellion and hate.
It is not convenient to read your Bible.
It is not always easy to write out a tithe check.
It is not our nature to forgive people who hurt us.
It is not fun to confess sin.
But I believe the promises of the Bible and I live that out through obedience even when it doesn’t look like what the world believes is right. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”
I do not understand everything I read in the Bible.
I have questions about the Bible.
Sometimes the Bible doesn’t make sense, and it feels hard to follow.
But I am putting my hope in His promises, because it’s a choice I’m making. If you want to make a difference choice, you get to do that. But you can’t pick and choose what you want your Christian faith to look like. You can’t decide the parts of the Bible you want in on and the parts you don’t think are right. He makes that pretty clear. If you want to argue that, go spend some time in scripture and in prayer and take it up with God, not Mary Graham.
Finally, it’s not judging you to say the Bible says you should read God’s Word. I got that argument last weekend. I shared what I read in the Bible, and it was the most judgey thing I’ve ever said and how dare I. But the problem with that argument is I have no idea if you personally read the Bible. The police made me stop peeking in your windows and so I haven’t been checking your habits these past few weeks.
If that hits a nerve with you–when I say read the Bible, I think it’s awesome!–it tells more about your heart and issues than mine.
I tell people I think they should read the Bible because I am only married because of the heart change God did on me the past year and a half. I tell people I think they should read the Bible because the only reason I’m able to share my money and resources with people is because God has reminded me again and again that He always provides and it’s not mine anyway. I tell people I think they should read the Bible because I often experience a peace that passes all understanding and I WANT IT FOR YOU TOO.
I don’t share what’s going on in my heart and mind to shame you. And if you’ve been following me on the internet or you know me in real life and you believe that’s where this comes from, I might suggest we part ways. I found freedom and grace and mercy and hope when I was drowning and to not throw out that lifeline to others is selfish. I get excited to share a small glimpse of what God is doing in my life because not too long ago, EVERYTHING FELT DEAD, and now it’s alive again. And some of the best parts I don’t even share on the internet! Some of the craziest, humbling, powerful stories are not even being shared on social media or my blog because they’re still happening or they’re just too overwhelming to put into words still.
I encourage you to read your Bible, because I can’t imagine living any other way.
I encourage you to read your Bible, because I want you to have what I have.
I encourage you to read your Bible, because it turned (and continues to turn) everything upside down in the most perfect, unexpected way.
And if you hear those things and feel instead I’m judging you, I’d say if I know these things to be true in my life and don’t tell you, isn’t that worse? I know freedom and I want to keep it to myself? I found mercy and I don’t want it for anyone else?
That’s not judging you, that’s called love, friends.
-I am hesitant to share this website because I’m not a fan of Focus on the Family, but this article does a good job of answering the question “How do we know the Bible is true?” then it leads to other questions in a series, but I haven’t read them so just be aware of the source, I guess.
-I found this 2017 National Geographic series really interesting. In it scientists and archeologists agree that Jesus existed, there is too much actual proof to discredit his time on earth. Where the debate heats up is whether or not you believe He is the Son of God. And just like everyone else, you get an opinion on that. I believe He is because I’ve spent lots of time and energy learning as much as I can. I’d love for you to do that too, and then make an informed decision. But to just go by hearsay or go by something you learned as a child and not take your adult-brain to do the work of figuring it out now for yourself feels immature. My kid-brain believed I could become a truck driver and live in the trailer part of the truck, like making myself what would today be referred to as a tiny house. It never crossed my mind that truckers haul freight and the back of my truck would have to be filled with something to deliver if I was going to make a living as a truck driver. So I take the things I learned or thought as a child with a grain of salt, and I like to re-examine them as an adult with better critical thinking skills. You get to do that too.
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