Reformation Day Reminder

Today is Reformation Day, the alleged date that Martin Luther nailed his 95 Thesis to the Wittenberg church’s door.

Luther was certainly right to have a problem with the indulgences of the Catholic Church and call them out on their profiteering.

As with most reactionary responses, it went to an equally ridiculous extreme. Luther invented the concept of Sola Fide, which refers to being justified by faith alone.

The only problem is that the only time the Bible mentions “faith alone” is in James 2:24

You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.

So, you are now left having to choose between Sola Fide or Sola Scriptura. Faith Alone or Scripture Alone? Choose carefully, because it can’t be both!

Guess which one Luther chose? You guessed it: he went with his pet doctrine over Scripture.

“Therefore St James’ epistle is really an epistle of straw, compared to these others, for it has nothing of the nature of the Gospel about it . . . The epistle of James gives us much trouble, for the Papists embrace it alone and leave out all the rest…Accordingly, if they will not admit my interpretations, then I shall make rubble also of it. I almost feel like throwing Jimmy into the stove . . . I maintain that some Jew wrote it who probably heard about Christian people but never encountered any. Since he heard that Christians place great weight on faith in Christ, he thought, ‘Wait a moment! I’ll oppose them and urge works alone.’ This he did.”
–Martin Luther

This Reformation Day, take some time to reflect on your faith. How much is based on Scripture and how much is based on defending doctrines that your guys hold? How much of the Bible do you need to throw away to maintain your doctrine? Is your faith consistent with Scripture? Do you know the Scriptures well enough to answer that question? If not, don’t you think you might want to figure that out before you stand before God and give an account?

Don’t worry about reforming the church; reform your own faith.

The Law Cannot Justify

Repeatedly the New Testament tells us that we are not justified by the law.

“Justified” means to declare someone righteous. The law does not declare people righteous.

The law was not designed to make people righteous, nor to declare anyone righteous. The law was written to declare everyone a sinner!

Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
–Romans 3:20

The law tells you what sin is and makes you guilty

Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
–Romans 3:19

The law declares people to be sinners. Paul says in Romans 7 that the law actually stirs up the flesh to sin more. The law makes sin abound.

You can’t be justified by the law because the law could never declare anyone to be righteous. The law points out how unrighteous you are.

The law has NO POWER to make you righteous. If the law can’t make you righteous; then the law can’t declare you righteous.

The only way you can be truly declared righteous in God’s eyes is if something existed that could make you righteous!

That aint the law!

But it is the Gospel!

For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
–Romans 5:19

The Gospel declares you righteous because the Gospel makes you righteous, not just in God’s head or your head, but in actual conduct.

The law cannot do that because the law is weak through the flesh. It has no power to make you do anything right, therefore, it can never declare anyone righteous because before it; no one is righteous.

The law won’t justify you; the Gospel will. Come to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and be made righteous.

But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
–Romans 6:17-18

Justification is Real

Justification is a word thrown around quite a bit by Christians. Any time Christians throw a word around a lot, expect it to have become battered and bruised.

Justification has become a legal term. It means “to declare someone righteous.” But this is more than a legal term, more than God moving you from the unrighteous column to the righteous column.

Something more is going on.

Unfortunately, for many, justification is synonymous with salvation. The Reformers are talked about “justification by faith.” To the extent that justification now means salvation.

Justification is a part of salvation; it’s not the whole thing.

Justification is a declaration that God makes based on who He has made you.

For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
–Romans 5:19

Romans 5:19 is not talking about declaring you righteous! It says you have been made righteous through Christ’s work on the cross.

 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
–2 Corinthians 5:21

Again, this is not just a declaration; it’s a real thing God has made us. We have been made righteous.

So, get this: The reason why God declares us righteous is because He made us righteous!

The common understanding of justification is that God declares us righteous even though we keep living in sin. God just ignores that. God just pretends we’re righteous even though He, we, and everyone else knows we’re not.

Justification understood this way makes God a delusional liar. Yet this is how most people understand justification.

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
–1 Corinthians 6:9-11

You were unrighteous and doing unrighteous things, but now you’ve been made righteous. How so?

Because God has washed you [cleansed you from past sin], sanctified you [separated you from the world and called you to holy living different from the world], and justified you [declared you righteous because that’s what He’s made you].

Justification is not a mind game in God’s head. Justification is a declaration based upon what God has made you through the Gospel.

You used to live in sin, but now you’ve been washed, sanctified, and justified and no longer do those things.

Vincent’s Word Studies says about these verses:

Emphasizing the actual moral renewal, which is the true idea of justification. This is shown by the words “by the Spirit,” etc., for the Spirit is not concerned in mere forensic justification.

Justification is not the whole of salvation, nor is it a make-believe scenario. Justification is a declaration of who we are based on who God has made us through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

God is not a liar. If He calls someone righteous it has to be because they are actually righteous, not just in His head, but in reality.

Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.
–1 John 3:7

Ditching Morals

I am reading a book about the history and psychology of technology. Pretty exciting stuff. I actually started the book more than a year ago. Only on page 100. It has some good points, and also a lot of words.

Technology is invented and developed by necessity. We have needs and we find more efficient ways of meeting them.

When technology started there was an art to it, a craftsmanship and a precision that required effort, time, and skill.

As our tools got better, craftsmanship declined. We didn’t need artistry and skill, we just needed the right machine to make the product. People just pushed buttons and finished items came out.

As we progressed, we ditched artistry and craftsmanship for productivity and efficiency. Our products got uglier while becoming more functional.

The same thing is happening with morals. Morality is getting in the way of getting results. We shove aside such inconvenient niceties for better outcomes.

Take a look at our politics for example. Each party is determined to win at any cost. Morality is out the window. Our side must win. If we have to beat people up or call people names or smear character; so be it! We must win!

The way of the world is toward function over form. Toward quick results over time consuming care.

I don’t really care that our can openers are ugly, gotta be honest that I just want the can open, but it is troubling that we’re willing to throw out morals in order to win and get more stuff.

This is yet another example of the Gospel-life being at odds with worldliness. The Gospel says to slow down and love people. Cross the road to the guy beat up in the ditch and care for him.

Yeah, it’ll slow you down and destroy your efficiency, but it’s the right thing to do. Go the extra mile. Turn the other cheek. Give your shirt too when someone asks for a coat.

This makes no sense to the worldly mind, but makes perfect sense in light of the cross of Christ. Grace is beautiful. The world has no time for grace; they just want to win and get stuff.

Grace loses. Grace cares. Grace takes its time, listens, and helps. Come out from among them and be gracious.

Accepting Or Fighting The Gospel

The Gospel is a life-altering force. Seriously. It is.

In our day the Gospel has become a cute story we believe about this thing this guy did 2,000 years ago.

But the Bible speaks of the Gospel as something you enter into by faith. You are identified with Christ, placed in His Body. His body which was born to suffer and be broken.

As a believer in the Gospel, identified with Christ by faith, don’t be surprised if you suffer and are broken. That’s what He did; if you follow Him, that’s what you’ll do.

Your flesh will hate every minute of following Christ. Your flesh will fight against this. The world will mock you and fight against you. Satan will throw things in your way to defeat you.

Fight the fight of faith.

Faith is a fight.

War a good warfare.

People would rather have a happy Gospel with happiness upon happiness followed by an eternity of happiness.

You can find that Gospel out there, but it’s not the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

When it comes to the Gospel, either way you’ll be fighting something.

You can either accept the Gospel and fight against yourself

or

You can accept yourself and fight against the Gospel.

The lengths people go to in defending their sin and staying away from the Gospel is ridiculous.

You’ll be fighting either way. Just give up the fight against God’s Word. Stop chasing false gospels. Stop twisting Scripture to make you feel better about your sin.

Just give up. Humbly come to the Gospel and receive grace that will strengthen you to fight the real battle.

Christ died to free you from you. Be freed and enter the fight. The victory is assured and the spoils are eternal.

Fight the fight of faith. Lay hold on eternal life.

If We Believe Not, Yet He Abides Faithful

These words are found in 2 Timothy 2:13.

I have heard many interpret this verse to cancel out the previous two verses. The interpretation goes like this:

Even if we lose faith, Jesus Christ won’t get rid of us. I can deny Him or not suffer with Him and that’s ok, because Christ can’t deny Himself.

I find this interpretation to be off the mark by quite a bit.

Verse 13 does not cancel out the warnings of the previous two verses. On the contrary, verse 13 is what gives those verses their bite.

Verse 13 is saying that Jesus Christ is faithful, which means He always does what He says. “He cannot deny himself” is the conclusion of the statement.

Jesus Christ cannot go against who He is or what He has said. He can’t deny what He truly is.

People lose faith all the time. People break their promises every day. Jesus Christ never does that, because He can’t deny himself.

To take this to mean that you can lose faith and Jesus will still save you is weird. He said He can’t deny HIMSELF; it doesn’t say He can’t deny you!

In fact, look at the previous verse! He just said He could deny you!

There are many warning passages in the Bible. 2 Timothy 2:11-13 is just one.

There are many who do not heed these warnings because they sloppily interpret scripture to cancel out any need for a warning.

To use a warning passage to prove you don’t need a warning passage is the height of obstinance.

Read the words on the page. There’s a reason God put them there. God always does what He says, He’s not unfaithful like people are.

Read the words and then adjust your life accordingly. You’ve been warned. Get ready.

If We Deny Him, He Also Will Deny Us

These words are found in 2 Timothy 2:12, right after “if we suffer with Him, we will reign with Him.”

Suffering is no fun.

In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus describes seed that falls on stony ground. A little green shoot pops up, but when the sun rises to its peak, the little shoot gets scorched, withers, and dies.

This seed represents people who believe for a short time until it gets hard, a little suffering comes their way, and they quit.

Suffering has a way of weeding out the pretenders. A little persecution will show who truly believes and who is playing a game.

When you are healthy and wealthy, faith is pretty easy. But when things get tough and life falls apart, what will you do then?

For the believer, suffering increases faith and leads to spiritual growth. For the unbeliever, suffering drives them further from God, they may even blame God and resent Him.

Peter said many confident things in company with like-minded people, but when Jesus was arrested and things turned bad, Peter denied Christ.

Jesus says in Matthew 10:33, “But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

Jesus Christ was/is consistent on this issue. Paul reiterates what Christ said by saying it again in 2 Timothy.

So, what happened with Peter? Has Christ denied him?

Well, Peter repented and came back. The rest of Peter’s life shows that he did not completely disown Christ. He came back. God is always willing to forgive.

But if you deny Christ and never come back, Christ will deny you too. Stern words, but I see no aspect of Christ’s character that makes Him say things that aren’t true.

Jesus Christ always does what He says, which is Paul’s final point in this section of 2 Timothy 2.

If We Suffer, We Shall Also Reign With Him

These words are found in 2 Timothy 2:12.

Suffering is part of the deal in following Christ.

By faith we identify ourselves with Christ. Not just with Christ’s resurrection, but with His death. And not just with His death, but also with His suffering.

What Christ did, by faith, you will do too because you are following Him.

Our suffering and death are not atoning for our sins, nor are they saving us or anyone else. They are what happens when you follow the Suffering Servant!

There is a notion within Christianity that Christ did all the bad stuff, so we get all the good stuff: health and wealth, best life now, wonderful plan for your life, etc..

This notion is not from the Bible.

The Bible repeatedly says that since Christ suffered, don’t be surprised when you do. It’s part of the deal.

It’s so much part of the deal that if you don’t suffer, you can safely conclude you are not following Christ.

Paul says in Romans 8 that the witness of God’s Spirit with our spirit that we are children of God is that we suffer. If we suffer with Him, we will be glorified with Him (8:17).

Paul is saying the same truth here in 2 Timothy.

Paul told the Thessalonian church that their patience and endurance through suffering for Christ was a manifest token of their salvation (2 Thessalonians 1:4-5).

If you suffer for Christ you will have the assurance of salvation.

People doubt their salvation all over the place today. I believe this is because we rarely instruct people to follow Christ and get suffering.

We live in a happy, luxurious, comfortable age. No one is suffering for Christ, therefore, no one has the assurance of salvation.

Many who do feel assured of their salvation are merely pumping themselves with happy thoughts. They can’t prove their salvation in any tangible way other than, “Well, I’m saved because I think I’m saved.”

Suffering is proof of salvation. Suffering is proof that you are following the Suffering Servant.

Not just bad things happen to you suffering either. Bad things happen to everyone. He’s talking about suffering for Christ. About suffering the loss of all things to gain Christ as Paul did (Philippians 3:8).

People don’t like this message. We don’t like dying with Christ and we don’t like suffering with Christ. So, Paul has to address denying Christ next, because that’s what people do when they run into stuff they don’t want to do for Christ.

If We Be Dead With Him, We Shall Also Live With Him

These words are found in 2 Timothy 2:11.

The Gospel is not just a cute story you believe about what some guy did 2,000 years ago that allows you to go to heaven when you die.

The Gospel is about dying with Jesus Christ. By faith we see ourselves crucified with Christ. Dead to sin. Dead to the law. Dead to the world. Dead to the affections and lusts of the flesh.

In other words: dead.

This is not some kind of philosophical mind-game dead either; He’s talking about real consequences right now.

Dead people don’t care about stuff on the earth anymore. My dead father does not care if I take stuff from his office. He’s dead. He doesn’t care.

Dead people do not get entangled with the affairs of this life. Dead people have nothing to fight over. Dead people don’t demand their rights. Dead people are, in short, dead.

When’s the last time you fought with a dead person? When’s the last time a dead person took advantage of you?

Being dead is pretty easy when you’re dead.

But this is the true sticking point of Gospel living: Although we are dead, our flesh bodies are still breathing. We have to reckon ourselves to be dead. Reckon means to consider it to be so.

We’re dead; live like it.

I am crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who lives, it is Christ who lives in me.

When Christ died, He resurrected. If we are dead with Christ, we are also raised up with Him to newness of life.

This new life we live in the flesh, we live by the faith of the son of God who gave Himself for you. The new life we live is one that follows Christ.

New life in Christ doesn’t start when you enter heaven; new life in Christ starts when you’re saved.

We present our bodies as living sacrifices. We deny ourselves and take up the cross. It’s not about me anymore; it’s about Christ in me.

This aint easy, but it is what the Gospel is. Your flesh will hate it, but your flesh doesn’t have a clue!

Die with Christ to truly live.

What Does “A Means of Grace” Mean?

We are often told that there is nothing we can do to get God’s grace. If there were something to do to get grace, it would no longer be grace. It would be a wage given for services rendered.

Many of the same people who emphasize this point (often under “sola gratia“), at the same time, hold to a belief in there being “means of grace.”

A “means to an end” refers to stuff you do to bring about a result. A “means of grace” is using the word “means” in the same way. “Means of Grace” means: stuff you do to get God’s grace, (which view, ironically enough, is typically held by people who don’t think there’s anything you can do to get grace).

For the majority of the Protestant church, the means of grace are prayer, the preaching of the word, and the sacraments (typically limited to Communion and baptism).

By doing such things, people will receive God’s grace to build up their faith.

If you pray; God will grace you with faith-building stuff. If you receive the preaching of the Word; God gives grace. If you eat and drink the church’s stuff and get wet in church; grace will be given to you.

If you don’t do these things, presumably, you will not be given God’s grace.

I actually agree that there are things you do to get grace. I believe this because the Bible says this. However, the biblical means of grace are different from the standard view.

God gives grace to the humble: you must be humble to get God’s grace. Humility is a means of grace.

We are saved by grace through faith. Faith is a means of grace.

Note how believing and being humble go together, and also note how neither thing requires you to be at church!

The real issue behind the means of grace is that a church hierarchy is telling people they need to come to church in order to get God’s grace. You need our leaders and our rituals to get grace.

It’s a classic way of guilting people into church attendance. That’s what’s behind the means of grace.

Faith and humility are all you need to receive grace. They are the only biblically sanctioned means of grace there are.  You don’t need to be in church to do either of them.

You can do them right now, in fact. Give them a try. They work wonders. Grace is cool. It would be cool to get more! Go ahead and get more; aint nothin stoppin ya.

Appointed to Obtain Salvation

For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ
–1 Thessalonians 5:9

Speaking verses we ignore because they freak people out. . .

This verse is troubling for several doctrines.

First, we deal with the word “appointed.” This word means, “to set, place, or put as a passive object.” If I set a book on the table, I am the active agent and the book is passive. The book gets put there by me. It can’t put itself there.

God has not put us in a place where we passively must accept wrath. This undermines the Calvinist idea that some are created by God specifically for the purpose of suffering His wrath in hell.

Second, we deal with the word “obtain.” In the context we are obtaining salvation. To obtain means, “redemption which will give possession. Acquire, purchase, win.”

Ellicott’s commentaty says this about obtaining salvation, “Means more than “obtain;” the Greek means “acquire” by one’s own efforts;” earn and make our own.”

Flipped out yet? Theologically triggered?

God has not put us in a passive position to have to take His wrath. Rather, He placed us as human beings, people who had no say in being born, as passive objects, in this world, a place where we don’t have to get God’s wrath; we can obtain, purchase, or get salvation.

He placed us in a place where we can do something to escape wrath and be saved.

This is where the church has overblown grace. We’ve been told that if there’s something you do to get, purchase, or obtain salvation that this is contrary to grace.

But it’s not. We can meet a condition that obtains salvation. We don’t earn it by works, or by works of the law, or by being impressive to God enough so He saves us. We obtain it through Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ opened a way of salvation through His Gospel, which we can use to obtain salvation. God gives grace to the humble. Being humble is not a work; being humble is the condition to receive grace. You are capable of being humble. Do so and you’ll obtain grace.

There are two ways people could be saved:

  1. completely God’s work, or
  2. we have something to do with it

Calvinism says it’s all God. If it’s all God then we are passive objects being moved by God alone. But Paul says God has not placed us as passive objects to obtain wrath, but placed us in a place where there’s something we can do to obtain salvation.

Therefore, there sure seems to be something I can do to be saved. A response we are capable of making. We respond by faith to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, not as a passive object, but as an active object that can acquire salvation.

Much of our Christian doctrine is an oversimplification based on a handful of verses rather than what the Bible says in whole.

I’ll let you hash out the implications of this verse and you can figure out what you want to do with it and why I’m an idiot for interpreting it the way I did.

That’s fine. The verse remains. Do something with it.

Getting Mad at the Bible

Reading the Bible is one of the best ways to undermine your faith!

I kid you not.

We are all taught doctrine by other people. Some of those people know what they are talking about and some don’t. Most are trying to be helpful, and there are some who are just in it for their own gain.

At a certain point you have to do some thinking about what you’ve been taught. You have to read the Bible to discern whether you were taught well or not.

Problems arise because we have feelings. We have loving thoughts about some of our teachers, some of whom were our own family members. We don’t want to think critically of them.

Sometimes we hate some of our teachers and it makes us hostile to their teaching even when they actually had some things right, but we throw it all out because of our hatred.

We also have feelings of insecurity. What will happen if I leave these doctrines I’ve depended on? What will happen if people I’ve been with find out I’ve backed off that doctrine? They will think I’m stupid and maybe disown me.

Fear is all over this thing.

Right doctrine will also make you do tough things, which are easily avoided by not believing those right doctrines. So we back off and quit. Leave it for smart people. I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing and quit this noise.

There are passages of the Bible that freak people out. They know if they took them seriously they’d have to change things. There would be a cost. They’d rather not pay it.

You can find people who will tell you what you want to hear and will agree to ignore the same verses you ignore. You can all carry on in happy ignorance. But what will you do in the end thereof?

Don’t be afraid of those verses. Figure them out. If you want to know the One who wrote the book; deal with His book.

Don’t get mad at the Bible for not agreeing with you–you’re the idiot in the scenario; not God!

Buck up. Do the work to figure it out and deal with the consequences. Eternity in God’s glory will make it all worth while. Don’t chuck eternal glory for temporal comfort. Pay the price, grow, and advance in the faith.

7 Approaches to Parts of the Bible You Do Like

Sprinkled amongst all the verses in the Bible that we don’t like, are verses we do like.

This is intriguing to me. I’m fascinated by what verses people like and ones they don’t. You can tell a lot about a person by the verses they like.

Not just “like” as in being fond of them either, but I mean the ones you totally think you understand and use constantly to buck up your doctrinal stances. The ones you quote in any Christianesque conversation you’ll have with anyone.

What should you do with verses you do like and know exactly what they mean?

Here are a few options:

1. Quote them ad nauseum. No matter what you’re discussing about the Bible, bring everything back to those four verses you like. Make that verse mean everything.

2. Trump your verses. Make your verses so big, so huge, so massively weighty that no other verse in the Bible could possibly come close to meaning as much or be nearly as weighty. Because of this verse; who really needs the others?

3. Don’t learn more about those verses. Just go with what you got and assume you know everything about these verses. Knowing more could possibly make you not like those verses anymore, why take such risks? Life is too short to be correct.

4. Ignore the context. Take those favorite verses in complete isolation. This will help you bend those verses into your favorite meanings. Not only don’t learn more about the verse; don’t dare learn more about what the author actually meant with them in their context.

5. Base an entire doctrine on your favorite verses alone. Romans 9 is all you need. Ephesians 2:8 is all you need. Whatever the doctrine may be, there is a certain proof text for it. Don’t bother going above and beyond outside those proofs. Just keep bashing people over the head with your one-verse doctrine. The less scripture involved; the more certain you’ll become.

6. Don’t even bother with the verses you don’t like. Too much trouble. It might cause doubt. Be firm in what you’ve got and never go outside your doctrinal bubble. There’s antichrists out there waiting to pounce on those who waver!

That’s pretty much it.

Those are your options.

I kid, I kid.

There remains one more.

7. Make all the verses your favorite verses! Seriously. All Scripture is inspired and is profitable. The whole counsel of Scripture was given for us to use. Whatever things were written before were written for our learning. I imagine there is some reason God gave us a whole book and not just five favorite verses.

Go through your Bible and look at the verses you don’t have underlined. Why are they not underlined? Maybe they are the “begot” verses and genealogies. That’s fine. Maybe they are directions for cutting up sacrificial animals or dimensions of temples or obscure prophecies for nations that don’t exist anymore. That’s fine. I’m not too worried about that.

I mean read the words of Christ you don’t like. Study Paul’s verses that drive you nuts. Read James. Learn to like them and understand them. Unconfuse the confusing bits.

Don’t get too focused on any one verse or passage; this will warp your doctrine big time. Notice the verses particularly that contradict your doctrine. Make them carry as much weight in your understanding as the verses that back up your point.

Coaches tell athletes to work on the parts of their game they are weakest at, not just the parts they’re already good at. I suggest the same thing in the biblical learning realm.

God wrote you a whole book; use the whole book.

7 Approaches to Parts of the Bible You Don’t Like

Everyone has parts of the Bible they don’t like.

Even if we don’t admit we don’t “like” those parts, we will at least admit we don’t know what to do with them.

What do you do with the parts you don’t know what to do with!?

Here are some options

  1. Completely ignore them. Yup, just pretend they don’t exist. Maybe if you ignore them long enough they will disappear.
  2. Deny inspiration. Find a way to undermine Scripture’s authority. Blame the individual authors for being wrongheaded. Ignore that bit about “all scripture” being God-breathed.
  3. Trump them with verses you do like. Find a handful of verses that you actually do like and make those verses somehow trump the ones you don’t like. Explain how the existence of this verse means you no longer need to deal with the verse you don’t like. Use the Bible to tell you why you don’t have to use the Bible.
  4. Follow theologians. If you follow esteemed people, it hardly matters whether you like the Bible; just quote your guys. Find the fancy theological loopholes only smart people can come up with and go with those and stop worrying about that silly old Bible.
  5. Don’t read the Bible. If you never read it;; you’ll never come across verses you don’t like! Just take other people’s word for what’s in there. Conform to a group. Leave the Bible on the shelf for all those smart people to figure out. Just float along in cheery ignorance.
  6. Study original languages. If you know Greek and Hebrew you can convince yourself you’re smart enough to know what words really mean and thus be able to redefine any problematic verse you come across. Be smarter than the Bible and bend it to your whims.

That’s pretty much it.

Those are your options.

I kid. I kid.

There remains one more option:

7. Shut up and deal with it! Stop trying to redefine and verbally escape passages you don’t like. Instead, bow the knee, humble yourself, and be taught. Truly find out why the Bible says what it says. Pray for wisdom and insight, not only in the Bible, but in the nature of God, the author behind the book. Keep your mouth shut, ears open, and prepare to learn. When you learn, adjust your life accordingly.

That is the most difficult option to go with (although learning Hebrew and Greek is tough). It’s the most costly and the most inconvenient. It’ll take you places your flesh has no desire to go.

But I highly recommend this approach. It’s the only one that will work in getting you prepared for Judgment Day.

Don’t be afraid of the Bible; these are words of life. Drink deeply and chew thoroughly. You will be filled.