The Danger of Abusing the Bible

We live in an age of biblical illiteracy.  To be illiterate is to not be able to read.  Another phrase that might help us understand is practical illiteracy.  That means that where as a person can read, they don’t, so they are practically illiterate.  The phrase I used a moment ago, biblical illiteracy, means that the bible is largely unread.  And many who claim to read it make no effort to read and understand how the whole thing works together.

Just this last week I saw two opposing, but dramatic examples of biblical illiteracy.   One is New Your Mayor Bloomburg concluding that if there is a god, he is clear to go to heaven because of his work towards gun control.  Second was an online post claiming that because the bible says divorcées should be stoned and we no longer do that, that means that we clearly regard part of the Bible as antiquated and should also dismiss the commandment to condemn other lifestyle issues that are popular today.

Both of these conclusions demonstrate a total biblical illiteracy.  First, Mayor Bloomburg cannot go to heaven for any political action he takes because there is no such thing as earning your way to heaven by what you do.  Only the grace of God allows that.  Second, the online post was ridiculous because the bible does not command us to stone the divorced woman.  And those of us who know the bible, know that even if such a law existed, it is covered by the work of Christ on the cross and we no longer need to stone anyone.

The primary danger of biblical illiteracy is that people will manipulate what they have heard about the bible and thereby misuse it.  We have a long history of that and that is the kind of thing that gets us in trouble.  A couple examples, see how Satan talked to Eve in Genesis 3, and consider the real reasons and causes of what history calls the “Holy Crusades.”

People often conclude that the answer is not to take the Bible literally.  The answer is actually the opposite, take it literally (according to the authors intent), and take it as a whole.  Not just selecting certain parts to do either good or bad in the world around us.  Jesus has fulfilled the law and called us to trust in Him and show love and grace to one another.  You cannot implement any part of the bible without a full view of scripture and what the author was intending to communicate in the first place.

For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes – Romans 10:4

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