I’ve never been one to straddle any divide well. It’s either Lo-Carbing my way through a perennial Brain Fog or eating Grain Waves chips/crisps like they are going out of fashion. Sleeping for Britain or spending every day, working like there was some Fascist Dictator stood behind my computer cracking motivational whip and barking at my about my self-worth. My preferred default has always been Black and White.
One of the things that I most found comfort in when coming to faith in Christianity was that the Bible was the infallible, inerrant Word of God. Many a conversation around a moral quandary or life challenge could be ended with ‘Well the Bible says X’. I would often use it as my Get Out of Jail Free card for whatever problem that lay in my way. Now, the fact of the matter is that I still believe that the Bible is God inspired writing that, being more than just good lifestyle advice, can actually help guide my life to fulfillment and making the maximum impact I possibly could in the short 3 score and 10 years I may have before my little Welsh bones become top quality compost. The book of 2 Timothy puts it like this in Chapter 3 and Verse 16:
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness”
For the every-day Christian the Word (as we like to abbreviate to as in ‘Word to your (Reverend) Mother) is an anchor, a compass, a comfort blanket, a pilot light, a reference point, not to mention an unbridled source of inspiration.
BUT depending on your level of experience, the route you have travelled, the church you have attended or indeed your in-depth knowledge of Ancient Greek or Hebrew, your interpretation of the God inspired content can vary. Irrespective of whether Jesus is actually your Home Boy, I would argue that most people would be able to give an example of where the Bible has been used to justify, defend or advance causes that we find inflammatory, offensive or down right bloody hurtful.
Life does not neatly slot into Black and White. There is often SO much grey that it can leave you feeling lost, confused and at a dead loss as to how to make ends meet. To try and answer this by hurling a choice bible verse at a person risks cheapening someone’s experience. How do I provide a Biblical explanation for the Orlando shootings? ISIS? Racism and Homophobia emotionally crippling potential? Fact is, I can’t.
This is why our resorting to the Bible, too simplistically, as a be-all and end-all to our conversations can actually be somewhat cowardly. I know that I have been guilty of hiding behind what the Bible says to cover up the fact that there was a contentious issue I didn’t quite know how to address. I would use Scripture as a neat little bow to wrap around an stinking ugly mess of a situation, hoping that it would turn a frown upside down. To anyone that may have been on the receiving end of that, I am incredibly sorry. It’s Bible Bashing of the worst degree.
As Christians, we are called to let the Bible direct our steps, but we are also called to wrestle, sometimes quite painfully, with what we think the Word of God is directing us to do. ‘What could God mean by this?’ ‘Why is X happening all the time?’ ‘What does He want me to do with my life?’ ‘Where can we tease out answers to the world’s pains from what we believe is God breathed teaching?’
We have to remember, however, that a hurt and broken world doesn’t often need to understand the nuances of post-millennialism and pre-millennialism, pentecostal vs cessationist theology (as clinchy as they both are).
They actually, more than anything, need to see us reflect Jesus in what we say and what we do.
I definitely don’t have all the answers. I may never know why certain things happen or why I struggle with certain flipping annoying battles in life, which is why I try to not spend time magnifying issues that are out of my control It takes me back to Mark 12:30-31
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[a] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] There is no commandment greater than these.”
Basically Love God, Love People.
Dearly Beloved! Get into the Bible in a big way, wrap your thinking matter around deep theological issues, please. Only just make sure that pouring out love, compassion, selflessly serving others and bringing a healthy serving of joy to every situation and person you touch comes before your apologetics. That is the Power of God. That is the Christian Walk.
I suck royally at this a lot of the time but am determined to get better.