Sometimes I want to cherry pick the Bible, claim and use the parts that best suit my ideals and motivations while leaving out the unsavory, hard to swallow verses. After all, sometimes I think it would be a lot easier to live out or even defend Christianity if I could distance myself from the more confusing or eyebrow raising bits of scripture. But getting out a sharpie and crossing out verses is really not the answer. After all 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” So to be thoroughly equipped, I can’t run and hide from any of God’s word. Instead, I must dig into the Bible, seeking to learn, understand and apply scripture properly.Although I don’t think pastors need to always preach through books of the Bible, I do think that this practice forces pastors, as well as congregations, to face scriptures that would otherwise not be preached on because of their seemingly difficult or perhaps obscure content. I’m thankful to have sat and learned under many pastors who do not shy away from the deep, rich challenges of scripture. Today was no exception because we heard a sermon on Deuteronomy 22:1-12. Feel free to read these verses yourself but my point here is not to critique or even expound on the sermon. Instead I wish to say that I walked away from church this morning, not only encouraged but emboldened in my faith. Today I was challenged to be set apart and different because I am a Christian. And I was also pointed towards Jesus in how I view people as well as God’s creation. Learning about the cultural context is important, however, scripture is still alive so we can’t forget to see God’s word as relevant and applicable to our current lives.
This is a good reminder for me as I continue to read the Bible and sometimes am tempted to skip reading or dismiss certain scriptures. All scripture is useful. All scripture is God-breathed. And these are the words that can fully equip me for whatever task is ahead.