“I Read it My Way!”

OK, so some guys decide to get together in like a Bible study group. They get really interested in ‘the neat stuff’ in The Revelation and start to drift towards adding a lot of ‘what if’s’ to what they are reading. One day one of them says, “Hey, there’s this really neat verse where Jesus tells his disciples to buy swords!” “Oh, wow! How cool is that!” is the general response. Next thing you know, guys are out in the woods training with assault rifles and planning to instigate the Second Coming all by themselves. Where to begin; how about this, ‘Christian militia’ is an oxymoron, at least in terms of how we understand militia in the United States today; trust me, as an evangelical Christian, that’s not who we are or who we should be. Here’s another thought; reading the Bible to justify my pet peeves, defend my favorite ‘ism’ or simply to prove I’m right and everyone else is wrong is dangerous, self deceiving, and, dare we say, sinful.

When we read the Bible, we begin with prayer, and how we pray is critical. We should not pray, “Lord help me use your Word to make my point.” Rather, we should pray, “Lord open Your Word to me and show me Your way, truth, and life.” To put this as concisely as I am able, pulling a verse from its larger context is simply a pretext to justify my predetermined intent. The Bible is not a designer book, to be packaged to appeal to my whims; it is the Word of the Living God, given to us for His purposes, not ours.

15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

2 Timothy 2:15 (NIV)