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Some people do read the bible wrong

Updated: May 9, 2023

This is PART 2 in this Blog Series - If you didn't catch PART 1 yet just click the link and check it out:

As we begin to explore the Bible's teachings on divorce and remarriage, it's important that we understand how to interpret and understand what the Bible says. Simply reading the words on the page doesn't mean that we fully understand their meaning or how they should be applied in our lives. {HOT TIP: Just because someone works at a church or has a bible degree doesn't mean they do either!}

It's important for Christians to not only understand the Bible but also to live it out in a kind and compassionate way. Sometimes, people may think it's more important to be right than to be kind, but I believe that if someone isn't being kind, they may not fully understand the Bible. In the Gospels, Jesus teaches that mercy is more important than judgment. When we help others understand the Bible, it should bring them hope and happiness, not hopelessness.

What the bible says about divorce graphic

Jesus himself faced the challenge of how to interpret and follow the Bible within a community of faith. Some of his contemporaries were so focused on following the rules of the Sabbath that they were cruel to others. For example, in one situation, a man who was healed on the Sabbath was judged for carrying his bedroll home, and Jesus was criticized for healing him on a holy day.

Normally, following the rules of the Sabbath is important, but there may be times when those rules are not appropriate. Jesus taught that the Sabbath was made for people, not the other way around. So, if our understanding of the Bible leads us to treat people in a way that is oppressive, it's important to re-evaluate our understanding of the scripture. This is similar to the problem some pastors have with interpreting the Bible's teachings on divorce and remarriage. They want to uphold the sanctity of marriage, but sometimes their interpretation of certain biblical statements can be oppressive and hurtful, rather than helpful. It's important to remember that the goal is always to understand and follow God's heart for us.

When we read the Bible, it can be helpful to think of it as a guidebook with rules and examples to help us understand how to live according to God's will. But it's important to remember that the Bible is not just a collection of laws. It's a way for God to teach us how to live in a loving and caring way. Each rule or example we find in the Bible has a loving purpose behind it, whether it's the Ten Commandments, laws about food, or laws about divorce.

It's not enough to just follow the rules without understanding the reasons behind them. For example, it's not enough to just avoid using God's name in a bad way, we should also use it in a way that shows respect and worship. And it's not enough to just avoid stealing from our neighbors, we should also help them when they need it. For example, you may know that your neighbor has a lawn mower or snow blower in his shed that is never locked and you could easily take it if you wanted to. Simply not stealing it is not loving your neighbor. Loving your neighbor looks more like helping him fix it if it breaks down, adding a lock to his shed to protect his property for him, or even using the mower or blower for him on his property so that he is helped.

Jesus taught that all of God's commands can be understood through the lens of love. When we think about God's desires for us, we should keep in mind that they come from a place of love, grace, and concern for others. This way of reading the Bible will help us to understand it better and to live in a way that brings blessings and not pain and ruin.

People who view the Bible as a law code have a deep respect for the authority of the scripture. They believe in the infallibility and inerrancy of the Bible and use it as a guide for determining right and wrong in their Christian beliefs. They don't take the Bible lightly and avoid interpreting it in a liberal way that could lead to disregarding certain parts of it. They also hold strong to the traditional views of marriage and other moral codes outlined in the Bible.

On the other hand, some people may have a more liberal view of the Bible, interpreting it in a way that may align with contemporary societal beliefs.

Both perspectives, however, are shaped by cultural influences such as the Renaissance, Enlightenment, and other movements that placed a strong emphasis on reason and science. These cultural shifts in the 18th century Europe led to a desire for objective truth and a rejection of superstition and tyranny. It's important to understand the cultural context when interpreting the Bible and to try to understand it for what it truly is.

There's a lot to understand about how we got to where we are now, where it seems like so many people are against anyone who doesn't think or agree like them. This is also true when it comes to interpreting the Bible. The important question is, do people take the time to read the Bible itself? Do the writers of Scripture disagree with each other? Does a later writer say that what came before is outdated and irrelevant? Do the New Testament evangelists and prophets argue with each other about the meaning of Scripture? How did the early churches manage to stay together despite different opinions about worship and lifestyle among its members?

The Bible is not like a set of instructions for building a house or a map for getting around Los Angeles. It is not a collection of human writings put together over time. It is the revelation of God's will for human life. It is not a reference book for people who want to make sure they are right about spiritual topics. It is more like a novel, where the story unfolds and invites every reader to become a part of it as it moves towards the climax. Paul describes it this way, "All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work."

This language shows that there is genuine spiritual authority in the Word of God, but we need to be careful when we use the word "authority" in today's theology. For most of us, the word "authority" means rules. Instead of thinking of scripture as a map, think of it as a compass. It is teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness that keeps us pointed towards "true North". Everything in the Bible, from the promises in the Hebrew Bible to the Four Gospels to the letters to early Christians and churches, is teaching us to follow the Jesus Path.

Churches haven't always been helpful to people when it comes to making wise decisions about marriage, living together in harmony, and facing challenges that threaten a family. God hates divorce because of the negative effects it has on people's hearts, lives, and spiritual well-being. Anyone who has gone through a divorce knows how difficult it is. So no Christian can ever say that divorce is good, wholesome, or desirable. It was not part of God's plan for humans. But in some situations, divorce may be the least evil of all the options available. For example, it may be necessary to protect children from harm or to force an alcoholic, philanderer, or abuser to face the reality of their sin. Sometimes, people may feel a moral obligation to try and persuade others to stay in a relationship that has become nothing more than a legal shell, but this can drain both people of all their spiritual vitality.

I hope you will continue to follow along with this blog in the weeks to come. Next week, we will take a look at what the Old Testament has to say about divorce and remarriage.

The Journey Church is an online church for people everywhere - check us out!


Here's the link to go straight to episode one in the new series:

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