Christians don’t often talk about the times when we don’t like the Bible. It is taboo for a Christian to admit that God’s Word does not always make our lives easier. In fact, sometimes the scriptures do not grant us comfort, but instead cause tension and hurt.
In the Blogging Theologically post “Don’t Apologize for the Bible,” author Aaron Armstrong writes that there are three main reasons the Bible causes tension:
- It causes trouble for those who desperately want all religions to say basically the same thing.
- It causes trouble for those seeking to make a name for themselves as they bring about their manmade utopia.
- It causes trouble for average Christians who are trying to live peacefully in a world that increasingly finds everything they believe offensive.
But how do we respond when scripture asserts its differences from other religions? How do we respond when others claim that their success comes from themselves, not from God? And how do we respond when modern culture contradicts almost every commandment from our Father?
Armstrong says we have two choices: We could apologize for the Bible. Or we can press into the tension.
Apologizing would be the easiest option. Apologizing for the Bible and its contents would separate us from the scriptures that causes others to take offense. Saying, “I’m sorry that the Bible says _______. It was written a long time ago and _______ is not applicable to society today,” would mend feelings and excuse us from the offensive scriptures. Many Christians choose this option. But the second option is better.
Armstrong writes, “Rather than apologize, we should embrace the latter option and press into the tension we feel. We can acknowledge that there are aspects of the Bible which are profoundly difficult for us to accept. They will put us at odds with the world, and even ourselves at times.”
Why should we choose this option when it is so much more difficult than dismissing the trouble-causing texts? Armstrong answers:
“...this is also what should encourage us—for it means the words in this Bible that reads us as much as we read it, that challenges us in ways we didn’t think possible, may just actually be true.”
As Christians, we don’t always have to like what we are reading. But we do have to accept it and follow it as God’s truth.
In a previous Blogging Theologically post, Armstrong pointed out three scriptures that cause many Christians discomfort.
- “But to all who did receive Him, He gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13)
- “I give them eternal life,and they will never perish—ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand.” (John 10:28)
- “There is no one who can hold back His hand or say to Him, “What have You done?” (Daniel 4:35b)
BibleStudyTools.com editor Rachel Dawson explained why these verses could hurt. “These verses make it clear-- we are not the boss here. God is the true King, Father, Ruler, and Lord of all.”
We like to think of ourselves as in charge of our own lives. But we’re not. God, the one who gave us life, is always first in command.
Dawson writes, “We might not put these verses on our bathroom mirrors or read them on our coffee mugs as often, but these are verses that give us a healthy, needed perspective on who we are and who God is. It’s only when we realize we aren’t in control of our own destinies and lives that we can surrender them to the God who has created us and set the paths before us to be greater than we could dare or imagine.”
Has anyone ever challenged your faith? How have you defended your beliefs and what the Bible says?
Carrie Dedrick is the Family Editor for Crosswalk.com.
Publication date: February 19, 2016