Mark Twain is quoted as saying,
Most people are bothered by those passages of scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand.
Despite what you may think about Mark Twain, he’s on to something. Followers of Jesus spend lots of time looking at Revelation, creation, or spiritual gifts. We love debating and arguing about ideas and passages that are larger in scope but ultimately don’t have as much to do with our daily life. We spend so much time talking about Scripture, but very little time living Scripture.
As I recall many of my conversations about the Bible, I often ask questions like “How do you think the world will end? Do you think Creation was completed in 7 days, or was that just a poem?” Rarely do I find myself saying, “The book of James tells us to care for orphans and widows… How can we do that better?”
You see the problem here? The intricacies of the beginning of the world and the schedule of the end of the world is not nearly as important as the question of “How should I live?” If God is creator, how do I live to fulfill His purposes? If Jesus wins in the end, how then do I live to make sure everyone is following Him?
Rarely, have I heard someone say, “They convinced me that the world was created in 7 days, so now I believe in Jesus.” I usually hear:
“This person loved me.”
“They were there for me when I was in a dark time.”
“They walked with me through cancer.”
“They forgave me.”
“They lived out everything they believed."
You see the difference? One approach focuses on being right… The other focuses on loving well. When we love well, we take the truth of Scripture (that we want everyone to believe!) from being an idea and put it on display as a reality. It’s no longer, “The world was created in 7 days, believe it!” But instead, “God created you with His image… So you deserve dignity, justice, and love from me… No matter our differences.”
And I get it… We want to defend Scripture, we want to prove it’s truthfulness, and we want people to know that it is reliable and tested. But no matter how smart we are or how well we prove the Bible (and there are some great thinkers and writers who have done so incredibly well!), people will reject it. That’s why C.S Lewis said,
Whatever claims reverence, risks ridicule.
No matter how well we defend Scripture, people will always ridicule. Because it makes big, life-changing claims. And please hear me, I believe the Bible to be without error. I believe it to be infallible and inspired by the God of Universe. And since I have such strong convictions about Scripture, it’s all the more important that I make its truth a reality by living it out in everyday life.
In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus says, “Your will be done on Earth as it is Heaven.” When we live out the Bible, we bring a little bit of Heaven to Earth. And we give the world glimpses of the life-changing love of Jesus.
Don’t just read or use Scripture to prove a point. Use it as a guide on how to live and how to love. Open your heart to Scripture before using it to judge someone else’s. Let it change you so that you can love, serve, and live Scripture out on a daily basis. After all, it was Jesus who said,
Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.