Saturday, April 21, 2007

On quoting Bible verses

Anything can be justified by taking a handful of Bible verses out of context. The neo-Nazi "Christian Identity" movement, for example, sprinkles Bible verses all through their literature to justify calls for the murder of all non-white Americans, genocide of Jews, and other such apalling un-Christian activities. Only by considering the totality of the life of Christ can you truly begin to comprehend what it means to be Christian. A sprinkling of Bible verses out of context means nothing, especially when said Bible verses are bad translations of Greek translations of Aramaic and Hebrew verses.

There is a saying, "can't see the forest for the trees." Bible verses are the trees. The life of Christ is the forest. You cannot have a forest without trees. But, conversely, a tree, alone, is not a forest, just as a verse, alone, does not begin to express the totality of God's will as expressed in the Bible. Too many people see a few trees and fail to see the entire forest that is God's word as recorded in the Bible.

I can quote Bible verses quite well, thank you, and have done so extensively in the past to support various points I've attempted to make. I have ceased to do so, because the realization has dawned on me that this representation of a few trees as the forest that is the totality of God's will is fundamentally dishonest. Only by reading passages in their proper context can you begin to see the totality of God's word. Scattering verses hither and fro out of context is a means of serving Man, not of serving God, a means of making rhetorical points that serve the goals of Man, not a means of appreciating God's word regarding what it means to be a Christian.

- Badtux the Theology Penguin


  1. The analogy you made in the second paragraph is one of the best I have ever seen. Makes me want to steal it and use it.

  2. I just don't want people reminding me of DEUTERONOMY 22

    I happen to enjoy wearing wool and linen together.

  3. Being as I'm God, I have never been able to read the bible from front to back covers because that piece of shit insults my intelligence.

    I destroy every copy given to me.

  4. If you still think I am twisting verses, look at these sections of the Bible dealing directly with the sin nature.

    -PSM 51:5
    -ROM 7:5
    -ROM 7:18
    -ROM 7:25
    -ROM 8:3-12
    -ROM 13:14
    -1 COR 5:5
    -GAL 5:13-24
    -GAL 6:8
    -EPH 2:1,3,5
    -COL 2:11-13
    -COL 3:5-10
    -1 TIM 2:13,14
    -2 PET 2:10
    -2 PET 2:18
    -1 JHN 1:8

    That's quite a forest of information, don't you think?

  5. There are 31,102 verses in the Protestant Bible (the Catholic Bible adds a couple more books to the Old Testament that for some reason got omitted from the Protestant Bible despite the fact that they existed in the Hebrew scripture at the time of Jesus). You quote 16 verses. That's 0.05% of the verses in the Bible, or roughly a few shrubs on the edge of the forest. Go take a look at the section in your home school math text on percentages to figure out just how tiny a number you're talking about.

    I personally don't know whether Man is "inherently sinful" or not, and frankly consider it irrelevant. As a mere human, I feel making such statements is placing myself into the shoes of God and thus inherently heresy (or as the Bible School teachers would have said when I was a kid, "papistry"), since I am a mere mortal limited man and God is infinite and thus my puny limited brain is incapable of comprehending the totality of God. Christian humility requires submission to God's will in an attempt to live a Christian life, rather than making statements as to what God's will must be. God doesn't need you or me to speak for Him.

  6. Pilgrim: Steal away. BBC: You're mighty full of yourself, eh?

  7. You are still COMPLETELY missing the point.

    16 verses is A LOT when compared to the relevance that it speeks specifically on a particular topic. Do you accept the doctrine of the Trinity (God/3 persons)? I wouldn't be surprised...but did you know that word is never used throughout the Bible?

    There are DIRECT references to sin nature. That isn't my opinion. That isn't my speaking for God. That is simply what the Bible states.

    My making the statement that man is sinful is not stepping into the shoes of God, but rather relaying the information that he has displayed before all of us in the Bible.

    It is no different than making any other statement stemming from the Bible. I can say that the Holy Spirit is a part of the triune God. It's mentioned throughout the Bible. In fact, there are 105 verses that involve the Holy Spirit.

    Even with over 100 verses, that is only 0.003% of all verses in the Bible. Can you then not accept the relevance of the Holy Spirit?

    (BTW, after I am done with my homeschool statistics text book, you might wanna check it out as well. 16 verses out of 31,102 = 0.0005%, not 0.05%)

    In the end, you can choose to believe whatever you want to believe in. Free will right? But only understand that ignorance won't help you any.

  8. Hey Jonathon, to convert a decimal to a percentage you move the decimal place two places to the right. My students (I am a former math teacher) always had trouble with that one, it does not surprise me that you had the same trouble. I probably used the same textbook that you use (if you're using the Saxon math) because my school was so poor that this was the only textbook I could find in the bookroom where there was enough books for all my students (someone had donated the books to our school) and I liked the fact that it had a lot of different kinds of problems in every section and kept going back to them in future sections so that students would not forget, but I supplemented it heavily because it taught rote procedures well but didn't tell you *why*. For example, I showed my Geometry students how, by inscribing triangles into a circle of radius one and increasing the number of triangles, the sum of the area of the triangles approached pi. Now, Saxon just tells you that pi=3.14159etc. (sorry I only have pi memorized to 5 decimal places heh!), but doesn't tell you where pi came from. Saxon math just presents pi as "magic". But there is nothing "magic" about mathematics, it is simply a language that can be used to describe certain facets of reality.

    Anyhow, regarding the Holy Trinity, that is a subject as interesting to me as the subject of how many angels can dance upon the head of a pin. Being a Christian means you accept Jesus Christ into your heart and try to live a Christian life using the Bible as an overall guide for how to do so, it doesn't have anything to do with discussions of how many angels can dance upon the head of a pin or how many pieces God can break himself into or whatever. The notion of the Holy Trinity is not particularly puzzling to anyone with a firm grounding in physics, since it mirrors the current understanding of the nature of light (which is both a particle and a wave at the same time), but all the same, it is not particularly interesting, because it gives no clues as to how to live a Christ-like life.


  9. Oh, BTW, I realize now that my "homeschool math textbook" crack could be construed to be offensive. I have to apologize for that. Like I said, I'm quite familiar with Saxon Math (and I understand ABEKA is similar), and understand its limitations all too well. Unfortunately, many users of these math texts do not have such understanding, because they've never been exposed to other curriculums. (If you want to know what my favorite math curriculum for home schooling is, it would be the Singapore Math, which, however, has its own limitations that need to be worked around).


  10. it's all good...we were misreading each other in math.

    I read your statment as .05% in relation to 1 as 100%, while you were stating .05% in relation to half of ten percent of one percent. So in the end, I am pretty sure that's clear.

    Don't worry about the the comments, I am not ngoing to be offended easily on the blogsphere.

    One last thing: what's the deal with all the profanity on the blog, anyways?

  11. Yeah, BT, what the fuck is up with that?

    And, according to the Bible, eating shrimp is an abomination. So, lovin' me some scampi, I'll be headin' straight to H-E-double hockey sticks, I guess...


  12. Jonathan, rule #1 of life is, "if you're in a hole, quit digging." The only proper response when discovering that you just tried to give a math lesson to a mathematician is "oops!" or nothing at all :-).

    I am happy to hear that you are not easily offended. Too many people are. I insert a few profanities from time to time to make sure that such people swiftly depart the premesis, since I find them to be tedious. Rather un-Christian of me, I know, but really, life is too short to spend time massaging the offended sensibilities of the easily offended.


  13. Mixter, thanks for putting me onto the site. I nearly laughed my ass off. Makes me wonder how many ways shrimp might be prepared in gehenna.

  14. First of all mixter. The things in leviticus and many other rules of the sort in the old testament do not apply to us now. Jesus said, "I did not come to abolish the law, but to full-fill it." Next many things in leviticus are said specifically for the Jewish back then because God was watching out for them. He said don't eat pork because at the time, they had no proper method to cook it and it would be poisonous to them. Same thing with a lot other "rules" that no longer apply


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