Have you ever wondered, perhaps not aloud, why God allowed some things into the Bible? Why was there a need for all those geneologies? Wouldn’t it be better if the Rich Man & Lazarus parable had been left out? Do we need the record of mass killings in the Old Testament? And why in the world was Colossians 2:16 included, especially when God knew that at the end of time there would be such vicious attacks against the seventh-day Sabbath?
This mental editting of the Bible is nothing new. Jesus had to call out some religious leaders in His day for not knowing the Scriptures or the power of God (Matthew 22:29) even though they had been quoting Scripture to Him. Thomas Jefferson, one of America’s founding fathers, took the time to edit out of the gospels what he didn’t like, actually creating The Jefferson Bible.
Through the years I have gradually realized the importance of parts of the Bible I had not highly valued before. I began to look for gold where I had just seen a big pile of dirt previously.
- Geneologies. In Richard Davidson’s “Theology of the Old Testament” class years ago I began to get excited when he pointed out the difference between interlocking geneologies (e.g. Genesis 5, 11) and other geneologies (e.g. Genesis 4, 10). These interlocking records don’t allow for the gaps in generations we find in general geneologies. Because of their nature they help us know the age of the human race and answer some of the claims of the critics that there are large gaps in all geneologies. These chapters helped estabilish the reliability of Genesis as acurate history in my mind. In the years since, I have many other reasons to appreciate geneologies, including the self discipline it takes to try to actually pronounce each name! Thank you, Lord, for Your geneologies.
- Rich Man and Lazarus parable. Many of us can point out how the Rich Man & Lazarus (Luke 16) is clearly a parable and not an actual story. But I remember the day when I said “What is Jesus’ point in telling this parable and having it included in the Bible, knowing that lots of people would misuse it?” That’s when I discovered that this parable is a serious warning to those who would later claim to be “New Testament Christians.” Jesus tells us if we reject Moses and the prophets we are in serious danger of rejecting Jesus, Himself. Thank you, Lord, for giving us the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus.
- Mass killings. Why would God include this type of thing in the Bible knowing that lots of people would misunderstand His character of love? Reading the book A Deep but Dazzling Darkness: Exploring God’s “Dark Side” in the Light of His Love answered this question and a lot more. I highly recommend reading it. Thank you, Lord, for an accurate record of the good, the bad and the ugly, with plenty of evidence of Your justice and mercy scattered throughout.
- Colossians 2:16. This text has brought more anti-Sabbath fire than just about any other in Scripture. Why did God leave it in there? I got my answer this month when I read Judging the Sabbath: Discovering What Can’t Be Found in Colossians 2:16 by Ron du Preez, published by Andrews University Press (Berrien Springs, MI). See more in Lifelong Learning- Colossians 2:16 post below. When this text and passage is understood properly it addresses a different challenge we have today- those who claim that the feast days are still mandatory. I can now even say “Thank you, Lord, for including Colossians 2:16 in Your word”!
Every time I question God’s wisdom I find out again that God has a much bigger picture of what is needed than I do. That’s why He says “”For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.” Isaiah 55:8.
Every single part of Scripture “is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16, 17. To maintain the vital connection with Jesus that will see me through the endtimes I need all Scripture so I will know what is true (doctrine), what I’m doing wrong (reproof), how to correct it (correction), and how to pursue a godly life in Christ (instruction in righteousness).
Evidently, if I don’t ignore the parts of the Bible that don’t seem important to me at the time, I will be thoroughly equipped when I need it most. Thank you, Lord, for every verse in Your word.
Blessings to you,
P.S. “Let all seek to comprehend, to the full extent of their powers, the meaning of the word of God. A mere superficial reading of the inspired word will be of little advantage; for every statement made in the sacred pages requires thoughtful contemplation. It is true that some passages do not require as earnest concentration as do others; for their meaning is more evident. But the student of the word of God should seek to understand the bearing of one passage upon another until the chain of truth is revealed to his vision. As veins of precious ore are hidden beneath the surface of the earth, so spiritual riches are concealed in the passages of Holy Writ, and it requires mental effort and prayerful attention to discover the hidden meaning of the word of God. Let every student who values the heavenly treasure put to the stretch his mental and spiritual powers, and sink the shaft deep into the mine of truth, that he may obtain the celestial gold,–that wisdom which will make him wise unto salvation. If half the zeal manifested in seeking to comprehend the bright ideas of infidels, was manifested in studying the plan of salvation, thousands who are now in darkness, would be charmed with the wisdom, the purity, the elevation of the provisions of God in our behalf; they would be lifted out of and away from themselves in wonder and amazement at the love and condescension of God in giving his only begotten Son for a fallen race.” Christian Education, 100, 101