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The Bible isn’t about you

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The Bible isnt about you

I often find inspiration for writing on Twitter. I came across this tweet by Allie Stuckey, and found that the truth of what she spoke needed greater expounding. There are many ways to read the Bible. Some people read it sarcastically. They seek to disprove or find fault. Some people read it for perspective. They just want to see what it says, for comparative reasons. It almost goes without saying, that people read God’s word in order to fit their own narrative. It’s most often for political or self promoting reasons. And then there are those who read the bible to seek truth and understanding. These people have the best of intentions. However Allie Stuckey correctly points out two schools of thought within this broad category.

Motivational Quotes

One can read the Bible for themselves. What exactly does that look like? Allow me to provide a stereotypical example:

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:13 NASB

This verse is taken out of context for self empowerment everywhere. But if asked to explain the context of this verse, how many could fully articulate the verse they flaunt on their Twitter and Instagram bios.

10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. 14 Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction. in my affliction.

Philippians 4:10-14 NASB

This is a very empowering passage, but the hyper-focus on verse 13 takes away from the previous climax in verse 11. This passage is about being happy in times of suffering, living with joy in all circumstances because of the transforming power of Jesus. This isn’t about your workout grind.

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

This is another verse often read with one thinking of themselves and not God. The context of this verse is almost sad. The only thing prevents this from being sad is the fact that the king and his people refused God. The Israelites had fallen and were about to enter into captivity. Yet Jeremiah prophesies a hope for the future which includes the destruction of Babylon. But the context of this verse is God’s wrath.

Taking verses out of context leads to a very superficial understanding of the bible. It is the direct result of reading the bible and misunderstanding its primary subject. The bible isn’t made to be picked apart for motivational quotes. Instead the bible is a much more powerful story about God’s search and rescue for man.

Every Page is About God

I like how a lot of churches are emphasizing the continuous and unified message of the bible. Indeed, the Gospel message is not limited to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Jesus is the story all along the way. He is first prophesied in Eden, and He comes back in Revelation. The book of Ester is perhaps the least theological book of all the bible, yet the masterful plan can still be seen. When Ester learns of Haman’s plot to kill the Jews, out of faith in God’s plan Mordecai points out that God will not let His people be destroyed.

13 Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not imagine that you in the king’s palace can escape any more than all the Jews. to reply to Esther, “Do not imagine that you in the king’s palace can escape any more than all the Jews. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?”

Ester 4:13-14 NASB

We should read the bible in order to find a deeper understanding of God. It is not a contradiction to turn to scripture in order to seek answers to prayers or receive strength in the face of temptation. For in these purposes, the focus is on God and not one’s self. Another word for this would be meditation.

Reactions and Discussion

Final Thoughts

The Bible is primarily about God. Many Christians often use the Bible to find motivation and encouragement. This isn’t inherently wrong, but only reading the Bible for these purposes is not a close supplement for meditation. Meditating on scripture is how one grows closer to God. In contrast, using the Bible to meditate on one’s self may start out as seeking encouragement but later lead to a mystical, or even gnostic, understanding of God. You may also be susceptible to the Prosperity Gospel which preaches daily about reading the Bible with a self-serving purpose. The Devil is well versed in scripture and without focusing on God in reading scripture, these concerns are real. With these concerns in mind, Allie Stuckey is right to call reading the Bible, thinking it is primarily about us, and not God, dangerous.


This post was originally publishd on Startup Christ. Startup Christ is a website for business and theology articles and columns.

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Culture and Religion

Daniel Greenfield discusses Jamie Glazov’s book “Jihadist Psychopath”

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Daniel Greenfield discusses Jamie Glazovs book Jihadist Psychopath

Jamie Glazov, managing editor of FrontPage Magazine and host of The Glazov Gang, has written a book that political commentator Dennis Prager says is “one of the most important books of the present time.” That book is “Jihadist Psychopath” and I just ordered a copy for myself.

Daniel Greenfield, Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, made a video about the book that prompted me to order it. Both men are respected defenders of freedom and watchmen over the threat of jihad in America, Israel, and around the world.

As he is wont to do, Greenfield points to leftist politicians as enablers of the jihadists by turning a blind eye to the rise of sharia law across America.

“These servants of the people, public servants, they’re actually masters of the people. They prefer to dictate than to be dictated to. Now, of course, Islamic terrorists will, in their own time, dictate to them. They will dictate to them using Islamic sharia law, but as far as the left is concerned for the moment, these are the people who need them, who are badly, desperately in need of being defended and protected and of course will happily trade their votes in exchange for getting a few benefits on the side.”

He continues on, examining the book’s sober pronouncements of intolerance of anything and anyone who does not bow to sharia law. To jihadists, there is only one acceptable way to live and all other perspectives must be subjugated or eliminated.

“Islamic terrorists have no attraction for anything really positive in life,” Greenfield continues. “They’re drawn to destruction. They’re drawn to emptiness because they themselves are empty. They’re hollow, and that is a central principle of Jamie Glazov’s excellent book.”

Patriots ranging from Steven Emerson to John Bolton are publicly recommending this book. I ordered my copy after watching Greenfield’s video. Freedom-loving Americans should watch it and consider reading “Jihadist Psychopath” by Jamie Glazov.


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Matt Walsh speaks out on #CovingtonCatholic students and the fake controversy surrounding them

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Matt Walsh speaks out on CovingtonCatholic students and the fake controversy surrounding them

When white Catholic students wearing MAGA hats are caught on video face-to-face with Native Americans on one side and Black Hebrew Israelites on the other, they’re definitely bigoted white supremacist hatemongers who went out looking for minorities to persecute. At least that’s how mainstream media and a good chunk of social media reacted when they saw the initial videos and images of smirking MAGA children.

But that’s not how it went down. It was the exact opposite of how it went down.

When the story first broke, I saw many of my fellow conservatives on Twitter scolding the kids while the progressive gangs attacked them. I held my tongue. It’s not because I don’t speak out against bigotry regardless of which side of the political, religious, or cultural aisle it comes from, but something seemed fishy. Other than having a disconcerting smirk, I didn’t see anything in the kids that resembled the type of bigoted outbursts we’ve seen in the past from actual white supremacists, Antifa, or other hate groups.

It seemed staged. As it turned out, it wasn’t quite staged, per se, but it was manufactured by the two “victim” groups who went after the MAGA kids, not the other way around. As political and religious commentator Matt Walsh asked, were they supposed to drop down to the fetal position when approached by the two groups?

Hot takes on social and legacy media are often based on incomplete pictures. Before people get outraged and attack others over perceptions based on partial evidence, perhaps we should wait until the whole story comes to light. Just a thought.


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Culture and Religion

Does Matthew 22:29-30 indicate Jesus was referencing the Book of Enoch?

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Does Matthew 2229-30 indicate Jesus was referencing the Book of Enoch

Extra-Biblical texts such as the Book of Enoch are often frowned upon by churches. Some see 1 Enoch as fake. Others say it’s a good historical reference but not inspired. The Ethiopian Bible includes it as scripture. Should we read it?

To understand the answer to this question, we need to consider three things. First, it was referenced as holy by many of the early church fathers, but was excluded from official canon. Second, Enoch is referenced multiple times in the Bible: Genesis 4 and 5, Luke 3:37, Hebrews 11:5, and Jude 1:14. Third, Jesus makes a statement in Matthew 22:29-30 that references “scripture” but what he is saying is only found in 1 Enoch.

Many who oppose the validity of Enoch say that it was written after the Book of Jude because the it includes the quote that Jude references, but fragments of Enoch were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, which most scholars date to before Jude was born.

The scripture in question is Matthew 22:29-30:

29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.

30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.

Nowhere in the 66 Books of the Bible does it say angels neither marry nor are given in marriage. What did Jesus mean when he said “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures” in reference to the angels not marrying?

Here is 1 Enoch 15:5-7:

5. Therefore have I given them wives also that they might impregnate them, and beget children by them, that thus nothing might be wanting to them on earth. 6. But you were ⌈formerly⌉ spiritual, living the eternal life, and immortal for all generations of the world. 7. And therefore I have not appointed wives for you; for as for the spiritual ones of the heaven, in heaven is their dwelling.

Hmm.

As with anything regarding extra-Biblical texts, I must urge caution. Many who believe 1 Enoch is authentic refute the authenticity of 2 Enoch and 3 Enoch. Then, there’s the question of inspiration and protection of the text. Many Christians believe the Bible has been able to survive and flourish despite so many attempts to disrupt it is because it has been protected over the millennia. If that’s the case, why was Enoch not included the whole time?

The answer to this question, to those who believe in its authenticity, may be found in the first two verses of the manuscript.

1 The words of the blessing of Enoch, wherewith he blessed the elect and righteous, who will be 2 living in the day of tribulation, when all the wicked and godless are to be removed. And he took up his parable and said -Enoch a righteous man, whose eyes were opened by God, saw the vision of the Holy One in the heavens, which the angels showed me, and from them I heard everything, and from them I understood as I saw, but not for this generation, but for a remote one which is 3 for to come. Concerning the elect I said, and took up my parable concerning them:

If Enoch is real, it’s meant for a later generation living in the day of tribulation. If it’s a fake, then it’s intended to deceive those in the end times. Either way, it’s understandable that it would not be included in most Bibles.

I tend to believe 1 Enoch is legitimate, but not to the point that I would teach on it. Not yet. Much more prayer and study is required before I would ever risk misleading anyone.

Nevertheless, the reference in Matthew 22 is compelling.

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