When I transferred schools in the middle of the eighth grade, I went from an elementary school (kindergarten to 8th grade) to a junior high school (7, 8, 9). By the time classes began for the 9th grade, I felt as though I was pretty important. After all, the 9th graders were top dogs.
Unfortunately for me, my imagined importance failed to benefit my lack of attention in Algebra class (why didn’t someone tell me that algebra is the foundation for all math classes from then on? Oh, they did?) Anyway, I studied little and stumbled through with a C average (C means I never fell asleep in class).
The following year meant high school and geometry class. A fascinating subject which focuses on shapes, sizes, angles, and properties of space. Guess what! Contrary to what I thought, geometry uses algebraic formulae to work out all the problems. Algebra. The class I barely passed and had little accumulated knowledge about. Instead of a hill, I had a mountain to climb.
While taking algebra, I had a textbook but used it very little, therefore I was poorly informed regarding its contents. That may describe some Christians; we have the textbook but seldom read its contents which leaves us poorly informed and ill prepared for spiritual warfare.
We Christians proudly declare our love of and faith in God’s everlasting Word, the Bible. And yet, when we read those challenging verses which would require life changes, how often are they disregarded or ignored? If I’m honest, fairly often. Let’s look at some examples:
1 Timothy 2:8 “In every place of worship, I want men to pray with holy hands lifted up to God, free from anger and controversy.” Does this accurately describe men in our places of worship? Do we take time for men to pray during service with holy hands lifted up to God? If not, why not? Our textbook instructs us to do so.
1 Timothy 2:9-10 “And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes. For women who claim to be devoted to God should make themselves attractive by the good things they do.”
What? Are you serious? Women have fought long and hard to find equality in a male dominated world. This is harking back to ancient, caveman ideals. Surely this is not literal. This must be like a parable or thought-provoking words of wisdom, right?
What do these two verses say? Are they not clear enough? Just because the church has abandoned these instructions does not make them null and void. Rather it makes us haughty enough to believe we can disregard them since they don’t fit into our society today. To please those who find these verses archaic and offensive, the church has relegated them to “that was for those days, for that specific situation.”
Really? Remember the textbook example above? Ignoring these verses is like me ignoring the foundational algebraic instructions in my textbook. And how did that work?
Romans 10:13 “For everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” Let’s take a vote. Everyone in favor of this verse being relevant to today’s world and our society, raise your hands. Don’t be ridiculous, you say. That verse is essential to the Gospel. We can’t just ignore important verses in the Bible. After all, the Bible is God’s Word that lasts forever (1 Peter 1:25).
And yet, deciding certain verses are no longer pertinent or applicable today is ignoring God’s Word. Somehow we’ve decided by consent that verses too challenging or distasteful should be altered or outright ignored. How can we possibly be that audacious? That irreverent?
2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.”
If we are followers of Christ, we cannot allow ourselves to ignore sections of the Bible in favor of soothing ruffled feelings.
Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.”