Crazy leadership tactic…
Click here to read this week’s article for April 7, 2011. (sorry for the confusion)
[The following is from March 31, 2011]
After last Sunday’s mega-message, in which we explored some controversial passages in the New Testament about women in the church, I heard some troubling feedback. In short, the feedback was this: “Mark, if we can’t simply read the Bible and understand it without all kinds of background information, then what’s the point of reading it at all?” To which I immediately think, “That’s NOT what I meant!” But it’s a fair question. Let me try to address it.
- First, the vast majority of what we read in the Bible requires no further explanation. Things like, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” “In your anger do not sin,” “Worship the Lord with gladness,” “Flee sexual immorality,” “Share with God’s people who are in need,” “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others,” just to name a few examples.
- Second, there is power in God’s word. When we open the book, we open our lives to God’s Spirit. You can actually trust God to help you learn and grow as you’re reading, even if you don’t understand everything! As a life-long student of Scripture, I can honestly say that I continually learn and grow from my regular, personal Bible reading, which I do without any outside resources.
- Third, there truly ARE some difficult passages that we need help with. One of the reasons we have difficulty is that the Bible was written thousands of years ago in a language and culture that we’re completely ignorant of. Think of it this way: most of us can’t even explain the culture and events that led to the First World War, which was less than 100 years ago! Or imagine someone trying to understand Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech if they knew nothing about the history of race relations in America. Sometimes we simply HAVE to learn the context surrounding the conversation. We talked extensively about overcoming these difficulties in our series, “Making Sense of the Bible,” from January of this year. If you missed that series, check out the podcasts. If you want to go further, sign up the next time we offer our workshop, “Dig Deeper.” There we provide even more help on how to study and learn and grow in the area of personal Bible study.
So please don’t let the difficult passages discourage you from pursuing the most effective tool known for personal spiritual development. And if you want to learn more about the topic we dealt with over the last two weeks, be sure to let us know. You can click here and type the phrase, “biblical equality,” in the subject line. We’ll add your name to the list and let you know the details of that discussion group when we get them finalized.