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By Mike Edwards

This is a two-part Post. First part here.

Most God-followers get their understanding of God from the Bible. Non-God followers often understand God from what people claims about God according to the Bible. Readers may be aware of arguments suggesting dangers when assuming the Bible isn’t entirely inspired by God. I wish to address dangers when not questioning if the entire Bible is inspired by God. When the Bible is said to be infallible or inspired by God, most assume the words penned somehow came from God and thus approved by God. Few suggest God dictated the entire Bible word per word, but a dictatorial style is implied if God somehow prevented biblical writers from having less than perfect views of God. It is very different to approach the Bible from the perspective that God acts uncontrolling but continually seeks to influence for one’s moral good.

The danger of destroying souls and families because the Bible supposedly says so

Ever moral fiber in a parent’s body doesn’t wish to condemn their child for feelings they can no more control toward those of the same sex than heterosexuals can control their feelings toward the opposite sex. Biblical passages that condemn homosexuality are highly debatable which should lead us to listen to our moral senses. God surely supports all loving, consensual, caring relationships to avoid heart-break. Family members and friends no longer need to be broken-hearted by thinking their devotion to God requires them to reject their loved ones.  Scientific knowledge available suggests sexual orientation isn’t a choice. Why would anyone choose to be gay based on the condemnation and bigotry they face? It just isn’t possible to be told “I love you but I hate your sin” and not feel unloved and rejected. We know the psychological harm done when one must hide their sexuality because of bigotry and hostility. We must be guided by love – how should I treat others if I had the same non-choices?

The danger of valuing right beliefs or interpretations at the expense of loving others

We must prioritize love over the right interpretation because interpretations could be wrong. It isn’t godless to approach Scriptures openly questioning with the aim to love others like we want to be loved. Different opinions can stand side by side as we continually evaluate the most loving approach, rather than forcing our opinions on others in the name of God. Jesus didn’t always answer questions directly because He sought to change hearts which influences solving problems with the interests of others in mind. Love others like they want to be loved because you could be wrong.

The danger of making assumptions about God’s actions if controlling

God’s freedom-giving nature doesn’t suggest God is capable of performing a lobotomy on biblical writers’ impressions of God. An uncontrolling God cannot guarantee a perfect Book, but God can enter our world with the communications means available so we can grow in our understanding what God is really like. If God’s nature allows this kind of control when it comes to the Bible, why doesn’t God control so much evil prevalent in this world? Doesn’t God care? God’s loving nature doesn’t allow God to control. God much less humans know beliefs are only genuine and lost-lasting when freely chosen.

The danger of using the Bible as if a rules or answers Book

Jesus didn’t always answer questions directly because circumstances vary and the issue is our heart in solving problems. Imagine a world where all looked out for the interests of others and not just themselves during difficult times. The Bible is quoted that we must always forgive, but God is often said to not forgive the rebellious (i.e. Josh. 24:19). It’s complicated. Easy forgiveness can allow a husband’s abusive behavior to continue. When a sexual abuser doesn’t acknowledge their actions, secret behaviors continue. Victims can feel more victimized, and feel God must not understand their pain, when told to forgive despite their abuser denying any wrongdoing. Isn’t the whole point to do whatever helps control bitterness to stop the victimizing?

Read the Bible for what it is. Use common moral sense 

Those not growing up in church don’t understand all the fuss. Who thinks literature subject to interpretation should be read so dogmatically? When one fails to acknowledge their interpretation could be wrong, this can lead to forcing personal convictions on others in God’s name. A fallible Book can lead to listening to different opinions as we continually evaluate the most loving approach. God doesn’t get enough credit for communicating through our moral senses (how we ought to treat others). The Bible wouldn’t be God’s main communication anyway, because the majority born into this world never had a copy.

Let’s err on the side of God that seems morally correct to most, to not turn people away from God for the wrong reasons. Would you desire to pursue God and spirituality more if you knew God was the kind of God you imagine according to how they have created you? The Bible is still valuable as it lets us know God seeks a relationship with all individuals in all nations as evidenced by Jesus’ message and life. Read the Bible with an open-mind motivated by love rather than with blind obedience.  Use common moral sense as you consider what a loving God is really like.

 

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Acts 4:13 – Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus…

We hear a lot about education these days. How important it is and how everyone needs a good education. We even have religious schools to teach us from a Christian viewpoint, and schools to teach us how to minister, how to preach, how to prophesy and use our gifts. What will they come up with next?

The thing that this verse points out to me is that education is really not necessary when it comes to our spiritual lives.

I’m not against education. It is important in our world today, and if you want to get a decent job to provide for your family, you had better get a good education. Many people have earned a good education and use it in great ways to better humanity and help their families. There is certainly nothing wrong with education. Although in ‘spiritual terms’, education is way overdone.

In this article I am talking about spiritual education, we do not need to be educated to live for God, or to be used by Him. That is what stood out so much to the rulers that Peter and John were in front of, that they were uneducated and untrained. Imagine that, no education, no training. BUT, they had been with Jesus.

That is the difference when we are talking spiritually. Education cannot teach us how to live in the Spirit. We can get all the head knowledge about God, about living for Him, about service, but if we aren’t saved by faith in Christ, all the education in the world really won’t help us. If we aren’t allowing the Holy Spirit to teach us, guide us and lead us into truth, no amount of man-made education can help us in our daily Christian walk.

I am thankful that God does not require us all to be scholars or highly educated. Any and all of us can come to salvation by grace through Christ. It makes no difference if we are educated or not. He loves us and wants a relationship with each one of us.

The difference in us as Christians should be that we have been with Jesus. A life under His guidance and love is one that will stand out and make a difference. A difference, spiritually speaking, that education cannot make.

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