I heard a small portion of a radio talk show yesterday covering County Clerk Kim Davis’s refusal to issue marriage licenses in her Kentucky jurisdiction. The hosts of the show had great fun mocking, not Kim or Christians, but the Bible. After all, they said, it isn’t God’s word. She thinks it’s God’s word, but it isn’t.
If I had a better sense of humor, I’d have laughed at that one. I mean, they were so categorical, as if they had inside information. But sadly, that’s the kind of thing that gets repeated as fact: Yea, I heard it on the radio. The Bible isn’t God’s word. What’s wrong with that crazy lady for believing such a thing?
The hosts went on to say the Bible was written by old men so long ago, it has nothing to do with our lives today. Then there was some line about these old men sitting around in their long robes chiseling out the text in stone.
I guess they think the whole Bible was written the way the Ten Commandments were. Interesting.
And old men. Well, I suppose some of them were old, but some of them, such as David and various prophets like Isaiah, started writing when they were young.
All this makes me realize how Biblically illiterate our culture has become. Even Christians, I fear, are woefully ignorant of what the Bible says. I wonder if this fact might explain why younger generations supposedly don’t want to sing hymns—they don’t understand the Biblical allusions that underpin so many hymns. But put that issue aside.
There are any number of false ideas about the Bible that have surfaced because one county clerk has determined to apply what the Bible says to her life and her circumstances. I’ve spent time at different venues in the last two days countering the equivalent of “The Bible doesn’t say homosexuality is wrong.”
One person said the New Testament, which was the only part of the Bible Christians needed to be concerned about, didn’t say anything about homosexuality being wrong. Someone else thought that if the passage didn’t use the word homosexual, it was not speaking against it. Another person made it clear that the Bible was complex and no one could actually be sure what it meant and different people would likely have different interpretations.
So, 1) not the word of God; 2) only part of it speaks to Christians; 3) silent on the subject of homosexuality; 4) too difficult to be of practical use; 5) meaning different things to different people.
I could be wrong, but I think the radio hosts also called it a myth.
And of course, all these claims are false.
Along with these varied comments, a number of other Christians are debating what the Bible says about obeying our government. Which principle is at play here—render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and obey those in authority over you, or we ought to obey God rather than men? Various people have cited Daniel as an example of civil disobedience along with the apostles who would not stop spreading the gospel.
These people are taking the Bible seriously and are making a genuine effort to determine what we as believers ought to do, according to its principles, in such a circumstance as Ms. Davis’s.
I’m glad for the wrestling and struggling and the sincere desire to know what God has to say on this subject, even when people don’t reach the same conclusion. The point is, the Bible is living and active and sharper than a two-edged sword. People who read it with the intend to find out what God thinks are way ahead of those who look at it as a myth or too confusing to guide our lives today.
I couldn’t get those radio hosts out of my mind. It was obvious they were totally ignorant about the Bible. Why, then, were they mocking it and dismissing it so readily?
My only thought was that they had already dismissed God, so they had no interest in finding out if the Bible might actually be His word. Because if there is no God, or no personal God who would want to communicate with the people He made, then of course the Bible is a myth or made up by humans. What other choice could there be?
Hating on the Bible, then, is actually an expression of their rejection of God, just as surely as the rejection of those who ignore His commandments.
So people who toss out parts of the Bible because they don’t like what it says—about homosexuality, the way wives and husbands are to treat one another, the role of women in the Church, the place of suffering in the life of a Christian, and more—are also turning their backs on God.
The truth is, God didn’t inspire some of the Bible, He inspired all of it, and how we handle it reveals our heart toward Him.