October 22, 2017

Classic IM: While We’re Talking About Interpreting the Bible

In our continuing discussion on issues related to the Scriptures, Chaplain Mike re-runs this classic IM post today. (from Dec, 2008)

Hey look! If you read carefully, you will even find another “Bible = loaded gun” metaphor!

Oh. We’re not talking about interpreting the Bible? Well….I am, so deal.

I usually just don’t say anything when I hear Biblical interpretation leave the road and head for the ditches. But doggone it, there’s some fairly basic stuff here that could be very helpful to those of you who genuinely love the Bible.

So in no particular order…

1) Get a decent book on Biblical interpretation and read it. I don’t mean a Bible handbook or introduction. I mean a book on Biblical interpretation. So, even though you don’t need more books, I command you to purchase the following two volumes. (Used & Cheap. Fear not.)

Graham Goldsworthy, Gospel Centered Hermenuetics .

Julian, Crabtree and Crabtree, The Language of God. If you can only get one. Get this one. Read it out loud to yourself several times.

Those of you who claim to “just read the Bible” are not. You’re interpreting the Bible. Actually, you’re bringing your interpretation to the Bible and either you don’t know it or you think that your interpretation and God’s word are the same thing, in which case you need to go join one of several blogs I could recommend.

In all seriousness, evangelicals have a remarkable problem when it comes to treating the scriptures with respect. It’s astounding how many Christians tend to act as if any thought that comes into their head pertaining to the Bible is de facto true because they believe the Spirit is guiding them. If your use of the Bible were like handling a gun, you might have shot several people by now. Put that thing down and learn some basics on using the weapon.

if you can’t afford the books, then try this free Biblical Theology course from the Worldwide Classroom at Covenant Seminary.

2) Now, let’s take the issue of what to do with an event in a historical narrative. I could pick any of hundreds, but let’s use one I have been involved with recently: Ezra’s verse by verse expounding of the Law in Nehemiah 8.

A Bible teacher I know has been expounding Nehemiah 8:1-8. In this passage, Nehemiah goes through the book of the law and other priests explain it and give the sense of it to the people. My friend sees in this an authoritative methodology for preaching. All preaching must be verse by verse through Biblical books. Many Bible teachers sees this as a Biblically authoritative matter and a crucial issue in the demise of churches.

I preach and teach through books from time to time, and do not disagree that this is of value, but I do not see it as the only Biblically authoritative model for preaching. (This has been claimed in Southern Baptist circles for years, and the results are hardly impressive. “Verse by verse” preachers int the SBC characteristically ignore context, overall message and Christ-centered interpretation to simply “ride” whatever aspect of the passage is most appealing to them. Instead of getting a walk-through of a passage, one hears a passage “used,” in a blatantly cavalier manner.)

Nehemiah 8: 1-18 is the one of a very few examples of verse by verse teaching in the Biblical record. It’s a good example, but Ezra’s reading and explanation of the law was an event in Hebrew history, not a command for all believers. We have no reason to believe this continued in Jewish life. (Synagogue worship followed a kind of lectionary, with comments on the text of the week.)

If Ezra did verse by verse exposition, does that mean we are all under a scriptural command to do the same? I don’t believe so. Jesus didn’t do it. He told parables and taught topcially. Paul didn’t do it. He preached the Gospel using lots of citations from various places in various books, often cited rather creatively. The apostles didn’t do it. Read the sermons in Acts. The author of Hebrews- the longest sermon in the New Testament- doesn’t do it. That book cites passage from all over the Old Testament in a very eclectic manner.

Ezra’s methodology is never cited in a corrective passage, like I Corinthians or Revelation 2-3, as being the key to church health. This particular methodology is never mentioned in the pastoral letters as the assignment of a preaching elder like Timothy. There is good reason to believe that verse by verse exposition of Old Testament books was a rarity in the Gentile churches until bishops like Augustine and Origien began preaching the Old Testament Christologically using a verse by verse method heavy on allegorization.

Ezra’s method is also characteristic of teaching (didache) rather than of proclamation (kerygma), which always centers on God’s exaltation of Jesus as messiah and Lord. Ezra’s situation demanded that he conduct a “Bible school” for the returned community.

Traversing the long landscapes of Biblical books a verse at a time cannot be done at the expense of a clearly Christ-centered message, and this means we must come to the Biblical books with our Gospel-shaped theology as a presupposition. Gospel ministers know what is the message of the Bible, and they are called to put that message- Christ and the Gospel- front and center in every examination of any Biblical book.

(I examined a lot of this in a classic IM post on how to preach books of the Bible.)

So I’d conclude there are many different models for preaching and teaching in the Bible, and we’re free under the leadership of the Spirit to use as many as are appropriate in any congregation to accomplish the maturing of believers in Christ. For example, formal worship may use a shorter, application-oriented homily from the Gospels, while a mid-week Bible class may go through books in a more “verse by verse” fashion. An evangelistic presentation may deal with only a small portion of scripture, while a discipleship class may use a selection of scripture.

Remember, the fact that something happened in the Bible doesn’t mean you can use that event as authoritative and mandatory for all believers and all situations.

3. The mark of a real interpreter is a respect for the fact of Biblical interpretation in every Christian tradition and community, and real humility for where he/she stands in the process.

There are people who know far more than you do. There are scholars who have dedicated their lives to understanding the Bible in ways you and I can barely even understand. There is a deep influence of culture and language at work in interpretation. We all bring baggage, sin, wrong assumptions, arrogance, ignorance and well-intentioned errors to the process of interpretation.

If a room full of various kinds of Christians are each asked to interpret the “rock” passage in Matthew 16 or the key passages on Baptism or the accounts of the Lord’s Supper, there are going to be deeply divergent methods, assumptions and conclusions.

Now some of those “interpreters” will simply proceed under the assumption that whatever they’ve done has arrived at the true interpretation and everyone else is making grievous errors. And maybe they are right. But perhaps they are wrong. Or, far more likely, is the prospect that the Biblical texts simply don’t give us enough information to always authoritatively answer the questions. Perhaps legitimate competing presuppositions turn the whole matter around. And, yes, we often have to consult our tradition to know exactly what we believe. Yes….shocking news!….most of us BRING some of our conclusions with us, and no amount of interpretation will change our mind.

(The other day a Catholic friend announced that everything he believes is plainly taught in scripture. Folks, I would say that if there aren’t things you believe that AREN’T plainly taught in scripture, but ONLY taught in tradition, you probably aren’t being an honest Catholic. And the very same things can be said of any of our traditions. We Baptists are quite sure the Bible supports that American flag in the sanctuary and deacons running the church, right?)

Imagine for a moment that a person is convinced that a true work of the Holy Spirit only occurs in a spontaneous, unstructured environment. Will they see the liturgical aspects of the Psalms? Will they see the ordered worship of the Old Testament? Or suppose someone comes to the text with a particular view of church government. Will they see the texts that do not support their view? Will they have an interpretation that fairly hears those passages?

As I said, the mark of a real interpreter is an appreciation for the fact, process and limitations of all of our efforts to understand the Bible. We might take note that our over-confidence regarding what the Bible says has embarrassed us over and over in Christian history. Will we ever learn the lesson that a true interpreter knows his/her interpretation is a human work, and a fragile one at best?

In the end, will they treat other interpreters as loving God, the Bible and the church as much as they do, or will they suggest that anyone who REALLY reads the Bible will come to their conclusion?

Someone, somewhere- and I can tell you where- will look at this last point and tell you its all about the postmodern rejection of certainty. You can be sure they will be 120% sure of that, and always will be.

Comments

  1. Very nice post and a good review for me.

  2. I still love the T-shirt I saw that said:

    God said it.

    I interpreted it (as best I could in light of all the filters imposed by my upbringing and culture which I try to control for but you can never do a perfect job).

    That doesn’t exactly settle it, but it does give me enough of a platform to base my values and decisions on.

    Found here:
    http://branthansen.typepad.com/letters_from_kamp_krusty/2009/10/best-christian-tshirt-like-ever.html

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Every time I see the “God Said It. I Believe It. That Settles It.” shtick, I think they ought to go all the way and put in a fourth line: “AL’LAH’U AKBAR!” Truth in advertising and all that; isn’t the Koran supposed to be one long word-for-word “God Said It”? Except in 6th Century AD Arabic instead of Kynge Jaymes Englyshe? And if you approach the Bible the same way, how then does your Christianity differ from Islam?

    • OH MY….another branthansen-o-phile….. cue the accordians !!!! and the clowns…

  3. it seems as though there is a confusion between the words “interpretation” and “application”. when people say that they “interpret” a particular verse or passage to “mean” one thing to them and another to someone else i wonder if they really are saying ,”i apply this to my life this way, but someone else might apply it another.” if something “means” more than one thing, does it really have any “meaning” at all?

    • I’ve always found that particular dichotomy to be a bit false. At least the way that I typically hear it: “There’s one interpretation of Scripture, but many applications.” That just can’t be right. Or if it is, we’re chasing that “one interpretation” and will never find it on this plain of existence, which renders the whole concept of “one interpretation” completely meaningless. Christian and Jewish tradition both have always recognize different methods of interpretation to the Scriptures. Heck, even when the NT writers approach the OT, they typically put meaning into it that a plain reading of the text doesn’t permit. But does that make their interpretation wrong? Or is the only proper interpretation a plain literal meaning, making everything else application? If that’s the case, then the NT writers totally abuse the concept of prophecy fulfillment.

      • “There’s one interpretation of Scripture, but many applications.”

        ahhh yess…..and the ONE right interpretation just happens to be theirs/GOD’s; hmmm

  4. I agree that we Christians need to practice a lot more humility when it comes to scriptural interpretation in our teaching, preaching, and doctrinal constructs. And I think a big part of the problem is rooted in the weight of expectation placed on church leaders and teachers. By and large, we prop these people up on the same pedestal of expectation that we do politicians, placing them in the precarious position where, even if they don’t have all the answers, they darn well better talk and act like they do — that is, if they want to keep their jobs. The brutal truth is that there is a large percentage of the church population that has no tolerance for uncertainties or a confusing list of possible interpretations. They insist on definitive answers and leaders that will deliver these answers with unswerving authority and an assuring smile. And if church history is filled with doctrinal disputes and theological wranglings — with most of these different positions having at least some scriptural support — then they really don’t want to hear about that. They just want their denominational or independent church positions on interpretation and doctrine to be presented as inarguably correct and everyone of a different opinion written off as obviously wrong. The last thing these people want is to be burdened with the task of studying scripture themselves, meditating on it, and forming their own interpretations. After all, that’s what they pay the religious professionals to do for them. And if one set of professionals fails to provide the level of comfortable certainty and security they desire, they’ll sack them and find some others who will.
    As a result of this dynamic, the study of scripture becomes less about seeking after scriptural truths than a theological arms race to find or manufacture scriptural and historical proofs and rationalizations that bolster the belief that one’s particular collection of interpretations and doctrines already represents the totality of scriptural truth. Sadly, this has been the dominating situation for most of Christian history. However, I think we’re starting to see a real clash between the just-give-me-all-the-answers crowd and a growing percentage who are on a more honest and open-ended quest for scriptural and gospel-based truths. And, unfortunately, we’re also seeing many who are basically abandoning this quest altogether and taking the position that there is no such thing as knowable scriptural truth or correct doctrine, only equally valid opinions. How all this will play out in church culture in the coming years, I don’t claim to know — but I suspect it’s going to be a wild ride.

  5. Your emphasis upon humility and respect for other traditions in the interpretation of the Scriptures is needed in our day. I also agree with your comments about verse by verse / expository preaching. I grew up on this method, enjoy it immensely (if done well), and respect it’s place in preaching – but it is not the only way to communicate the Scriptures. In my tradition (Independent Bible Church) there are many who see this method as the only way. All other methods tend to be seen as disrespectful of God’s Word.

  6. Caveat Emptor: Considering that of the 3 reader reviews at Amazon.com (the link in the post) for the Julian, Crabtree & Crabtree book THE LANGUAGE OF GOD, two readers give the book only 2 stars and criticize it for being rambling and failing to get its point across, it maybe should not be a “You.Need.To.Get.This.Book.” automatic buy for readers here.

  7. And then we have all these people that know far more than we do that also bring their baggage, sins, wrong assumptions, arrogance, ignorance and well-intentioned errors of interpretation to the table as well.
    I believe in reading after people smarter than I, but I have also seen people go after higher and higher learning with a motive of self aggrandizement, which bends their learning to a false end.
    Before long, you can’t believe a word they say.

  8. “A wise man hears one word and understands two.”

  9. As a foreign language teacher, I am amazed at how complex processing language can be, and reading is no exception. The “just read it” camp, though well-meaning, loyal, and eager to defend the Bible, often lacks what is called “metacognition,” or awareness of their own thinking.

    I wrote a little essay about how we read and understand at http://clanottosoapbox.blogspot.com/2009/06/how-we-read-bible.html

    Interestingly, the ambiguity iMonk is talking about here doesn’t necessarily contradict any doctrine of inerrancy. The Bible can be perfect, but that doesn’t mean we get it perfectly when we read.

    • Interestingly, the ambiguity iMonk is talking about here doesn’t necessarily contradict any doctrine of inerrancy. The Bible can be perfect, but that doesn’t mean we get it perfectly when we read.

      Reply

      Just WOW ……… and Amen

    • True, but at the same time, I don’t see our God as making Humans do ANYTHING, even writing the bible, inerrantly. Perhaps the direct quotations of God are inerrant, like those in Ezekiel and Exodus, and also the Gospel. May I remind you that He also has control over all the worlds kingdoms and municipalities, but government still screws up every other day and then some.

  10. I’m a card carrying five-point Calvinist and strongly believe in the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture. If the Bible says it I believe it and that settles it.

    HOWEVER…as I go through seminary at a very conservative institution I am learning more and more about the limits of how we interpret Scripture. I do believe strongly in the “one interpretation, several application” statement. But as Han Solo said, “That’s the real trick, isn’t it?” How do we get to that interpretation? I have a hard time believing that God put a variety of meanings behind various texts.

    I find myself increasingly fascinated by hermeneutics. Just staying within conservative circles, I find it incredible that John MacArthur and R.C. Sproul can both read the same Bible and come to very different conclusions on some doctrines such as baptism and eschatology. Who is to say which one is right?

    The Truly Reformed folks will simply cite history or one of the great confessions to bolster their cases. If Calvin said it then that is good enough for them. Others will cite their heroes. Roman Catholics have the authority of the church and I envy them, but I cannot get past some things that I believe they get wrong. Personally, I want to get past these problems and figure out the best way to read the Bible so I can find out what God is trying to tell us through this sacred text.

    I also believe that the main things are the plain things and the plain things are the main things. Lots of very smart and well-meaning people can disagree on modes of baptism, church polity, soteriology, eschatology, etc, but a reasonable reading of Scripture will still show us that man has a sin problem which separates him from God and Christ’s life, death, burial, and resurrection is the solution to that problem.

    • Jason,

      “I also believe that the main things are the plain things and the plain things are the main things…a reasonable reading of Scripture will still show us that man has a sin problem which separates him from God and Christ’s life, death, burial, and resurrection is the solution to that problem.”

      I think you hit it right on the nose.

      I try to keep in mind Romans ch.14 which allows us to disagree over what Paul called “disputable matters” (vs. 1).

      • Amen! I think that there is still value in pursuing answers in those “disputable matters,” but we need to be charitable about what we find.

        Then we run up against another hurdle — which matters are “disputable” and which are “core doctrines?” I know of a church that will deny membership to folks who disagree on eschatology (this church is hardcore Dispensationalist). That seems kind of absurd to me, but we all have lines drawn in the sand about what we consider core and what we consider disputable. Personally, I want to be as inclusive as possible with the “essentials.”

        All of this still falls under the purview of interpretation.

        • I honestly don’t see why anything needs to be “core doctrines” except the status of Christ as Savior and Lord, the Biblical Law and Not Sinning willfully, “don’t work don’t eat,” reasonable respect for positions of authority in the church, and the Love of God and your fellow man, nor do I see any example of the epistle-writers or the gospel-writers saying that anything else need be core doctrine. Even in Old Testament times, if you obeyed the law, were circumcised and didn’t directly blaspheme God, you were a part of the temple community. Has God suddenly become more judgmental since 200 AD?

    • I agree with what you have said. There are some theological issues we can agree to disagree on (mode of baptism, millennial kingdom, church polity, etc.). However, the common scarlet thread that runs through Scripture is that human beings are sinners who are in need of redemption and that there is only one remedy to this: Jesus Christ, who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins.

      That is why any church/theological tradition that uses Scripture as a socio-political manifesto (like liberation theology) or as a guide for those who feel alienated in our culture (liberal theology and certain forms of conservative theology) have totally missed the mark on Scripture. Scripture is a divinely-inspired book telling us what our most serious problem is (sin) and how that is rectified through Jesus Christ.

      • And there are a few things required for the organization to work, like a reasonable respect for the authority of the particular people in charge of that particular church and a willingness to get beyond sin, both of which are pragmatic needs without which the church will simply not be a good place to be.

  11. I must confess, imonk is like my theological Oprah. If he holds up a book I go right out and buy five copies and give one to all of my friends… Ok I might be exaggerating a little, but his recommendations carry some serious weight with me because I’ve discovered innumerable resources through this website and his writing. But the “Language of God” book get’s pretty low reviews on amazon and barnes and noble. Anyone here read it? What were your thoughts?

  12. So true that we all bring our own interpretations and background to Scripture reading, even if unintentionally. And we definitely miss out on a lot because we’re not familiar with the context and cultural history in which they were written.

    While I’m not familiar with either of the books recommended, Daily Life in the Time of Jesus by Henri Daniel-Rops is an amazing book for understanding Palestinian life 2000 or so years ago!

    • And there’s another issue with which I’ve been wrestling. How much do we need background studies to properly understand the text? On one hand I see the value in them as they help us to understand the author’s intent. On the other I have a hard time seeing how God would hide the true meaning of a text until some modern archaeologist unearths something that unlocks it for us.

      Personally, I would land more on the side of eschewing the background material at first. However, as a prospective preacher I may use it to add richness and depth to a sermon. However, I am wary of going to background studies as the key to unlock meaning.

      • Add me to this with list: I’m currently listening to the Focus on the Family sponsored Ray Van Der Laan CD Series. Most of it good stuff, but……there’s more than one way to interpret even what the historians tell us, more than one take on what Josephus wrote, or Herodetus, or….

        How much is the REAL meaing of the text contingent upon our understanding of the cultural and linguistic context ?? this seems to devolve into MY historan says……..

      • Well, considering that some of the NT authors applied OT texts in ways that were not in accord with their original historical context and understanding, and also at times used a translation of the text – i.e., the LXX (which at times in its NT usage differed from the Hebrew text of the same passage) – as the proof-text for their argument, one sees that the inspired authors of the NT weren’t necessarily inspired to use or interpret the Bible the way we might say it is supposed to be used or interpreted.

        • True, and the other issue is, the bible was written by human hands. Sure, it was heavenly inspired, as our many things, like marriage, which are hardly perfect.

          Also, it may be possible that several interpretations are indeed correct and you are expected to learn from all of them.

          And just because an interpretation is accepted by the majority does not neccessarilly mean the interpretation is correct. For starters, it may have been built off of bad assumptions that are fashionable to make, and seminaries, like all other academic departments outside of the sciences and mathematics, are driven by academic politics and all the sheer unreasonableness it creates.

  13. Other books I would recommend on biblical exegesis are:

    Toward an Exegetical Theology – Walter C. Kaiser (evangelical)

    Elements of Biblical Exegesis – Michael J. Gorman (mainline)

    Both books are good and not that difficult to read.

    I like this post, and Michael makes some good points about Bible exegesis. I think all of us have been guilty of some of the things Michael is trying to say.

    However, I can see some liberal loony-toon taking this post and running off with it to make something that Michael did not intend. One of the ways we can guard against a freelance interpretation of the Bible is that we understand its Spirit-inspiredness and that hermeneutics is always a communal based one (we must draw from good Christian readers of Scripture of the past and present to guard us against irresponsible handling of God’s Word).

    • “(we must draw from good Christian readers of Scripture of the past and present to guard us against irresponsible handling of God’s Word)”

      How do you know they’re good, and wasn’t that exactly what the Pharisees did? Drawing from the past?

      • How do we know this? For starters, do these Christian readers depart from the ancient creeds of the early church (The Apostles’ Creed, The Nicene Creed, The Athanasian Creed, The Definition of Chalcedon). Secondly, do they take Scripture as being divinely-inspired. Thirdly, do they generally follow the grammatico-historical exegetical method.

    • God, Language and Scripture by Moises Silva (and other titles by him on interpretation—he’s written several in a series on interpretation) is a book I’ve found helpful. Scholarly but accessible with a fair history of allegorical interpretation, but a lot of “sanity” presented on the subject in general.

  14. iMonk said:

    Folks, I would say that if there aren’t things you believe that AREN’T plainly taught in scripture, but ONLY taught in tradition, you probably aren’t being an honest Catholic.

    I would agree with this statement, except that there is a difference between “small t” (man-made) traditions, and “Capital T” Sacred Tradition as discussed by St. Paul in 2 Thes. 2:15.

    So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.

    Naturally, it begs the question of what is man-made and what is Sacred Tradition. Catholicism teaches that all that is in Sacred Tradition is not in Sacred Scripture. Sacred Tradition is on par with Sacred Scripture because the Catholic Church believes that, according to 1 Tim 3:15, it (the Church) is the pillar and foundation of truth.

    • Paul and Timothy are clearly possessed by the spirit of anti-Christ though, dude.

    • Being a pillar and foundatin of truth indicates the role of supporting and upholding the truth or truths that have been entrusted to the church by God — either through scripture or revelation from the Holy Spirit. The question that bothers my mind is this: How much have we as the church (be that Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, or otherwise) engaged in the practice of inventing or manufacturing truth when it suited our purposes to do so? And how much of that invented or manufactured stuff made it into the classification of sacred tradition throughout the course of Christian history? Of course, all that begs this question: Is the authority that Jesus passed on to the church such that when the church declares something as truth, it automatically becomes God’s will, even if that wasn’t part of God’s will or plan for the church prior to the church’s declaration? And claiming that a particular church’s declarations of truth have somehow always been in perfect line with God’s will is a camel that’s very hard to swallow for an honest student of both scripture and history.

  15. “3. The mark of a real interpreter is a respect for the fact of Biblical interpretation in every Christian tradition and community, and real humility for where he/she stands in the process.”
    This was a big difference in the Radical Reformation with their hermeneutics. They took a look at scripture & as a community in prayer & sharing tried to understand the scriptures in thru the Gospel & love of God. I have been amazed how well their understanding has held up thru the centuries. They rejected the idea that Luthren or Catholic understanding had the monopoly on hermeneutics. I’m not saying that they never made mistakes, or that Luthren or Catholic hermeneutics are always wrong. But I think it shows us if we are willing to put our pride aside, Pray, look to our fellow brothers & sisters in Christ, & most importantly look at scripture thru the Cross we will come very close to God’s intended meaning for us. I guess mostly I believe if we can read with our hearts open to God’s Love we will be ok. Now – Theologians ATTACK!!!!, peace

  16. Since the scriptures say in II Peter 1:20 “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation” perhaps we should allow the scriptures to interpret themselves. A book written almost a century ago by E.W. Bullinger called “How to Enjoy the Bible” shows you simple principles on how God set it up in the scriptures for the scriptures to interpret themselves so we wouldn’t mess it up. You should at least give it a read if you want to be honest about it.

    • Duke, your reference to the ESV doesn’t exactly say that. Here is the verse in ESV:
      “knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation.”

      The “comes from someone’s own” (rather than “is of any private”) is made more significant if we look at the NIV:
      “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation.”

      That is, Peter’s point about interpretation is in reference to the prophet (not to us in this case); that the prophet didn’t make it up all by himself. But, what the prophet conveyed to us from the Holy Spirit can and should be interpreted (by us, in this case) to arrive at what the Holy Spirit meant, and not necessarily what some authorities tell us. If we look at the following verse (vs 21, ESV) Peter follows through on that:
      “For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

      Sorry if this is a little picky. The Bullinger book you recommend may be saying the same thing, but the incomplete ESV reference could cause a problem.

  17. It is so easy to read a scripture and then say, “God told me …” to do this or that. And in the midst of my struggles, I would love to have a particular scripture speak directly to me. I believe, though, that it is more important to remember that scripture constantly serves not to empower me, but to remind me that I am powerless. And it is that reminder that I believe offends so many people, including those who attend church.

  18. FollowerOfHim says:

    “I believe, though, that it is more important to remember that scripture constantly serves not to empower me, but to remind me that I am powerless.”

    I needed this today. Thanks, MWPeak!