Context in anything is vitally important and this was bought home to me earlier. Bumping into a friend of mine and being me i hugged her and kissed her (it's how i greet certain people) someone i know saw this and waited for me to finish and asked "what's going on" ? It's not something i get asked regularly because those who know me well enough, know me well enough. Looking at it now and if you were looking in from the outside you could be asking the same question, but jumping to conclusions is not the same as having the full information in front of you. This brings me to something i have been pondering for a while, it may upset some of my more fundamentalist friends, literalist friends, and even liberal friends.
There are many things in the Bible i struggle with and in all honesty it's harder to be a Christian than not, mainly because we all get tarred with the same brush, we are all idiots or fools and we have no brains (but i'm guessing 3 degrees for me) means some where i have a brain, but at times i choose to not use it fully. Now this bit i cannot believe i am writing but bear with me, the Bible was written ages ago, Jesus did not use a bible, none of the Apostles used a bible, so when they talk of scripture it's not what we have today. Our Bible comes with a bias towards our tradition, in certain parts of the world you get bibles for a specific people group, that backs up their ideology and enforces some bad views, based on tradition and having no context what so ever to when, why, what and to whom the things where said. This is more evident in the Old Testament, people use parts of Levitical law today to back up certain prejudices, but you will find they only take the parts that backs up the viewpoint they hold, and leave the rest. Many Christians quote levitical law about Homosexuality, but are happy to eat shell fish and wear mixed fibre clothing, so any integrity we think we have gets thrown out the window. You cannot treat the Bible as a pick n mix free for all, it needs to be taken seriously. When we celebrated 400 years of the King James Bible i was privileged to write a vast amount of commentaries on the Scriptures for our district website (they are still available) from all those who took part in the process of writing them.
Context is important with scripture as with all things in life, because if we take things out of context we make mistakes, NOTE WE make Mistakes not the Bible. My point is this too many Christians and none Christians for that matter read what they want in the Bible to make it say what they want. They make Jesus in their image instead of being transformed into his image, Jesus becomes like them and they become less like Jesus. Proper bible study is so important, it helps us to see things as they where and are not as we want them to be. The truth is the truth because it is, however unpalatable that is it's still the truth. This is not about the Bible being wrong, but about taking it seriously. Some parts of it are literal, some parts are stories, some parts are parables, some parts are poetry some parts are wisdom which we apply today, some parts are Gods truth to his people. If we want to be taken seriously by people searching for truth we need to be taking the Bible seriously, we need to apply it or leave it. Don't go around picking the parts that enforce your own opinions,and leave the parts you don't like, be open to God speaking to you through it's pages. Be open to the idea that you could be wrong, be led by Gods Spirit, and see the difference it can make in our lives and the lives of those seeking.
P.S for those of you who prayed for Jacob he is back from Romania and well happy with what they did.
God bless ya