Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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Present Attitudes Toward the Bible

In yesterday’s (8/14/99) Life section of the Ft. Worth Star Telegram, an article appeared entitled Neglecting the Good Book. Several quotes follow, which are revealing as to society’s present day attitude toward the inspired scriptures.
“According to one religious research firm, two-thirds of Americans don’t regularly read the Bible or know the names of the Four Gospels. More than half of Americans surveyed can’t name even five of the Ten Commandments. And the majority say they find the Good Book irrelevant.”

“‘We still hold the Bible in high regard, but in terms of actually spending time reading it, studying it and applying it — that is a thing of the past,’ said George Barna. The reasons cited range from changes in American culture to the intrinsic difficulty of the text itself.”

Regarding changes made in the text by various versions to make the Bible more palatable to Americans, notice the following quotes:

“Other translations reflect attempts to bring the ancient Scripture in line with modern realities and political sensitivities. Whether God, and people in general, should be referred to as ‘he’ — a debate over what’s known as ‘inclusive language’ — is the hottest translation controversy today within both Judaism and Christianity.

“In the 1995 translation known as The New Testament and Psalms: An Inclusive Version, for instance, the classical phrase ‘Son of Man’ is changed to ‘Human One’ and the Lord’s Prayer invokes ‘Our Father-Mother in Heaven.'”

In documenting the troubles Bible publishers and religious groups are having in getting people back to reading the Bible, note the following.

“For starters, the book carries some pretty deadly baggage. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Bible, for instance, bluntly acknowledges the reader’s possible ‘ghosts of Bible studies past.’ These include ‘droning priests, pulpit-pounding pastors, knuckle-rapping nuns, or sermons that seemed hours long.’

“In today’s religiously diverse environment, more people are exploring other wisdom traditions and finding the Bible wanting.

“And there is no getting around the fact that the Bible is simply a difficult book.

“The problem is exacerbated by a striking phenomenon: People are discouraged by the Bible’s perceived difficulty, yet millions of Americans still prefer a version (King James, SC) that is beyond the literacy level of most of them, Barna said.”

(Ft. Worth Star Telegram, 8/14/99)

Oh me, where to start! Articles such as these are so frustrating to read for several reasons.

1. They make no attempt to argue, pro or con, about whether or not the Bible is the inspired word of God. Such statements as “more people are exploring other wisdom traditions and finding the Bible wanting,” indicate that people seem willing to disregard God’s wishes, and do what they please regarding His will. This despite the claims the Bible makes for itself:

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

“Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3).

2. The quotes indicate a willingness to bend the will of God to a changing culture, rather than conforming our culture to the unchanging words of the Almighty. This despite the following passages:

“For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Rev. 22:18-19).

“For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. “Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:18-19).

The quotes indicate an inaccurate perception of the gospel. While there are indeed some difficult passages of God’s word which some “wrest to their own destruction,” the good news is by and large simple, and the “common people” heard Jesus gladly. For example, there is nothing difficult to understand about the following passages of scripture:

“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).

“He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16).

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

Regardless of the world’s attitude, the Bible is God’s word. It is worthy of our respect and study. We can’t “hold it in high regard”, and yet not read it. Such paradoxes simply show that the world is under the sway of the wicked one. “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (Jn. 17:17).