Yesterday I cited a comment I’ve heard occasionally that indicates how some evangelical Christians regard the Bible. They seek to understand the Bible primarily so that they can tell others what it says.
Those with this sort of anxiety need to understand that the gospel sets them free to enjoy open-ended conversations with others. They can be fully genuine and even receive others’ questions as invitations to examine Scripture more closely for themselves.
This corrupted posture toward Scripture can also be driven by a desire to argue and demonstrate the superiority of one’s understanding.
I once had a conversation in which someone asked me how I regarded a certain passage in Ephesians 5 that stands at the center of controversies over gender among evangelicals. I gave him a succinct summary of how I thought about it.
He then asked, “well, what are the implications of that sort of reading of the text and for an evangelical understanding of Scripture?” I knew he wanted me to speak to a conflict in which he was involved, supplying him with ammunition for his next engagement.
I told him that I could only speak to how our family appropriates this text, how it works out in our home.
That didn’t satisfy him, and then he asked the magic question: “No, what I mean is, what would you say to someone who has a different understanding of this issue and how it should be applied today?”
I told him I would find something else to talk about.
I think he was disappointed. He wanted me to supply him with arguments, responses, and counter-responses so that he could triumph in an ongoing conflict with some folks at his church.
That’s a perverted and destructive posture toward Scripture.
We don’t have the Bible for the purpose of fighting and squabbling, strategizing so that “our side” might dominate “their side.” God gave his word to his people that we might gain a heart of wisdom, that we might love and serve God, loving and serving one another with gladness and singleness of heart.