HUGH’S NEWS & VIEWS
KNOWING THE BIBLE FROM COVER TO COVER
Once upon a time there was a church without a pastor. (Here I appropriate the use of the word “pastor” as it is used in most denominational churches, not as it is used in the New Testament.) The Board of the church had interviewed several prospective ministers, but so far none were to their liking. Some were too bold, some were too quiet, some were too harsh, some were too flashy, and some, they thought, were just not pretty enough.
The last prospect stood before the Board. His name was Sam. One of the Board members asked Sam if he knew his Bible. Sam replied, “I sure do I know my Bible from cover to cover, from Generations to Revolutions.” When someone asked him which part of the Bible he liked best, Sam answered, “The Book of Parables.” The Board members exchanged glances, then one of them asked Sam which parable he liked best. Sam replied, “I like the parable of the Good Samaritan best.” The Board asked Sam if he would tell the story of the Good Samaritan, and here is the way Sam told it.
A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho when he fell among thieves, and thorns grew up and choked the man. He didn’t have any money and the Queen of Sheba came along and gave him a thousand talents and a hundred changes of raiment. He got in a chariot and rode furiously along, and as he rode his hair got caught on the limb of a tree and he hung there many days, and the ravens brought him food to eat and water to drink. Finally, Delilah came along and cut off his hair and he fell on stony ground, and it rained forty days and forty nights. So he went and hid himself in a cave and the dogs came and licked his sores.
As he returned to Jerusalem, he saw an old hen trying to get her chickens under her wings, but some of them would not. He went a little farther and met a man who asked him to have supper with him, but he said, “I can’t, because I have married a wife,” but he compelled him, so he ate supper with him and they had locusts and wild honey.
As he was going down the street, he looked up and saw Jezebel in a window, and when she saw him she laughed at him. When she laughed, he said, “Fling down Jezebel.” And they flung her down. And he said, “Fling her down again seventy times seven.” So they flung her down seventy times seven, and of the fragments they picked up twelve baskets. Now in the judgment whose wife is she going to be?
The Board members smiled at one another and dismissed Sam. The time had come to cast their votes for the best candidate for pastor of the church. They reflected on each individual they had interviewed. When the votes were tallied it was unanimous. Sam was the new preacher. All agreed that he would be an outstanding pastor for their church. He met all their qualifications, and, most important, he “knew his Bible from cover to cover”!
The above humorous parody has been around for several years. All of the isolated facts that are strung together in Sam’s “parable” are found in the Bible, yet the “parable” is a sterling example of biblical illiteracy.
The same thing continues to happen today as people read a bit here and a bit there in the Bible without ever really “connecting the dots” and seeing the beauty and continuity of God’s revelation to mankind or considering the context of a given scripture passage.
They mix and mingle Old Testament instructions intended only for the Hebrews/Jews with New Testament instructions intended for every creature in all nations (Mark 16:15; Matthew 28:19), and fail to rightly divide or handle aright the word of truth (II Timothy 2:15; Hebrews 1:1-2).
As a result, they weave fanciful theories and come to unwarranted conclusions. Many wind up royally confused, throw up their hands in despair, and say, “I just can’t understand the Bible.” How sad.
“Therefore do not be unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:17).
April 1, 2014