We Can't Pick & Choose

I don’t write this today to poke fun or for any reason like that, but to illustrate something I’ve referenced before in this space, because it’s a clear example of a problem plaguing the spread of the Gospel.

I talked with a fellow Sunday, a very sincere guy, about the Bible. We disagreed about several things, one being that we now live under a new covenant, that the old has been replaced. He believed there is no clear division between the Old Testament and the New. I used several passages in Hebrews 8, but the problem was, after we talked a bit, that he didn’t believe Hebrews should be in the Bible. In fact, he accepted all of the Old Testament, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Revelations.

I asked why Luke but not Acts also written by Luke, and he had some reason conjured up. I asked why Revelations and no others from Acts to Jude? He said because they were written by man. I pointed out that all others were too. He said the Gospels told the story of Christ to which I agreed, but was curious how Revelations fit in his thinking. He had issue with Paul, and had some reasons to reject all of his writings as being inspired of God. He also had problems with John’s books, and Peter’s. So trying to carry on a conversation was impossible as he rejected practically all the scriptures I referenced in my argument based on his decision to determine what books were scripture.

I think he was an extreme example of one who picks and chooses what scripture to follow, but many in our religious world do the same with a verse or two, or a handful of verses. My problem with all of that is simply this; if you are going to pick some and ignore some, which ones do you pick and which ones do you ignore, because either way you will miss something and arrive at a different conclusion without looking at all the inspired scriptures.

Anybody can pick a verse or a few favorites and shape a belief around just those. But if that process leaves out even one of Jesus’s commands, then part of the Gospel is missing. 2 Tim 3:16 says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” ESV. If we limit our teaching and our training to a handful of favorite passages, how can we fulfill the whole doctrine of scripture?

My encouragement today is what we’ve said before, God has a plan for us. We have learning and believing to do in order to understand what He wants us to do and that only comes from scripture. If we only learn and act on a portion of those expectations, how can we possibly be pleasing to Him? How can we obey fully?