By Tyshawn Gardner, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Biblical and Religious Studies, Samford University
Does It Agree with the Bible?
In Genesis 3, we catch a glimpse of the origins of sin and how every creature since Adam and Eve has been corrupted by sin, therefore inheriting a sinful nature. The cause of sin was the distortion of and disobedience to God’s Word. His Word is eternal and transcends philosophies, intellect and cultural ideologies.
Don’t question God’s Word. (1)
God’s Word is inspired by Him and is authoritative. Satan deceived our first parents, Adam and Eve, by casting doubt on the precision of God’s Word. Sinful thoughts led to sinful actions.
When believers are unsure of God’s will or are uncertain what to do, we can consult His Word. When we are in doubt, we should never oppose what is clear and plain in Scripture.
Scripture is the starting point for all knowledge and for all human behaviors. Casting doubt on one part of God’s Word soon casts doubt on more of it. His Word is trustworthy.
Paul reminds us “all Scripture is God-breathed” (2 Tim. 3:16). God’s Word is the highest authority in the world.
Don’t alter God’s Word. (2–3)
Adam and Eve altered God’s Word. God revealed His Word to Adam. Although Satan altered God’s Word, Adam’s knowledge of it should have led to obedience to God, rather than to the altered words Satan gave Eve. Humanism and pluralism are on the rise in our world. Society rejects authoritative and objective truth, leading people to believe truth is relative and subjective to the individual and the circumstance.
There is no circumstance where God’s Word should be altered to fit our political persuasion, cultural proclivities or individual preferences.
Like Adam and Eve, we sometimes alter the Word to fit our personal pleasure, taste and desire. The consequences of our disobedient actions are beyond our ability to repair.
When sin drives our cravings, creating cultural pride, greed and fear, we may take Scripture out of context in an attempt to justify our actions. This requires us to suppress the Spirit within us. James sums up this process by stating, “each person is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desire. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death” (James 1:14–15). We should never allow lust and pride to cause us to compromise God’s Word.
Don’t contradict God’s Word. (4–6)
We should never read the Bible out of context. Nor should we use a cherry-picking method of Bible reading, only choosing and learning Scripture that supports our point of view. When our actions don’t line up with the Word, we are out of line in our fellowship with God. He desires us to live in harmony with Him, worship Him, fellowship with Him and serve Him in peace and joy. When our actions contradict His Word, we forfeit peace and incur needless pain.
Sometimes our families, our political parties and our favorite social groups do not live up to the Word of God. In these times we must ask God for grace and courage to do what is right according to His Word. When we study the Word of God through the presence of the Holy Spirit and listen to the Spirit of God within us, we will obey God’s Word.