Maybe, Just Maybe, If You’d Stop Quoting The Bible At Me

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I get it, you’re passionate about your beliefs—that’s highly admirable.

Much of what you hold to be true and the framework of your worldview are founded upon your understandings of the Scriptures.

For you, the Bible is the perfect Word of God without any mixture of error, and your interpretation of it is believed to be grounded in ultimate truth, faithful scholarship, and divine discernment. In response to a world deemed to be in serious moral and spiritual decline, you see the Bible serving as an anchor for Godliness and the transformation of our planet. In your mind and heart you genuinely conclude, if more people believed like you and subscribed to your biblical understandings, it would be an instant upgrade to their life and a sure improvement to the world at large.

Therefore, when you the quote the Scriptures, your desires are most assuredly noble and good-hearted. No one can deny your commitment, resolve, and tenacity towards your faith, the Bible, and a desire to make a difference.

Yet, perhaps what you don’t realize is how you come across in your use of the Scriptures and some of the messages you’re sending in doing so—intended or not.

When you quote the Bible at me, it feels like you care more about winning an argument than winning my heart. In fact, sometimes it seems like you’re inspired most by the prospect of somehow putting me in my place—pacing for the opportunity to engage in debate. With every verse you position to convict, condemn, and admonish, apparently you understand the Bible to be “useful in teaching and correcting” the way a tightly wound parent might deem a paddle to be useful in painfully punishing their child—any love you may intend to communicate is severely lost in translation. In fact, as much as I may desire to conclude otherwise, with every proof text and citing of Scriptural support, it feels like the Bible has become for you, less of a mirror in which to examine yourself, and more of a missile to launch at others. Maybe, just maybe, if you’d stop quoting the Bible at me, I’d actually start believing you might truly want to know me, understand me, and even love me.

When you quote the Bible at me, it makes me wonder if you really know what you believe. I mean no disrespect, but at times, the way the Scriptures roll off your tongue so automatically and instantly, it feels a bit pre-packaged and cut and pasted—like you haven’t taken the journey of authentic believing. The memorization of verses takes only the efforts of our brain and can be a deceptive spiritual veil to an empty life. Meditation requires the soul searching of the heart and personally encountering Jesus. My sense is that people who truly know Him, genuinely wrestle with their faith, and are treading deep into the Bible, spend far less time in need of quoting it to others and using it to justify their every belief. For the mind of Christ within them has taken the lead and what they believe is far less a product of simply the Bible saying so, but much more that Jesus has said so in their Spirit. Maybe, just maybe, if you’d stop quoting the Bible at me, I’d be far more inclined to consider that you’re actually speaking from that which Jesus has authentically revealed to you and what He might truly desire to say.

When you quote the Bible at me, I get the sense that you believe to know all the answers. Sometimes, it’s even hard to get a word in edgewise. It feels like no matter what I say, somehow I’m always off the mark or completely wrong all together. For every thought I have, you seem to have a Bible verse cocked, loaded, and ready to counter it. All of which leaves me wondering, if you have all the answers already, why do you position yourself as desiring conversation? Perhaps, you’re hoping to change my mind, or simply enjoy hearing the sound of your own. Either way, the more you appear to have all the answers, the more I become convinced you probably don’t. Maybe, just maybe, if you’d stop quoting the Bible at me, I’d hear the sounds of your listening and learning instead of the chalkboard screeching nails of presumptuousness.

When you quote the Bible at me, it smells of religion, not revelation. No, God never changes, but what He reveals of Himself and how He reveals Himself certainly does. Yet, with nearly every verse you quote it feels like you are desperately trying to protect and prosper the religious spirit and your long-held beliefs, instead of exuding a humility and openness to encounter fresh revelation. In fact, if I’m honest, it comes across at times as if you’re afraid of what God might reveal. It’s as if the Bible has become for you, less of a catalyst to encountering Jesus, and more of replacement for Him. All of which leaves me wondering, if God desired to grow you beyond your current Scriptural understandings and interpretations, would He even be able to do so? Maybe, just maybe, if you’d stop quoting the Bible at me, I’d be far more inclined to believe you possess the capacity for divine discernment and the journey needed for wisdom.

When you quote the Bible at me, I feel like a project. At times, the way you use the Scriptures, it seems like your ultimate goal is my conversion, conformity, and compliance to your beliefs and biblical interpretations. If I have a change of mind or repent of my erring ways in response to your Scriptural interventions, a rousing moment of high-fives with your fellow Christians is surely just around the corner. You “caught’ me, “won” me, or “discipled” me into your fold, and now I’m yet another “catch” to be mounted on your spiritual mantel. I mean no disrespect in saying so, but it feels like the way you use the Bible is more like a cattle prod than a stable, and I, more of a project than a person. Maybe, just maybe, if you’d stop quoting the Bible at me, I’d be far more willing to open the gates and consider that you have a genuine care for me and my best interests.

When you quote the Bible at me, I wonder what you’re trying to hide. Maybe it’s just me, but I have found, those who are constantly quoting the Bible with proof texts, debates, and scriptural arguments are often the ones concealing deep levels of spiritual immaturity, doubts, duplicity, and even carnality. In fact, Satan is described as knowing the Scriptures quite well all while completely missing the heart of Jesus—obviously. The more you quote the Bible at me, the more I begin to consider, maybe this is all just a big show of biblical smoke and mirrors concealing a cowardly wizard hiding behind a leather-bound name-engraved curtain. Maybe, just maybe, if you’d stop quoting the Bible at me, I’d feel a lot more comfortable in extending trust, respect, and credibility.

When you quote the Bible at me, it feels like you’re just another one of “them.” You know, those Pharisee types that Jesus loved, but aggressively challenged. At every turn, they were using their understanding of the Scriptures for the condemnation of others and the justifying and puffing up of themselves. In one place, Jesus spoke of spitting repugnant people like this out of His mouth, and quite honestly I don’t blame Him. Sometimes, the way you quote the Bible at me, it makes me want to vomit too—if only a simple right cheek sneak would do. For it all comes across so pretentiously, my entire being can’t help but want to expel it.

When Jesus referenced the Bible, He did so primarily to reframe it and reinterpret it through the lens of Grace, love, and Himself.

I’m no spiritual giant, but I have a hunch we would do well to follow His example.

Maybe, just maybe, if you’d stop quoting the Bible at me, I would respect you all the more, have a greater desire to give serious consideration to your claims and creeds, and be far more apt to conclude that Jesus is truly working in and through you.

Grace is brave. Be brave.

23 Comments

  1. Jesus didn’t do much Bible quoting just loving and healing! Love is brave. Be brave!

    • ckratzer

      August 27, 2017 at 5:34 pm

      Paul, thanks for commenting and reading! True words.

    • What do you think of the Bible?
      Do you believe in God and His love if you believe He exists?
      How did you obtain my email address?
      If you know me or of me, how do you know me or of me?
      What if anything are you fishing for?
      Why are you fishing for it?
      What do you think life is about?
      What do you think happens if anything at our death?
      Are you a truth seeker?
      Why or why not?
      What is your purpose?
      Where did you come up with your purpose?

  2. “When Jesus referenced the Bible, He did so primarily to reframe it and reinterpret it through the lens of Grace, love, and Himself.”

    He even went so far as to set aside the “laws” which were so plainly written down, in order to heal and care for the physical needs of those around him. He explained those laws were given to serve us – not us, them. In everything he did and said, Jesus demonstrated genuine love and compassion for people. We would, indeed, do well to follow his example.

  3. My faves:
    God is love.
    Do justice, love mercy, walk humbly.
    Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for widows and orphans, visit prisoners, show hospitality to strangers.
    Don’t just love people who are like you; even thieves do that.
    If you say you are in the light, but don’t have love, you’re just stumbling in the dark.
    Any belief system that does not result in action is worthless. (James, for those who don’t recognize “Faith without works is dead.”)
    Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.
    God doesn’t discriminate. (Peter after his vision — what a clueless dude! He saw Jesus talk to prostitutes, tax collectors, lepers, the Samaritan woman at the well, etc. He saw Jesus raise the centurion’s daughter. But somehow, he still thought God was only for Jews.)

  4. Thank you Chris. Yet again you put into words what I feel and think but you verbalize it much more eloquently than I ever could. Btw, I wish I had this back in the day to present to my fundamentalist ex-wife. Maybe things would have been different ….oh well.

    • ckratzer

      August 29, 2017 at 11:04 am

      Karl, thanks so much for your encouraging words. I too feel regret at times for things in the past that could have been different had I understood things the way I do now, such is life.

  5. Now, see? Being banged on the head with the Bible is the reason my own brother and I cannot speak to each other any more and haven’t been able to for several years. He does love those clobber verses. “It’s in the BOOK!” Um…well, no it isn’t, Bill, but whatever.

    L2

    • ckratzer

      August 29, 2017 at 3:22 pm

      Linda, it just seems so disheartening when the Bible causes so much division, especially among family. So sorry for your experience. I stand with you!

  6. I have some confusion with your general gist. If we are discussing Math. should I refer to a book on Spanish? Maybe, just maybe, we should entertain ourselves without any references and conclude with agreeing to disagree. That being the case, we are talking at each other and wasting the whole conversation without edifying either party.

    I believe that the problem is not with the individual that has a thorough command of the Scriptures, but with the person that has very little command of Scripture. That person is intimidated by the more knowledgeable one – a very common reaction in any debate! Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15) Sorry!!!! I did it, didn’t I?

    Other than loving everything and accepting anything, what is the definition of Christian? Is there another record that defines just what a Christian is, aside from the Scripture?

    Sorry, I’m going to do it again. You wrote, Jesus spoke of spitting repugnant people like this out of His mouth. The repugnant ones were the ones who very weak in their beliefs, NOT the ones that were strong believers. Your bad.

    We all have free will to choose or reject any concept: Islam, Roman Catholic, Buddha, or Krishna (among others). Maybe, just maybe you could appreciate the fact that in most cases the individual is concerned about your eternal soul. If you are not interested, thank him and move on. With all the negativity towards Evangelicals, I miss the Love you are stressing.

  7. I cannot love this article more.

  8. Wonderful article christkratzer. It makes me want to claim Christianity as my own again.

    • ckratzer

      August 31, 2017 at 11:03 am

      Wayne, thanks so much! I feel the same ways about modern Christianity. It’s tough! Sometimes I feel very alone on this path.

  9. “With every verse you position to convict, condemn, and admonish”
    It is God’s word itself that does these things so your real problem is with the Bible.

    • ckratzer

      August 31, 2017 at 10:59 am

      No, my real problem is with your interpretation and weaponizing of it, all from a highly pretentious attitude that believes you hold the exclusive keys to faithful exegesis. Your religious spirit and twisted distortion of God, Jesus, the Bible, and His heart for people is my problem–and not just mine, but the countless people your evil system of belief and behavior is oppressing.

  10. Trust first those Bible quoters who regularly include locusts in their diet, those who honor Leviticus 11:22. All else cherry-pick.

  11. What, then, is your foundation?

  12. Let us not forget that what we have as the Bible was sanctioned by political committee and the contents put together by hand picked persons of the time. The reason was simply to squelch the growing factions of those who knew God intimately and expounded his knowledge that had been bestowed upon them.

    The books of the Bible were personal stories of others. It should be read in historical light of the times to inspire us to learn to listen to God. It should never be used to throw lashes of phrases taken out of context. Any phrase if not read from the entire chapter and sometimes the entire book is taken out of context. We have grown accustomed to following what others say we should learn from the Bible rather than taking a lead from God to actually read and study it ourselves. I do not quote any text from the Bible that I have not applied to my life and then the quotes become a story of how I live my life.

    I put forth a question to the body of people reading this comment, what have you done in your life to fight the whelms of Satin. I’m not talking about putting to memory some verse from the Bible, I’m asking about actions in your life. Do you meditate on what God would have you be doing? Is your life a reflection of what you’ve learned from communion with God and by communion I’m not talking about reading the Bible, I’m talking about talking and listening to what God has for you?

    The Bible are stories of others’ sacrifices, enjoyments, learnings, communion and actions with God. They should be just that and not taken as an interpretation of what God has for your life. They should be lessons of how other lives were spent in communion with God and action for God. The writers of the Bible did not have the Bible to expound their wisdom from so we should take into account what we are doing for God and how God is changing our lives when communicating God to others.

    • I have been meditating on the Torah verses on hospitality and the examples in the lives of Abraham, Joseph, Moses and David, each of whom were welcomed by foreigners when they faced persecution of famine. I am trying to incorporate philoxenia (love of strangers) in my life and at our church. Radical hospitality reflects the love we are called to.

      Jesus resurrected the Roman centurion’s daughter, talked to the Samaritan woman, touched lepers, ate with sinners. Nonetheless, Peter thought the good news was only for the Jews until God slapped him upside the head with a dream.

      Tribalism is the opposite of love. It’s based on ego, fear of strangers (xenophobia) and indifference.

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