What the Bible is...What the Bible isn't.
“Trouble and distress have come upon me, but your commands give me delight.” Psalm 119:143
Being brought up in church, I learned both the good and bad of Christianity. Let’s face it. As a people, we do some things well; however, there are areas where spiritual growth and maturity are necessary. I am well-aware that many of us decide to accept Christ as Savior, but we never make Him the Lord of our lives. Without spiritual growth, we may be a Christian, but we aren’t necessarily a servant for His kingdom.
At the risk of sounding too “preachy” or over-the-top “churchy,” please allow me to share my observations with how the church uses the Bible correctly and how I see it being misused. It is a well-known fact that people twist scripture. I believe it is an obvious fact that those who quote it the most twist it the best. If we use scripture to make our point or to whip someone into submission, we are using the Bible as punishment; not as a tool. There is a huge difference.
The Apostle Paul, who wrote the majority of the New Testament, told his protégé Timothy that scripture is “God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” What we, today’s Christian, seem to have overlooked is that one must accept the Bible and believe the Bible before seeing it as instruction, reprimand, correction, and training. In other words, we can’t bark scripture to a lost generation and think that they agree with it or understand it. If we are trying to use scripture to convict someone, we are speaking a foreign language and a great deal is lost in translation.
The saying, “you can lead a horse to water but cannot make him drink,” comes to mind. We often depend far too much on our knowledge (true or self-perceived) to do the talking and, therefore, depend less on the Holy Spirit to do the real work. For a Christian, God’s word is a wonderful tool and companion during times of distress, sorrow, or when we want to learn more about Him. For someone who doesn’t believe the Bible, we often come across as Bible thumpers or unbending rulers when we try to do the convincing based on what we quote to them.
Here's the key: a) get to know them, b) ask what they believe, c) actually listen to their beliefs, and d) pray for them. If the Holy Spirit is going to move, He will choose to move through us or on His own. We really need to stop making Him move around us.
The Bible may be the set authority for me. That doesn’t give me permission to punch someone else with it not knowing if they have the slightest interest in its contents.