By Garrett Jones, Contributing Writer
You know what really grinds my gears? When people take Scripture out of context for a particular agenda.
I don’t mean people misunderstanding Scripture. That happens and while it isn’t a good thing, I can at least understand it.
What really upsets me is when people quote Scripture to tell someone what they are doing is wrong, when realistically it isn’t.
I’ll give you some examples: “Tattoos are evil!”
Everyone who grew up in a good ol’ conservative Baptist church has probably heard something at least similar to this.
Whether it’s from the old lady who, every time she sees you, tells you that she remembers changing your diapers when you were in the nursery, or the usher who makes visitors take their hats off in church.
Now I’m sure these people love the Lord, and I’m sure they love you too, but they certainly are not applying the context to the verses they think speak against tattoos.
Leviticus 19:28 says “You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead or tattoo yourself: I am the Lord. (ESV)”
I’ll give you a little bit of context for this verse. This verse was written to the Israelites when they were enslaved by the Egyptians. During this time, the Egyptians were worshipping pagan gods by marking their skin. Moses is telling the Israelites, who are easily influenced by the culture around them, not to tattoo themselves because people will think they are worshipping pagan gods.
Obviously, I can’t speak for everyone’s tattoos, but you’re probably not worshipping pagan gods with your bison tattoo or your tattoo that says (insert any cliché in Hebrew or Greek here). Another verse some people like to use against tattoos is 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 which says “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” (ESV)
These verses are absolutely true… when speaking about sexual immorality.
Seriously, just look at any of the seven verses before them. Paul is specifically talking about not being sexually immoral.
“Do what your government tells you”
In June of 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said, “I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes,” when speaking about prosecuting anyone who crosses the border from Mexico.
This one really makes my blood boil.
As I’ve proven so far, taking Scripture out of context upsets me, but using God’s loving word to defend such hateful actions is absolutely disgusting.
In this passage, Paul has written to the church in Rome. Now, at the time, this church had recently been joined back together after a new emperor of Rome made it legal for Jews to live in Rome.
Up until that time, it had been illegal for several years. Paul is specifically telling the Jews of the church not to act out against their government.
Why? Because he doesn’t want them to get kicked out again!
I’m not trying to say that you should do everything in your will to act out against your own government. I doubt it would be very easy to glorify God while doing that.
But I don’t think that disobeying your government is, within itself, sinful. If your government made it illegal to own a Bible, would it be sinful to own one?
(I don’t think I have to tell you the answer to that one.)
“You can’t be poor and glorify God.”
College students, this one goes out to you.
In an interview with Oprah, Joel Osteen said “I can’t be a blessing to people if I’m poor and broke.”
I feel like I shouldn’t even have to comment on this one.
Joel, do you have a minute to hear about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?
This one is so blatantly stupid that if I didn’t know who Joel Osteen was, I probably would just think he’s crazy.
Folks, if you haven’t figured it out yet, Osteen wants your money, and he’ll tell you anything you want to hear in order to get it.
“Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:24 (ESV)
Scripture is such an incredible gift from God. It is literally the Creator of the universe speaking to us. It has never been more accessible to us than it is now.
We should never take it for granted.
So the next time someone quotes Scripture to you, in an effort to prove their point, kindly speak the truth in love and tell them “I will have to look into that” Then thoroughly do your own research of the Word. Or just write a column about it.