In our self-absorbed, narcissistic culture, filled with people desperate to find meaning to their lives, is it no surprise we’ve generated the Personal Promise Bible? (HT: STR)

Have you ever inserted your name as you read the Bible to make it more personal? Now you can experience the reality of God’s love and promises in a way you never thought possible. In the Personal Promise Bible, you will read your first name personalized in over 5,000 places throughout the New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs, over 7,000 places throughout the complete Old and New Testaments.

Indeed, with a tagline of “as unique as you are”, such a product only reinforces the notion that the Bible was written directly to us individually. This, I think, is an issue that has crept up in the evangelical church in America. In Bible studies, class discussions, and sermons alike, do any of these phrases sound familiar: “To me, this verse means…”, “What does this verse mean, to you?…”, “My special verse is…”, or “God gave me this verse…”? It’s this “the Bible was written to me” idea which causes so many Christians to literally steal away the intended meaning of scripture. Consider the classic “my special verse” of Jeremiah 29:11,

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

The main problem with this unique-as-you-are Bible is that most of the Bible was not written directly to us! This certainly does not mean we cannot gleam truths, insights, applications and personal significance from the words in God’s Word, but it does mean we should approach the written Word in a manner consistent with how we approach any written form of communication. We must understand the historical foundation of Israel and the early Church which, as with any foundation, precedes us and on which we stand. We must understand that the ultimate author of the Bible (God) has an intent (plan) He is communicating to all people and working out through His church. And we need to realize that the individual authors of the Bible, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote in specific literary genres, to specific audiences, with specific intentions.

If we fail to understand these basic premises, and choose to personalize essentially the entire Bible, we’ll end up with an anti-Word. Consider Jeremiah 29:11 in this unique-as-you-are context: “For I know the plans I have for Rusty,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper Rusty and not to harm Rusty, plans to give Rusty hope and a future.” How many times have you heard Christians take this verse in essentially that personal-for-me context? Yet, are they ready to do the same with the preceding verse? “This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to Rusty and fulfill my gracious promise to bring Rusty back to this place.”

It’s interesting to note, when I’ve pointed out Jeremiah 29:10 to people who want to claim Jeremiah 29:11, the mental gymnastics that take place to suddenly turn the meaning of verse 10 into an allegory or metaphor or something completely apart from the personal promise they are so convinced is contained in verse 11.

Could it be that one reason we’ve drifted into a post-Christian culture is because we completely misunderstand our place in God’s Plan through an ill-educated approach to reading His Word?

Tagged with:

Filed under: ChristianityCultureRustyUncategorized

Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!