Part of good writing is finding a good headline. Want to grab people’s attention? Write a good title. I’ve done that in my preaching ministry for years; I always wanted to intrigue people and help them pay attention.
I do that in my blogging, too. “But, Jesus Never Said Anything About Homosexuality.” “What if Jesus is the Only Way?” “God is Too Big for Any One Religion.” “Is Jesus Really the ONLY Way?” “Please Stop READING Your Bible”
Post those titles to social media and watch the firestorm. I’ve been labeled a heretic – “How can you say homosexuality is acceptable to God?” “Don’t you know Jesus is the only way?” “You really want Christians to stop reading their Bibles?!?! How dare you!” My favorite comment was that I need to return my doctoral degree if I believe the Bible teaches homosexuality is acceptable (I worked far too hard for that degree, and I know the Bible teaches homosexuality is a sin).
You see, I believe everything my “hecklers” believe – Yes, I believe homosexuality is sinful; I know Jesus is the only way; and I encourage Christians to spend time in Scripture. In fact, if my “hecklers” had taken time to read my posts, they would have seen exactly what I believe. Yet, they read the headlines and don’t bother reading the articles. They make up their mind what I’m saying and they don’t bother to investigate.
As much as the “hecklers” perturb me (and, with the provocative titles, I know that’s going to happen), I started to think that maybe—just maybe—many people read the Bible like they read Facebook. Here’s what I mean:
Some people already “know” what the Bible says.People might read my headline and already “know” what I’ve written. I fear people approach the Bible that way. No study. No investigation. They have already determined what the Bible says and no amount of biblical truth will move them from their preconceived ideas.
When we read Scripture, we need to leave our preconceived ideas “at the door,” as it were, and allow Scripture to speak to us. Luke praised the Bereans, for they examined “the Scriptures daily to see if” Paul’s teaching was truth (Acts 17:11). Speaking of Paul, as he knows the end of his earthly life is approaching (2 Timothy 4:6-8), he tells Timothy, “When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments” (2 Timothy 4:13). I know I can’t make too much of what Paul tells Timothy, but is it not possible that the books and the parchments at least included Scripture? Even days before his death, the Apostle to the Gentiles, inspired by the Spirit of God, desired to study.
Let us not be those who skim what we read. Let us study what we read in the Word of God! Let us honor and obey the Word of God (James 1:22-25).