how the bible lies to us

How The Bible Lies To Us

Because I know there are people standing with stones ready to go to town over just the title of this blog let me start with this:

The Bible itself doesn’t lie to us.

However the way most of us tend to read the Bible means that we are unfortunately using it to lie to us all the time.

Can you solve this puzzle?

I saw a very interesting video recently. It involved a guy giving people a simple number sequence – 2, 4, 8 and asking them to solve the rule he uses to get the sequence.

He allows them to guess 3 of their own numbers and he will verify if it fits his rule or not before they guess what the rule is.

Now what are you thinking?

2, 4, 8…

You’re thinking he’s doubling the numbers, right?

I was.

And so was EVERYONE in the video.

So they guess 3, 6, 12.

A: “That follows my rule”
B: “Is the rule you are doubling?”
A: “No.”

They guess again… 10, 20, 40

A: “That follows my rule”
B: “But you are doubling!”
A: “No.”

And again… 5, 10, 20

A: “That follows my rule”
B: “This isn’t fair, you are clearly doubling the numbers.”
A: “No.”

Do you know something though? He isn’t doubling the numbers.

They are.

They are reinforcing what they saw initially. Over and over again.

His rule, it turns out, was simply any numbers in ascending order.

They could have guessed 1, 2, 3 or 4, 600, 34256. But because he chose numbers that doubled to begin with they could only see things one way.

You are wired to ignore truth

There is an odd phenomena in the way the human mind works.

It causes us to consistently ignore the truth and re-enforce lies we believe.

Typically the vast majority of the population tend to default to proving what we know rather than learning something we don’t know.

You are probably doing it right now.

If you are anything like me or most other people you are most likely skimming through this blog for key words and phrases that jump out at you.

When you see those phrases you will stop and read them.

Do you know what’s interesting?

You probably aren’t looking to learn something new.

You are looking for things that agree with what you already believe so you can nod your head and say “yup, he’s right.”

or

You are looking for things you disagree with so you shake your head and say “what an idiot… I’m going to skip to the end and leave a comment showing why he’s wrong.”

So how exactly does the Bible fit into this?

As Christians most of us hold to the Bible being, through the Holy Spirit, the ultimate source of revelation on the will of God.

Here is my concern:

None of us read the Bible without our own biases. We read the Bible in the very same manner I’m talking about in this blog. We read the Bible to validate what we already know to be true (or want to believe is true).

We rarely turn to the Bible to be challenged in our preconceived notions.

The Bible has fulfilled it’s purpose in so many people’s lives over the last few millennia – it’s lead them to God and instructed them in all righteousness as Paul so beautifully put in his letter to Timothy.

However, and I can’t state this strongly enough…

It has also done the exact opposite.

It has been a stamp of approval in the wrong hands to validate the worst of crimes against God’s creation.

We’ve used it to justify inequality, abuse, rape, murder, slavery, genocide, crusades, holocausts… and that’s just skimming the surface of how we have used this book over the last couple of millennia.

So what on earth is my point?

My point is this… we all have this tendency to want to validate what we know to be true. And it’s OK to do so!

So long as we know we are doing it.

When you open your Bible remind yourself – I have a disposition to read what I know (or want to know) INTO this text.

Turn your affections to the Holy Spirit in that moment and simply say “Help me read YOU out of this text rather than ME into it.”

You might be surprised at how many passages start to take on new meaning in your reading.

P.S. Here is the video I mentioned in the blog

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15 Comments

  1. Dude you’re so deceived… Just kidding lol

    I was hoping you’d give examples of how Christians today so this, or how you once did this, or how people in the bible read OT scripture in a way that blinded them to the truth…

    It’s still an interesting and eye-opening piece without those examples, though

  2. Great post Phil. In this case I did appreciate the click-bait title. First time to your website and a great introduction! I love how the Holy Spirit is our answer to our helplessly biased reading of Scripture.

  3. That’s amazing! I realized I was doing that JUST THIS MORNING! Email me. You’d be interested to hear what it was about. :-) Hope you are well, Phil!

  4. There must be something in the atmosphere. I literally was thinking similar things last week as I caught myself saying a few times how people read what they want out of the Bible. We definitely need Holy Spirit to guide us through this. I loved the example you used with the video. It really brings home your point.
    Blessings,
    Kevin

  5. Seems your Facebook post on this subject drew a few naysayers. I like the way Joesph Prince teaches on reading the Bible. Context. Remove the text and you’re left with a Con.
    Part of the issue is many feel the Bible is the Word of God as well as it’s innerancy. Any challenge to this and eyes begin to perk up. One can simply refer to any one of the different translations and find differences, some major, and see that it’s simply not infallible. Perhaps in the original language(s) but not after man has gotten hold of it.
    Especially the KJV.

    I believe I’ve mentioned this on your site before but I feel the Bible is not actually the Word of God but testifies TO the Word of God. There is a big difference here. Let’s not make it an idol though.

  6. loved it didnt watch the video i dont get numbers lol but loved what you said i totally did this and i think i still do at times and i know others do that as well i thats why people love to debate it so much lol

  7. At the reformation most questions were soteriological. People wanted to know how to be saved from a ghastly hell or purgatory. The assumption made (the 2,4,8 if you like) was that the NT was primarily addressing this question. But what if the NT was not primarily about personal salvation (though it is of course about this) but rather the fulfillment of Israel’s Messianic hope in history. The first chapter of the NT (Matt 1) reveals this clearly. The NT is first and foremost about God returning to vindicate Israel and not about how we can be saved by faith alone.

  8. Phil, you have really challenged me on this subject, ever since I heard your podcast, which I miss btw, on the bible being an idol. I am convinced that the way we elevate it takes away from our trust in the work of the Holy Spirit in our life and leads to legalism in some form or another. I do have one question however which you may have addressed at some point or another but I haven’t seen it specifically. When Paul says “all scripture is God-breathed” how do you interpret that? The word inspired is the same as breathed I believe. How do you think that correlates with the rhema of God? Would love to hear your thoughts when you have a chance.

  9. This is correct. That is why Jesus said : Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and do not understand these things? Truly, truly (which means Infallible unending unchangeable Truth about Reality), I say to you, we speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen, and you do not accept our testimony. If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?…” and Paul concluded in part, “Do you not know, but we have the mind of Christ”. It is difficult to understand until one has been washed ‘clean’ and starts all over again…to clear the wax out of the ear and get the planks out of the eyes.

  10. This is correct. That is why Jesus said : Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and do not understand these things? Truly, truly (which means Infallible unending unchangeable Truth about Reality), I say to you, we speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen, and you do not accept our testimony. If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?…” and Paul concluded in part, “Do you not know, but we have the mind of Christ”. It is difficult to understand until one has been washed ‘clean’ and starts all over again…to clear the wax out of the ear and get the planks out of the eyes. (The Spirit of Truth will lead you into all Truth so that you will need no one to teach you)..that is assuming that one has Fear of the Lord (which includes True humility) and is willing to see that they are wrong unless it is The Truth.

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