By Every Word
By Steve Bietz
Thomas Jefferson, the author of the American Declaration of Independence, claimed to be a follower of the teachings of Jesus Christ. The problem was, he didn’t always like what he read in those teachings. He also didn’t always agree with how the Bible was interpreted by Biblical sources, including the writers of the four Gospels. Jefferson stated that he considered the Gospel writers to be untrustworthy correspondents. So Jefferson created his own gospel by taking a sharp instrument, perhaps a penknife, to existing copies of the NewTestament and pasting up his own account of Christ’s philosophy. In essence, he created his own Bible! The Jefferson Bible is an example of scripture by subtraction. It’s where people keep what they like and throw out what they don’t like. Jefferson saw no problem doing this, and many Christians don’t have a problem doing this today either. However, what a dangerous way to approach scripture!
Because God’s Word is divinely inspired, it is not like a mere human piece of literature that we can tamper with or adjust to suit our purposes. We don’t change or twist it to meet our culture or the political correctness of contemporary times. If there’s a conflict with culture or with our lifestyle, the Bible wins. It is the deciding rule and standard for all beliefs. We see this in Isaiah 8:20 where we read: “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” We don’t push it aside for higher criticism, for our own personal theories, or even for a church’s traditions or interpretations. Why? Because it
came from the inspiration of God, and God does not change. (Malachi 3:6)
What we need to understand is that we must measure our life against the standards of God’s Word. Then we pray, “Lord, change me!” Show me how to align my life with Your Word!” Of course, this does not happen in our own strength. We need divine power to invade us and thankfully, God is eager to send the Holy Spirit to help us when we earnestly seek Him.
Sadly, Thomas Jefferson is not the only one who has claimed to be a follower of Jesus but who wanted to follow the Bible according to their own dictates. I am fearful it is a practice that has infiltrated modern-day Christianity.
We have a wonderful life lesson from our Savior. After being baptized by John the Baptist, Jesus was ready for ministry…well, almost. The Bible tells us that Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness where He would be tempted by a one-time friend, Satan, the fallen angel Lucifer. In Matthew 4:1, 2 we read that Jesus had not eaten for 40 days and nights. He was starving. Satan likes to come at us when we are weak and he thought that this might work on Jesus. Satan, disguised as an angel of light from heaven, says to Jesus, If You are the Son of God, command that these stones be turned into bread. (Matthew 4:3) How would Jesus answer? “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4
Every word, could that be right? Evidently, when you and I come across scripture that our daily life is not following, we do not slice it out of the Bible. Instead, we ask God for strength to live by every word, just like Jesus.
Blue Ridge Christian News covers Burke County, McDowell County, Mitchell County, Yancey County, Madison County, in North Carolina, and Christian news from around the country.