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You’re Reading The Bible Wrong. . .No YOU Are!

September 7, 2022

Don’t worry, whether you believe the Bible or not, there’s sure to be something in this post to offend you.

Ever argue religion with someone?

My brother and I grew up playing board games. We’d get a new game, he’d go read the rules and I’d play with the pieces. When he knew enough of the rules for us to start, he’d explain it to me and we’d begin playing. At some point he’d do something that he hadn’t explained. When I complained he’d say,

“Oh, yeah, I forgot to tell you. . “

and then he pull out the rulebook and show me the rule.

And that was the point. Well, two points, actually. First, brothers cannot be trusted. But, second and more important, when in doubt consult the rule book. That’s what it’s for.

So, back to the Bible. It’s the ultimate rulebook if you are a Christian. But, if you’ve ever tried to consult it, you know that it’s not that easy.

For example:

Are God and Jesus Christ the same person?

Seems simple enough. And if you look at The Gospel of John Chapter 1 verse 1 it’s pretty clear.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

“The Word is another name for Jesus Christ. So, clearly if Jesus was with God and WAS God, they are the same.

But, if we go to The Gospel of Luke Chapter 3 verse 22, we read,

And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou are my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.

Clearly if God was in Heaven and Jesus was in the River Jordan and they were having a conversation, they can’t be the same person.

Which one is right?

In Ephesians Chapter 2 versus 8 and 9 it says,

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.

Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Clearly we are saved by grace and not by works.

And yet, in the Epistle of James Chapter 2 verse 17 says

Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead

Okay, so clearly we need works to be saved. Or do we?

The Church of England is also called the Anglican Church. It was started by Henry VIII (the guy with all the wives.) And it was started because he wanted to divorce his wife for committing the sin of failing to give him a son. But, Henry and Catherine were Catholics as most of Europe was. The king asked the Pope to grant him a divorce. Catherine was Henry’s sister-in-law. She married his brother who then died. There’s a verse in the Old Testament, Deuteronomy 25:5 that says,

If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband’s brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife and perform the duty of an husband’s brother unto her.

So, the Pope had a pretty solid scriptural backing for denying the annulment. In fact, he’d issued a special decree to allow the marriage in the first place because despite the scripture in Deuteronomy it was considered weird to marry your sister-in-law. (As for the annulment, yes, Henry wanted an annulment even though they had a daughter with Catherine, but he was king and it’s best to not ask too many questions.)

Add in the fact that Catherine didn’t want a divorce (or an annulment) and the additional fact that her brother the King of France had military control over the Pope’s house at the vatican, and the Pope had OTHER reasons to not grant the divorce.

So, Henry decides the best way to get his divorce was to form his own Church with him at the head of it and then he could do what he liked. But, he also had scripture on his side. Leviticus Chapter 20 verse 21 says,

If a man takes his brother’s wife, it is impurity. He has uncovered his brother’s nakedness; they shall be childless.

Clearly, the Bible goes both ways on the question of marrying your sister-in-law along with a lot of other pretty fundamental questions.

What’s the point?

The point is that if you want to read the Bible, you should read the Bible. If you don’t want to, you should not. And if someone disagrees with your interpretation of the Bible (faith/works, Nature of God, nature of Sin) just say, “Of course, I’m reading it wrong. So are YOU!”

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. Order Miscellany II, an anthology including his latest short story, “The Mercy System” here

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