“But what about this part?!”

bible-51It’s such a common challenge I almost want to roll my eyes when I hear it.  It usually attempts to become one of those “I gotcha!” moments from someone throwing some age-old question at me.

“Did God make evil?” (No…but it’s not that simple.)
“Did God really create everything in seven days?” (It was six, actually.)
“If God is good, why does He ‘allow’ evil?” (Genesis 3—we did it.)

I can give my quick answers here but they obviously require far more explanation.  Note: I’m not talking about a Christian who is genuinely asking these questions or someone who is seeking the Lord but struggle with these issues.

I mean the person who’s basically questioning what the Bible says because they are “proving” it’s not trustworthy anyway.

If you’ve been a Christian for more than about three months, you’ve probably read a few parts of the Bible that are strange, odd, disturbing, etc.  And that’s just the New Testament!  When we dig into the Old Testament, we find things there that are very upsetting.  To make matters worse, a lot of what’s recorded in the Old Testament doesn’t have a side note declaring, “Gentle reader, this is a sin and not good that they did this.”  Often…just a record and on to the next story.

Yet, we read 2 Timothy 4:1-5:

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge:  Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.  For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.  They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

The author, the Apostle Paul, is writing to his protégé, Timothy, and giving him some wise counsel.  And in the process of doing so, we find some amazing truth.

  1. Preachers/teachers/pastors are commanded to declare the Word of God (the Bible).
  2. Christians sometimes won’t tolerate this truth (it’s not the “pagans” he’s talking about, but us Christians).
  3. The lives of preachers/teachers/pastors demonstrate the power of this living Word.

And I can tell you: it would be far easier if some parts of the Bible weren’t there.  I wish the parts about us having to suffer weren’t there.  If I were God’s editor, I would have said, “Lord, let’s leave out Job.  That’s a rough one.”  Perhaps some of Israel’s conquest into the Promised Land could have been redacted.

But the Lord didn’t do that.

He has it in there.

The correct response is not, “I don’t like this part so I’m going to ignore it.”

The correct response is, “Why is this here and how am I to handle this truth.”

If there’s one thing we learn about suffering it’s this: it’s the methodology the Lord often uses to teach us faith, reliance, and humility (ouch!).  If there’s one thing we learn from the book of Job it’s this: God’s ways, decisions, and choices are not subject to our scrutiny.  We answer to Him; not the other way around.  If there’s one thing we learn about Israel’s conquest of the Promised Land it’s this: the Lord will not be eternally patient with those who mock Him.

Perhaps it would be “easier” if some parts of the Bible weren’t there, but they are.  And they are there to teach us the truth about holiness, humanity, and cross bridging that divide.