All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
I saw a coffee mug online a few days ago with the following printed on its side: I can do all things through a verse taken out of context.
There are verses throughout the Bible that would help justify almost any argument or action when we don’t study them closely. It’s when we look at context that we realize some Scripture, although it might still have a relevant message for us, was written for a specific person or group of people during a certain situation, and that not everything in the Bible is to be taken literally.
As Methodists, we know Scripture is an important tool in helping us determine God’s will, but it’s only one quarter of the "Wesley Quadrilateral." We also consider tradition, reason, and experience alongside Scripture to discern how God might guide us.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 we are told to “pray without ceasing.” I think this is especially good advice when we’re using Scripture to guide us or claiming to represent Christ. Make it a point to pray before reading Scripture, before having any sort of theological discussion with someone who might not see things the same way as you, and before you act a certain way as a Christian.
We long to represent you well and to love others, but sometimes when we read Scripture, we aren’t sure if we’re hearing a message meant for us or not. Guide us as we read the Bible and help us to understand your will, knowing that love should be our biggest motivator.
When we’re wrestling with a thought or action, help us to realize whether we’re acting out of our own selfish interests (and using Scripture to justify it) or out of love for our neighbors.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
— Angela LaVallie Tinsley, Facilities Services Program Director and Memorial Garden Administrator
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