Once again, I am privileged to share the work of the brilliant Phil Drysdale on my blog, writing on a subject that is close to my heart:
As Christians we’ve all thought “is this biblical?”
It’s a great benchmark to see if something we are believing or doing is in line with scripture.
But there is a concern in this framework.
The Bible can lie to us.
Or more specifically – we can lie to ourselves when reading the Bible.
There are technically two ways to read the Bible – exegesis and eisegesis.
Exegesis literally means “to lead out of.” It’s when we read something in the Bible and it informs our opinions and changes the way we live life.
Eisegesis literally means “to lead into.” It’s when we read our own opinion into the Bible and it confirms our opinion and stops us from changing.
The truth is we all think we are doing exegesis when we are reading the Bible. But studies have shown, again and again, that most of the time the most well meaning of people perform eisegesis when reading their Bible.
It’s no surprise if you are a democrat there are passages to support you – and they do!
But it’s also no surprise if you are a republican there are passages to support you as well – and they do!
(sometimes they are even the same passages!!)
Same with how to raise your kid. Firm hand – its biblical. Soft and meek – it’s biblical.
How about that decision at work? There are dozens of “biblical” solutions in that Bible of yours. But you’ll most likely pick the one you want to or the one that makes the most sense to you.
Now hear me right, we frequently break out of exegesis by the grace of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit. So don’t hear me say reading the Bible can’t guide you or help you change, or that there is no point in reading the Bible.
I’m simply saying we need to be aware that we can be biased in finding what we want when reading the Bible.
In fact, it’s perhaps the only thing we can do. Be aware of this bias and pray God helps us navigate our subjectivity.
But I have another strategy I’d like to propose to you.
It’s more solid than asking, “is it biblical?”
It’s to ask, “is it Christ-like?”
You see when Jesus came He told us we had read the scriptures wrong!
Not just the common folk like you or I. No, the guys who had dedicated their entire lives to studying the scriptures. He told them that they had studied the scriptures to find out a “biblical” view of God and they couldn’t recognize God standing in front of them in the flesh.
Jesus redefined their reading of the scriptures.
He must also be our benchmark for reading the scriptures.
In fact, I would go as far as to propose if your “biblical” view does not work out to look “Christ-like” then it is not in fact truly biblical as Jesus would see it.
And Jesus did some drastic stuff to do this. He edited the scriptures. Selectively quoting them. Cutting out some bits. Inserting His own thoughts into others. Discrediting some while validating others many had ignored.
Jesus messed with the Jewish concept of scripture… and I think He needs to mess with our “Christian” one at times too!!
So that’s my challenge to you today. Will you allow Jesus to inform your concept of biblical?
After all, the Word of God should be the one who tells us what the words of God mean.