Holy BibleMankind has a habit.

Mankind has had this habit ever since the Fall.

This habit never fails to cause destruction when indulged, whether out of simple-mindedness, selfishness, or an overreaching attempt to grasp wisdom.

What is this habit? It is corrupting that which is naturally found.

One can point to any number of environmental agendas to show that we have not stewarded this earth, the animals in it, or our own bodies to the best of our abilities, as was our original purpose through Adam.

But there is another, particular manner in which humanity exercises this habit, and that is the subject which I wish to write about today. It is the corruption of Scripture. If we look to our history books, we find that man has been corrupting Scripture since the early days following Christ’s death on the cross. Let’s look at such an example.

Simon the Sorcerer was a man who wanted the authority to bestow the Holy Spirit upon others for selfish gain, and he offered money to Peter and John for this ability (Acts 8:9-24). He had recently come to believe in Christ, and he was already reading his own experience and understanding of religion into the Gospel.

According to some traditions, Simon Magus went on to become the founder of what we call Gnosticism. In a nutshell, Gnosticism is a splinter off of Christianity that sets up a new set of religious understandings of the spiritual realm, borrowing from many religions outside of Christianity as well. You can see one representation of Gnosticism given in Dan Brown’s hit novel The Da Vinci Code, from some years back. At the center of Gnosticism, however, is the idea that knowledge — from the Greek word “gnosis” — is what saves you from this fallen shell that is our flesh, to rise into ultimate knowledge in the spiritual realm.

Now, that is an extremely crude and simplistic description of Gnosticism, but the driving point is that it is a corruption of the original story of the Gospel and Jesus Christ. Elements have been added, subtracted, modified, and assumed in order to build the framework of this deviation.

Today (upon writing this post), I learned of another concept that has been drawn from the Bible that seems to me — with minimal study thus far — to be yet another major deviation from the Gospel. Those who hold this particular view seem to have made presumptions, taken specific interpretations of Scripture, and ignored commonly accepted understandings of God’s character and the teachings of Jesus in order to build a fantastical story about the creation of the world.

And this leads to my main point. If you truly believe in God and His Word, if you believe that “16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (I Timothy 3), then you have one specific question to ask yourself, one that you must be honest about and be sure not to dodge or twist: What are you doing with God’s Word?

This is nearly synonymous with what you do with the person of Jesus Christ, for we know from John 1 (and I John 1, for that matter) that Jesus is the Word of God, our path to life itself. Ravi Zacharias has defined cults as “Anything that deviates from the historic person and work of Jesus Christ or adds to his teaching and is generally at the instruction of one individual who dictates that belief.” He goes on to say that anyone in the Christian faith can become cultic by “following a particular brand of teaching and deviating from the historic work and teaching of Jesus Christ.” He has offered similar definitions with variations on the wording in Q&A periods on Catholicism, Mormanism, and other systems of belief that are based on Jesus Christ. But I digress.

In this case, I have briefly found that people who hold this belief concerning earth’s creation and continuation have read extra materials and ideas into the Scriptures, making presumptions about definitions and applications, thus corrupting the natural reading of the text.

And this happens in our society with many hot-button topics. I’ll refrain from going into any, but I’m sure you have one or two that come to mind. When you take the Scriptures and twist them to mean what you prefer them to mean, what you hope they mean, or what others would like to hear, you are destroying the very person and work of Jesus Christ.

I recently posted on my Facebook page a quote from Elizabeth Rundle Charles in her book The Chronicles of the Schoenberg Cotta Family, which I believe encapsulates this idea quite well:

If I profess, with the loudest voice and the clearest exposition, every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christianity. Where the battle rages the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battle-field besides is mere flight and disgrace to him if he flinches at that one point.

(If you haven’t visited my Facebook page, check it out — I post smaller snippets between the longer posts on this blog.) So stand up for your beliefs, and “15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (II Timothy 2).

***NOTE***

In this post, I did something I rarely do: I linked to strictly the relevant passage about Simon Magus. The reason I rarely do so is because I strongly believe that you should generally avoid reading Scriptural snippets. It is easy to read something out of context, which is where many of these examples of twisted Scripture are born.

Please, please, please! do not make a habit of reading only what you are given, especially from a person who is teaching! Read before and after the section they give, and you will avoid and discover many misinterpretations of God’s Word, both malicious and well-intended.

***SECOND NOTE***

Just before editing and publishing this post, I remembered a news piece about a man suing Zondervan and Tommy Nelson over translations of the Bible and what this man perceived as twisting of Scripture to target homosexuals. This case is quite recent, having happened during the first campaign of America’s current president.

While I could note the Scriptural problems with his argument (including the use of three different translations as if they were the same translation process), my intent is to share with you that these things are happening today. The sacred is no longer sacred, and the very words that we believe were inspired by God are now being reinterpreted in the courts and in the public arena. We must be diligent — now more than ever — in defending the truth.

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