Christian Living

Beware of Reading the Bible Through the Lens of the World We Live In

We Distort Scripture If We Try to Adapt It to Fit Society’s Views

I write about the need to be careful when reading Scripture to not interpret it through the lens of our experiences, perspectives, and practices. When we do so it clouds our understanding. We must likewise be careful not to read the Bible through the lens of the world we live in.

The world’s perspective is not a biblical one. Society is anti-God and anti-faith in most every way.

We’re bombarded with their messages all day long through music, movies, and television. We’re assaulted by advertisements and social media. It comes to us at work and sometimes even at church.

If we don’t guard our thoughts and our attitudes against these negative influences, we run the risk of buying into their warped perspective that runs counter to what the Bible teaches.

And as we slide into accepting their distorted mindset, it affects the way we understand God’s word.

We begin to interpret passages differently. We begin to put a slant on God’s truth to better align with society’s misguided perspectives. And we begin to ignore passages that don’t align with their secular views.

Yet this is what happens when we try to read the Bible through the lens of the world.

We must stop.

God doesn’t change and neither does the truth he proclaims (Numbers 23:19 and Psalm 55:19). When it comes to his word—which we read in Scripture—it’s the same today as it was a generation ago, as it was a millennia ago, as it was when it was first written.

The Lens of the World Says to Accept Everyone

Scripture doesn’t talk about accepting everyone, regardless of their lifestyle.

Instead, it teaches that we are to love everyone. Jesus tells us to love one another (John 13:34-35). Another time he says we are to love our neighbors—that means everyone who is in need—as much as we love ourselves (Mark 12:28-33).

One way we love them is to tell them the truth—even if they’re not ready to hear it.

The Lens of the World Says Each Person Decides What’s Right and Wrong

The world maintains there is no such thing as absolute truth, that everything is relative. They insist that each person should decide for themselves what is right and what is wrong. But it’s not good when everyone does as they see fit.

It’s happened before and God intervened (Genesis 6:13). Then it happened again (Judges 17:6 and Judges 21:25) and repeatedly throughout the Old Testament.

The Lens of the World Says to Not Talk about Sin

The Bible teaches us what to do and what not to do. When we fall short of God’s expectation, it’s sin. We all sin and miss the mark (Romans 3:23).

But the world doesn’t want us to point this out. Talking about sin makes them uncomfortable. Yet they wouldn’t be uncomfortable if deep down in their hearts they didn’t know that what we say is true.

There is right and there is wrong, but they don’t want to hear it. They want to do what they want to do with no one telling them to stop.

We Need a Biblical Standard

Yet we dare not leave it to each person to decide what is right on their own. This is because one person’s right and wrong will inevitably conflict with another person’s right and wrong. Without a consensus on what is right or wrong, conflict ensues.

Without a moral ethic to guide us, society runs amok. People act with selfish intent. In the process they end up hurting one another.

Instead, we need a standard of what is right and what is wrong. God gives us this. It’s in the Bible. We’ve had it from the beginning.

All we need to do is believe what he teaches us and not attempt to filter it through the lens of the world, less we distort what Scripture says.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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