Don’t Burn the Bible

Don’t Burn the Bible

We Would Never Burn Scripture, but Ignoring a Passage Is as Bad

God tells his prophet Jeremiah what to say. Jeremiah dictates it to his scribe, Baruch, who records it in a scroll. The scroll eventually makes it to the king. Though the people who hear Jeremiah’s words take his warning seriously, the king does not.

As the scroll is read to the king, he periodically gets up and cuts that portion from the scroll. Then he throws it in the fire. He does this until the entire scroll is burned up. He destroys the words of God.

We would never burn the Bible, would we?

But what do we do when we come across a passage we don’t like or disagree with? The easy solution is to ignore it. Another approach, which takes more effort, is to justify why the passage doesn’t apply to us today. Sometimes we use other Scripture to do this. The result of ignoring a Bible passage is little different than if we actually cut out those words and burned them. Click To Tweet

Either way the result is that we disregard the parts of the Bible that make us uncomfortable. The outcome of ignoring a Bible passage is little different than if we cut out those words and burnt them.

After the king does this, God tells Jeremiah to do it again. He must dictate God’s words a second time to Baruch. Baruch must write them down again. What a laborious process, to handwrite as someone else dictates.

As a writer, I’d worry about rewriting something a second time if I lost the first draft. Surely the second take would be different. Maybe the words would be better or maybe they wouldn’t be as good, but they definitely wouldn’t be the same.

However, this isn’t the case with Jeremiah and Baruch. God tells them to write down the same words, and they do. But the text also receives an addendum. It says many other similar words were added. Not only was God’s original message re-documented, but additional text expanded upon it. If the king didn’t like version one, he certainly wouldn’t like version two. But that’s what he gets when he burns the Bible.

God takes his words seriously, and so should we.

[Read through the Old Testament of the Bible this year. Today’s reading is Jeremiah 35-36, and today’s post is on Jeremiah 36:23-24, 32.]

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