It is a delight to be in the studio again today as we talk about reading through the Bible for all it’s worth. We’ll go to your questions in just a moment, but let’s take a couple of moments about my occasional fear in asking people to read through the book of Leviticus because there are a lot of people today who want to invalidate Scripture on the basis of that very book. After all, if you read Leviticus, as I did today, you’re going to find the moral status of homosexuality and the biblical injunction against seeding different crops side by side, as well as sewing garments together with two different threads. All of that you find in the same context. And given today’s widespread biblical ignorance, including many who consider themselves to be intellectuals who poo-poo the Bible, they make it as if this is proof positive that the Bible simply cannot be trusted, not in an age of scientific enlightenment, maybe in an age where people were easily led, but not today.
In truth, however, Scripture simply uses the object lessons of seeding crops and sewing clothes to illustrate the spiritual and social distinctions between the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of light. The mixing of different things was associated with the syncretistic pagan practices that Israel was to avoid. Scripture, thus, provides a wide variety of illustrations to underscore the principle of undivided loyalty to God. In Deuteronomy for example, the Israelites were commanded not to plow with an ox and a donkey yoked together, and Paul writing to the Corinthians uses this common-sense principle to underscore the fact that just as a donkey and an ox don’t work well together in the process of plowing, so too a believer and unbeliever do not harmonize well in the process of living.
The highly complex nature of civil, ceremonial, and moral aspects of the Mosaic Law, are really hard in many ways, and therefore difficult to relegate to simplistic superficial 21st century sound-bites. Devoid of context, the 21st century mind can only with great difficulty grasp the significance of biblical illustrations, of metaphors, of figures of speech. A golfer like myself living in the 21st century knows exactly what is meant if someone says “I drained a snake on the 18th hole,” but to someone living in a context or a culture in which golf was not played, it probably makes no sense whatsoever, and in similar fashion the ceremonial fashion of Mosaic laws makes little sense to someone who has never read or studied the Bible in context, and that’s the point I want to make. We need to read the Bible in context and if we do, we’re going to get the whole picture.
So right now you’re in the process, but don’t give up, don’t despair. There are answers to questions that arise in your mind. If there’s one thing that I have learned over many years of grappling with the Word of God is that the questions that one arose in my mind have not only realized a satisfactory answer, but even beyond that, I have seen a beauty in the tapestry of Scripture that only is revealed with the investment of quality time. Think about it? When we talk about the Bible and biblical illiteracy, we’re talking about a book, a heavenly book, etched in sovereign handwriting, God condescending to use the language of humans to reveal himself to those who are finite and limited and only with time and effort can we grasp the beauty in its pages, but make no mistake, there is beauty in these pages. So persevere, stay with it, don’t be casualty or a statistic. Be one who is in the Word of God and even if you don’t get it completely, the main and the plain things of Scripture can’t be missed.
The main and the plain things are the dividing lines between the kingdom of Christ and the kingdom of cults. You can know those main and plain things, which start with the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who came to fulfill all the types and shadows of the Old Testament, and if by God’s grace we place our faith in him, we can have a relationship with him, we can find the meaning and the purpose and the fulfillment that our life was intended to have, and that relationship is not temporary, that relationship is eternal. So persevere. Keep reading through the Word of God. It will ultimately change your life for time and for eternity.