“Hunched over his desk, penknife in hand, Thomas Jefferson sliced carefully at the pages of Holy Scripture, excising select passages and pasting them together to create a Bible more to his liking. The ‘Jefferson Bible.’ A book he could feel comfortable with.
“What didn’t make it into the Jefferson Bible was anything that conflicted with his personal worldview. Hell? It can’t be. The supernatural? Not even worth considering. God’s wrath against sin? I don’t think so. The very words of God regarded as leftover scraps.” – C.J. Mahaney
Every time I read that story I’m appalled. How dare Jefferson cut verses out of the Bible. Who did he think he was? Obviously, God put them in there for a reason. Shame on him!!
As much as I enjoy pointing my finger at Thomas Jefferson, I’m feeling some major conviction settling on my head.
The idea of physically cutting out verses in my Bible sounds horrific. Creating my own “Bethany Baird” Bible sounds prideful, arrogant, and stupid! But, it’s exactly what I do.
I open up my Bible and read “Do not be anxious about anything,” and what do I do? I ignore that command and continue to worry:
Will I ever get married?!?
Will I die an old maid sitting on the front porch in a rocking chair?!?
I read, “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness,” and what do I do?
I live out my day with Bethany’s kingdom on my mind.
I wake up in the morning with my plans on the throne.
The list could go on and on, but, I think you get the idea. In fact, I think you can totally relate to me on this one. You read your Bible, read certain verses, and then take what you like and ignore what you don’t.
The verses you choose to disregard may not be the ones Jefferson cut out of his Bible, but you can be just as guilty. You say that you love God and believe in the entire Bible but then mentally cut certain verses out.
In case you are struggling to see your own “cut and paste” Bible, let me give you some suggestions:
Purity: I could be doing worse things…
Patience: If only God had given me a different family, then I could be patient…
God’s Name: I only take it in vain when I’m around that one friend…
Movies: I try to look away during the really bad scenes…
You get the idea. In one way or another, each one of us is guilty of the “Jefferson Bible” sin. We cut and paste and create our own personalized Bibles.
It’s time to take a step back and ask yourself if you truly believe in this Bible verse:
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
It says that “all” scripture is inspired by God. Last time I checked, “all” means ALL. Not 99.9%, but 100%. Every single word in the Bible is inspired by God so that we may be equipped for every good work.
Do you believe that?
If you are scared of conviction, now might be a good time to stop reading this blog. I want to bring up a few verses that I’ve noticed are the most hated and ignored by Christian women today.
Let me share three verses with you and see if you agree with me.
Here they are:
1. “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:22)
2. “But let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” (1 Peter 3:4)
3. “The women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says.” (1 Corinthians 14:34)
Yikes! I feel like I am crunching on some toes just writing these verses. These are not very popular verses amongst Christian women today. They are cut out. Marked out. Blocked out and totally ignored.
It’s time to stop pointing the finger at Jefferson and look in the mirror.
Are you guilty of ignoring, despising, or hating these verses? Are you guilty of brushing them off as too hard to understand and snipping them out of your “personalized” Bible?
If you really believe the entire Bible is inspired by God, then you can’t ignore those verses. God put them in the Bible on purpose and for a purpose. The very same God who sent His Son to die on the cross for my sins and your sins put those verses in the Bible.
I think it’s time to give them a second look. It’s time to open up your Bible and read the chapters that go along with each verse. Understanding the context of each chapter will help you understand God’s intended meaning for each of them. It’s time to dig deep and grow in your knowledge and understanding of God’s Word.
No more personalized Jefferson style Bibles. Let’s trust, believe, and act on every word of God.
- Do you trust that God knows better than you? Are you willing to believe in the entire Word of God?
- Which verses have you “cut out” of your Bible?
- What were your initial thoughts when you read the Jefferson story? What are your thoughts now?
I’d love to continue this conversation in the comments section below. Leave a comment and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible!
p.s. Let me know how what you learn when you study those three verses.
Photo credit: www.flickr.com | beth19