Are You Sure That Is What The Bible Actually States?
By David R. Kenney
When teaching an adult Bible class I asked, “Where in the Bible will you find ‘Consistency thou art a jewel.’?” Some began to search while others had looks of contemplation. As some time passed, one cautiously responded—“It sounds like something out of Proverbs, but I do not think it is in the Bible.” He was correct—the statement is not in the Bible. In fact, the origin of this statement is debated, but the principle is accepted so readily that some think it belongs with the Bible. More recently, the White House erroneously attributed “The Lord helps those who help themselves” to the Bible. The White House issued a correction acknowledging the statement was not from the Bible. Likewise, this phrase’s origin is uncertain but believed to have been made popular by Benjamin Franklin’s Almanac. These two examples bring me to the point—Are you really sure you know what the Bible actually states? Not “we” or “they” but do YOU know what the Bible actually states?
We live in a nation that has had a healthy respect for the Bible and its principles. The teachings of the Bible were incorporated into our textbooks to instruct our youth. But today it seems Biblical instruction is being forced further and further out of the mainstream to where we have reached the point that many fail to recognize the source of our nation’s morals and ethics. We often hear that we are a “Christian Nation”, that we derive our values and ethics from the “Good Book” or the Bible. Some may state we have “Judeo-Christian Values” which is another way of stating this same historical truth. Our nation has a critical knowledge and understanding gap in two fundamental areas—the founding principles and documents of our Republic and values and ethics of the Bible. We can cite examples of misapplications in both areas. What George Washington stated is still true: “It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.” Perhaps Washington had these words in mind from the prophet Hosea: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children” (Hosea 4:6, NKJV.)
Some resist the principle that our nation’s morality is tied to the Bible, advocating that morals and ethics are autonomous or free floating similar to the fluctuations of the U. S. dollar on the currency market. The removal of the Bible as the foundation for our nation’s values and ethics and making these arbitrary is not only a haphazard course but a dangerous one. Consider all the factors which can impact the stability of the dollar. As the dollar goes up and down in value, the varying factors also impact our nation’s economy. Likewise, if we allow our values and ethics to change with varying factors, we are in essence turning ourselves over to the whims of those in power at the time. While our ethics may seem comfortable to us now, what will we do when the environment changes? What will be the basis for argument for stronger morality or against wrong when we have surrendered the very foundation on which our standards have rested? Before our nation is given over to a sea of uncertainty and confusion at the hands of multiculturalism, political correctness and ecumenicalism, we should examine afresh what the Bible actually teaches.
Perhaps you respect the Bible as a good book and would like to know more about it, but you are unsure where to begin. Maybe you have questions but are afraid to ask for fear of embarrassment. Then consider attending the Wadsworth Bible Study Group which meets at the Wadsworth Public Library. We are seeking those who respect the Bible, but for whatever reasons, they do not know its structure or layout. Perhaps religious jargon or church history has kept you from a study of the teachings of the Bible. Come join us. Check the Wadsworth Public Library Calendar of Events for details.
David R. Kenney preaches and teaches for the Wadsworth church of Christ at 236 West Good Avenue, Wadsworth, Ohio 44281.
This article originally appeared in the Wadsworth Post, December 24, 2011