May 5, 2011

Troubling Verses in Scripture: Restoring Hope

For most of us, it is never a smooth ride when discussing with others those controversial Scripture verses. There are moments when some of the debates over these verses may actually bring joy, laughter, and a belief that there is no reason to argue over certain points of contention. I have found those to be verses like Paul exhorting Timothy that women will be saved through childbearing (1 Timothy 2:15) or Paul's discussion about baptism of the dead (1 Corinthians 15:29).
However, there are other verses that literally make people sick with fear and dysfunction when not properly interpreted. These are verses that remove hope from the hearts of those wishing to be with God. For example, the previously mentioned verse about women being saved through childbearing might bring fear to certain ladies, but I found that it is quickly diminished in light of it's comparison to the whole of Scripture and the remaining unknown meaning as to what Paul was actually communicating. The false gospel of "have a baby go to heaven" has never really caught on. The other verses that do seem to bring fear and hopelessness into the heart of those who fear God have to do with continuing to sin after coming to a knowledge of the truth, falling away and not being able to come back to repentance, predestination and the choosing of some for noble purposes and others for ignoble purposes, and, of course, blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. The literal hours I have spent counseling people on those verses alone greatly outnumber any other topic. I will be spending some time reflecting and writing about these verses in the weeks ahead with the sole purpose of restoring hope for those struggling in the fear of a wrathful God.