Often we struggle with a variety of verses in our Bible reading because they grate against our preconceived ideas about who we believe God to be. That would never happen if our view of God were built exclusively on the composite of God’s self-revelation found in the pages of Scripture. But unfortunately our human tendency is to settle into our own view of God, which is built on some Bible, but also on a fair amount of imagination and conjecture that stems from what we’d “like” God to be.
That “unpleasant” feeling during our Bible study can lead to a serious problem. It often becomes the reason for ignoring, and sometimes even dismissing outright a number of biblical texts because they just “don’t seem to fit” our imaginary image of God. That spells idolatry—an erroneous God-substitute. The truth is that God is who he says he is. Some of the truths he reveals about himself are hard for our fallen hearts to readily embrace, but better we consciously alter our understanding of the true God than subconsciously choose to build a make-believe façade, which is propped up by a set of cherry-picked verses that better “fit” what we are hoping for.
Honest thinking about God requires humility. It requires that we allow God to be God, and that we see ourselves as learners. Of course a careful handing of each biblical text is required. So before we find that we are working to talk ourselves out of what appears to be plain on the page, let us be sure that our goal is an accurate view of the only God that is.
-- Mike Fabarez
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