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So many of us do it. I mean, really, it's the Christian thing, right? A challenge pops up in our lives and we do what we're supposed to do...run to scripture. Jumping into the Divine Word of God, we hope to find an answer to our quandary by selecting a random verse or chapter in the Bible. If all goes well, we will come away with the guidance that we are seeking, knowing God is speaking directly to us in our situation.
I have done this MANY times.
Sometimes I have been left scratching my head.
Other times, I have come away astonished at how perfectly a verse has spoken to me.
There is beauty in knowing that God is always speaking through His word. However, it is important to be aware that there can be danger in "spinning the wheel."
First of all, why are we going to scripture in the first place? It is because we know we are literally taking in the Words of God - and I do mean the plural form of word. We can't go wrong with His word, because it is never wrong. However, interpretation of it can be.
Scott Hahn speaks famously in a way that makes a great case regarding the danger of interpretation:
A person blindly flips through the Bible and points at a passage.
"Then he went away and hanged himself." Matthew 27:5
The person quickly selects another passage, blindly flipping through and finger pointing to another passage:
"Go now and do the same."
I think the point here is clearly made! :)
If we are coming to scripture to get a good idea of what God is saying to us, it would be much better to approach scripture on a more consistent basis, not just on an "I need it now" basis. Coming to scripture consistently means that I am getting to know God. Just as when I can listen to acquaintances and inaccurately take away the meaning of their words because I don't know them well enough to understand, so as it can be with Bible verses.
In fact, it is even more likely that we will find greater meaning and guidance when those immediate situations occur since we will already know Him well enough to be aware of where to look, understanding each word to an even greater and deeper degree. We might never even have to open the Bible; the perfect verse might appear in our mind's eye, all because we have spent time listening to Him.
As always, it is all about developing that relationship with God. As the relationship grows, it will become easier to hear His voice through His word.
So, am I saying that we need to forego spinning the wheel of Bible Roulette? No.
But I do want to encourage others to NOT be discouraged when we land on verses that recommend that we hang ourselves. God is trying to tell us to keep digging. The more verses we land on, the more time we spend with Him. It really could be that He is purposely confounding our minds to that very end: He wants to work on that relationship with us.
Let's go to scripture every day. Let's get to know Him more and more so that when those challenges that require guidance and direction arise, we are better equipped to hear and understand His voice.
This way, when we land on verses like Job 19:17, "My breath is offensive to my wife; I am loathsome to my own brothers," we won't take it too personally. There is so much more that God is really trying to say!!
Photo attribution: https://www.flickr.com/photos/45378259@N05/6050121954
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