Can You Be Better Than the Bible? By Dina Sleiman

I have an odd question today. Can you be better than the Bible? I suppose most Christians would summarily respond “no, of course not.” Yet often people’s lives and theology seem to suggest that they secretly think yes, they can. What is it with Christians trying to sanitize everything and pretty it up and make it nice? The Bible isn’t always nice. In Galatians Paul suggests that the circumcision advocates go all the way and chop off a certain key body part. Wow. And as a popular Facebook meme suggests, when asked, “What would Jesus do?” — throwing over tables is a viable option.

Here’s the thing. The Bible is not always neat and pretty and tied up with a bow. Sometimes daughter-in-laws seduce father-in-laws. Prostitutes make it into the lineage of Jesus. Men who are said to be after God’s own heart also commit adultery and murder. Prophets eat food cooked over human dung. Then there’s the Song of Solomon, a rather suggestive book that I sometimes wonder if Christian parents even allow their kids to read.

I recently saw a Facebook post by a fellow author asking someone to explain to her why Ruth lay down at Boaz’s feet. She said this seemed rather risky and risqué, and of course twenty or so comments tried to explain why it wasn’t. Eventually I couldn’t take it any longer and replied, “I think it was risky and risqué, and I think God might have a message for us in that.”

If the Bible is indeed (as we claim we believe) God’s inspired Word to mankind, then we need to accept all of it, even when it’s messy. And if it is indeed God’s inspired Word, we can’t be “better” than the behavior recommended in it. Of course I’m not talking about the bad behavior of specific individuals, but rather the Bible’s prescribed behavior, particularly in the New Testament. When we try to be better, nicer, more pure, and more sanitized than the Bible itself, what we actually are is out of balance.

For example, while certain aspects of life like drinking alcohol or dancing can in some cases lead to sinful behavior, the Bible never says that either of these are sinful. Still, some denominations within Christianity try to turn them into sins. If someone chooses not to drink alcohol, that can be a wise decision, but if they judge others and treat it like a sin, they’re out of balance. When they contrive elaborate theologies of why the wine Jesus turned the water into wasn’t really wine, they’re out of balance. And when you’re out of balance, another word for that is just plain WRONG!

Paul says it is for freedom we’ve been made free. Satan wants us bound, God wants us to feel free to enjoy life so long as we follow his Spirit and stay within certain general guidelines. Getting drunk is a sin. Drinking wine is allowed if you can do it with self-control. Dancing with an intentional goal of seducing anyone other than your own spouse would seem to fall outside of those prescribed guidelines (although I don’t think it’s anyone’s job to judge the motives of another person’s heart), but dancing as worship is encouraged, and dancing to enjoy life and music and community is fine.

Or let’s take kissing before marriage. The Bible never says it’s wrong, yet some Christians today treat it like a sin, or a lack of purity. The Bible DOES say not to have sex outside of marriage, and yes, excessive and indiscriminate kissing could lead one down a wrong path. But that doesn’t make kissing before marriage a sin.

You can’t just go around making up sins for the sake of expediency! The same goes for dating. The Bible never mentions the system we call courtship or the system we call dating.

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Source: Christian Post