DO NOT SWALLOW EVERY VERSE OF THE BIBLE: Questioning Solomon’s ‘Vanity of Vanities’ Maxim
Sometime ago, I wrote a post entitled, “Christian, It’s Not A Sin To Use Your Mind.” That post arose from my concern with how brethren swallow revelations and what their pastors say without reflection.
God gave us an incredible resource for thought, rumination and analysis – the mind. When we renew our minds as we are admonished in Romans 12:2 and Ephesians 4:23-24, through God’s Word (John 17:7, Colossians 3:10, 2 Corinthians 3:18), we can understand mysteries, sift what we take in, no matter the source, to ensure our edification.
Renewing one’s mind with the Word harmonises it with God’s ways and makes it more open to the Holy Spirit’s influence. Recall that the Holy Spirit is referred to as our Teacher, Interpreter and Counsellor in the Bible (e.g. John 14:26). It is because of His help and guidance that we can say, along with the Bible, that we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).
Now, I’m going to say something that sounds controversial or heretical on its surface but is in fact correct:
You also need to be mentally alert when you read the Bible to do the sifting and analysis mentioned above.
That’s right! Do not swallow every verse of the Bible. Check the context.
This is because the Bible is full of stories with heroes and villains. If you’ve conditioned yourself to swallow everything without contemplation, someone can pick a verse spoken by a villain and misguide you with it.
Besides, some of the heroes in the Bible also act as villains occasionally. Take the case of King David, the man after God’s heart (1 Samuel 13:14). He was also the man who committed adultery, killed the woman’s husband and married her (2 Samuel 11).
Similarly, David praised God a lot. But he was also frequently overwhelmed by trouble and eloquently expressed his discouragement in those moments. Picking from the ton of bleak verses he penned, a believer may yield to melancholy and despair unless he or she sees the full picture, which is that David ultimately surrendered to God’s sovereignty and acknowledged His overall and enduring goodness in each situation.
To aid our understanding of not just individual Bible verses and stories but gain intimacy with God and hear His heart through the Word, we need to commit ourselves to reading the Bible through and doing so, at least, once every year. The post linked in the last sentence gives seven strong reasons for us to embrace this practice.
The poem, “Live in Hope,” is an illustration of the theme of this post – analytical Bible reading.
It is a critique of the life of one of the Bible’s beloved characters, King Solomon (David’s son), and his famous maxim, “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 1:2).
The poem questions the validity of this assertion and sees it as the inevitable outcome of Solomon’s unwise life choices.
That maxim should, therefore, be taken as a warning to the over-indulgent rather than a foundation for people in general to build their world views on.
Read the poem at the link below and be blessed!
Hi! I welcome your reactions to this post and the piem above.
Kindly share other Bible verses that should not be taken without proper interpretation.
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