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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21 comments

  • Nkan David

    Wooooow. Learnt something captivating today. So many will not know of this, if not guided properly.

  • Jackie Amasike

    The entire Bible was written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and can only by correctly understood and applied by the help of the Holy Spirit. To do otherwise is to operate on the level of the letter which kills.

  • Mboutidem Godwin Samuel

    You are right ma’am.
    When I read Bible stories, I try to learn from the mistakes of the characters, especially King David and his son Solomon.
    Thanks for sharing, mum.

  • Monday Favour Nnanke

    The Bible is full of stories and deeds of men just like you, so when reading know that you are reading the biography of other men, learn from their mistakes.

    • This is a very apt way of putting it. Thank you!

      • Oluwadare John Timilehin

        Heb.4.12 – For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
        What a powerful message! More Grace in abundance.

  • Onah Celestine kenechukwu

    The things in the bible are like the world that God created.

    Both the good and the evil people are allowed by God to live. The same way both the good and bad things are allowed in the bible for the sake of teaching us lessons.

    We are supposed to use our mind when worshipping God. One of my teachers once said that we need sense to know when we don’t need sense to follow God.

  • Kalu Victory

    Wow

    I won’t lie, I misunderstood some stories in the Bible but as I grew older, I realized that renewing one’s mind through scripture and relying on the guidance of the Holy Spirit is crucial for a deeper understanding of God’s word.

  • Anyanwu Geraldine Ngozi

    It is really important for one to study the word of God. And the importance of knowing God for ourselves through the help of the Holy Spirit, that can’t be overemphasised. It is really painful when people listen to half or wrong preaching and accept it wholeheartedly like they are not thinking at all. Even the word of God admonished us to test all spirits.

  • Judith Donatus

    True ma. Sometimes when I read the book of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, I wonder if some things in them this were supposed to be in the Bible. It only takes the help of the Holy Spirit to understand the scriptures. That’s why the Bible says, the letter killeth but the Spirit giveth life (2 Corinthians 3:6).

  • Nmesomachi Igwe

    This is really what a lot of believers need to hear.
    Many times, we tend to pick the part of the bible that pleases us and ignore the contextual message. We have need for the holy spirit to teach us what we need to know and how to understand the word of God. Misunderstanding the bible is very dangerous.
    Thank you for this piece ma’am.

  • Anayo chinonyelum Cynthia

    New knowledge ,thank you ma.

  • Ejiofor Valerian Obiageli

    Thank you ma for sharing. There are some words in the Bible that go beyond their literal meaning. I pray the holy Spirit break down these words to the simplest ways that we might understand and also put into practice.

  • This is the first time someone advising to always reflect on the scripture.
    Most time I got in argument with my colleagues because I always told them that not everything we are told in the church we believe without a period thought.
    Wisdom calls for thinking, in which why wisdom still remains one of the strongest mystery of the kingdom.
    “The Bible said, in proverbs 4:7, Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. All this calls for cogitation and rumination. Thanks ma’am.

  • Nmesomachi Igwe

    This is really what a lot of believers need to hear. Many times we tend to pick the part of the bible that pleases us and ignore the contextual message. We have need for the Holy Spirit to teach us what we need to know and how to understand the word of God. Misunderstanding the bible is very dangerous.
    Thank you for this piece ma’am.

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