Exegesis in 140 Characters or Less, Part 1

Finally, my second post! I will be more diligent in my postings going forward. I will also be updating the twitter account regularly so follow me and stay up to date. Anyway, on to the task at hand…

One of my professors in college wrote a book called Beyond Bumper Sticker Ethics. If you cannot tell from the title, the book was essentially an encouragement not to base your ethical foundation on catchy phrases but something more substantial. But let’s be honest, bumper stickers, really? At this point that analogy is a bit dated. Bumper stickers are for families that want to represent themselves with stick figures, or for fanatics on either end of the political spectrum to insult the other side. Let’s update our analogy, shall we?

As you have probably guessed I think a better analogy is Twitter. It is essentially the modern equivalent of the bumper sticker; make your point in the predetermined amount of space. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against either Twitter (follow me @fallowgrounds!) or bumper stickers. I think it is very important to be able to communicate things in a concise manner. As long as what we are communicating is coming from a solid broader understanding. Unfortunately that does not always happen.

Too many times when confronted with opposition to their worldview people resort to quick catch phrases to defend their beliefs. Sometimes making not only themselves look ignorant, but also anyone else that shares their worldview. The most irritating manifestation of this for me is when people use isolated quotes from Scripture to justify their ignorance. I hate that when I hear particular verses I cringe inside. I hate that our study of Scripture has been stripped down to using a concordance and a God’s Promises book. I hate that something so important to me is often downgraded by people who are supposed to know better. I hate it when preachers and churches give lip service to being a “Bible believing church” only to use Scripture as a tool to spread more ignorance.

So in light of my personal irritations, I will be spending the next few blog posts addressing some of the more cringe-worthy verses. Here are the verses I will be tackling, they are quoted from the New American Standard Bible…

For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” – Matthew 18:20

“‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold or hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot or cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” – Revelation 3:15-16

Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart.” – Psalms 37:4

“‘For I know the plans that I have for you, ‘declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.‘” – Jeremiah 29:11

But He was pierced through for our transgression, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.” – Isaiah 53:4-5

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” – Hebrews 4:12

… I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some.” – 1 Corinthians 9:22

Please feel free to add to the list by posting in the comment section below!


11 thoughts on “Exegesis in 140 Characters or Less, Part 1”

  1. Good post Jeff, I like the beginning when you talked about bumper stickers, and twitter, it made me laugh!!! And I see how the bible is stripped down by using a concordance, and “God’s Promises book”.Instead of reading the bible, you search for “what does God say about fear” or something else and they give you scriptures about fear. I actually had someone read me out of the promise book and say something like “you have anger”, looked in the promise book, and read me scriptures about anger.And looked through the index of that book and read off everything I am…Lets just say we went through the whole book…:) Anyways good post, and cant wait for more!!!!

  2. Well written Jeff. I enjoyed it! I like to call this type of person the “The Convenient Christian”. The Bible speaks to us all in different ways but I seam to have less and less patients for those that peruse the Bible for scripture that best suits their current lifestyle and choose to ignore those that do not.

    Looking forward to your next post!


  3. This is a timely post. Since your first one, I’ve been asking God to show me the fallow areas in my heart and life, so that we (He and I) can begin to make them fertile. Some are once-fertile areas that I’ve been neglecting, and others are unexplored places I have never actually worked. You were right. It isn’t easy. But a very important part of having a fruitful life is knowing why you believe what you believe. To really have that “solid broader understanding” you talk about. It requires a willingness to study systematically, and fellow believers who are willing to grapple over the difficult questions with us. We need friends who challenge us to dig down and lay our foundation on the Truth. Thanks for the challenge. I’m looking forward to your take on these verses.

    How about Ps. 105:15 Touch not the Lord’s anointed…

  4. One of the most cringe-worthy for me is the 1st Thessalonians “meet him in the air” scripture passage (4:13-18). I did an exegesis paper on it a couple years ago. At once one of the most common and most damaging verses taken out of context.

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