December 2, 2013
READ: 2 Chronicles 34:1-33
The king went up to the temple of the LORD with all the people of Judah and Jerusalem . . . There the king read to them the entire Book of the Covenant that had been found in the LORD’s Temple (v.30).
An acquaintance of mine recently went to have his doctor examine a cyst on the top of his wrist. The doctor told the man that it was a “Bible cyst.”
A ganglion cyst, sometimes called a Bible cyst, is a swelling or benign tumour that often surfaces on or around joints and tendons in the hand or foot. In the past, one way to treat a ganglion cyst was to strike it with a blunt object (such as a Bible). The blow burst the cyst so that the body could absorb it.
Sadly, the reason a ganglion cyst is also called a “Bible cyst” is that some people have compared the Bible to a blunt object used (often self-righteously) to club others over the head. In other words, they use Scripture to straighten out those who are out of line. The intent is to make the offenders feel so bad that they straighten up.
I’ve been ‘clubbed’ in the head a few times in my life by Bible thumpers. And I know I’ve wrongly clubbed a few people with the Bible myself over the years.
The Bible was never meant to be used in this way. First and foremost, it’s God’s story—a history of God’s dealings with His creation. It’s a story that explains who created us, why we were created, what went wrong and how our Creator God is fixing the mess.
King Josiah didn’t beat up his people (who were entrenched in idolatry) with the lost “Book of the Law” that had been rediscovered in the temple (2 Chronicles 34:14-15). Instead, he read it to them (vv.29-30). As they heard it, the people felt convicted and they recommitted themselves to the Lord (vv.32-33).
Loving God, forgive us for using the Bible as a club. Teach us to explain lovingly the truth of Your Word. —Jeff Olson
Read 2 Timothy 3:16-17 and see the right uses for God’s Word.
How can you share God’s story in a way that draws others to God rather than making them feel beat up? What will you do this week to deepen your knowledge of Scripture?