Frontierland: The Bible is Our Historical Foundation
Frontierland. “It is here that we experience the story of our country’s past. … A tribute to the faith, courage, and ingenuity of our hardy pioneers who blazed the trails and made this progress possible.” Frontierland is about knowing our history, our heritage.
As Christians, the main source to know our heritage is the Bible. Sure, there are others—stories about Christians between then and now, hymns and other songs, etc.—and we’ll look at those more in future posts, but if the Bible is overlooked or underused, we risk getting way off track. If we don’t understand and use the Bible properly, we run that same risk, though. Sure, God speaks to us through His written Word, and sometimes He points us right to a verse or story that’s just what we need at that moment. But the longer we read the Bible, the easier it can become to misuse Scripture because we haven’t taken the time to understand what it really says. We—usually unintentionally—read into it what we want it to say.
The classic example of this to me has long been 1 Corinthians 10:13.
“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”
Here’s the way I’ve heard people interpret that verse: God won’t give you more than you can handle.
Now, it does say that He will provide a way out, and there’s a provision there about not being tempted “more than you can bear.” But that interpretation is completely off, and that sentiment isn’t true. In fact, sometimes we are given more than we can handle, so that we learn to stop relying on ourselves and start relying on God. In 2 Corinthians, Paul says,
“We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.”
1 Cor. 10:13 is specifically taking about temptations, not trials, struggles, problems, or suffering. In fact, earlier in the chapter—right before this—Paul is warning his readers about what had happened in the past to the nation of Israel, and telling them that the kinds of temptations they are facing—specifically to give in to idolatry, are not unique to them. It has happened before, and they have the warnings and examples to learn from and be encouraged by.
Now not all passages are that straightforward, it’s true. And there is room for interpretation— responsibly, with the best and most complete information possible. But too often people read a passage, or hear someone else talk about, and latch on to what they want to hear, not what was actually being said. It’s easy to do, but it’s a dangerous and irresponsible way to read the Bible, and it’s not being true to our heritage.
Agree? Disagree? Why?
What verses have you seen or heard used out of context?