Misusing scripture

OK -- sometimes I go on a rant. I've written a new blog article for the "Opening the the Bible" blog at i.ucc. It's called "Misusing scripture."

The Bible is full of verses we can misuse in order to rationalize our actions. Is this week's passage (Ephesians 6:10-20) one of them?

Many have heard the "put on the whole armor of God" passage. Many have decided to go through a daily routine where they "suit themselves up" for the day -- in order to do battle against evil. Others have read this passage and seen it as a call to be prepared to do God's work in the world. And still others have seen it is a preparation for war.

I can't help but experience the images of body armor as preparation for battle. I can't help thinking of the ravages of war and the tragedy of needless death and destruction. Lately when I read this passage I get sad because of the images it brings up in my mind.

I don't think that this week's passage from Ephesians is meant as an endorsement for war. I know that it uses war language to get its point across. But it culminates not with a call to fight -- but a call to pray and to speak boldly.

I've heard my share of people supporting military action and war on the basis of a particular belief. Some have used the Bible. Others have used other ancient texts that are holy to them.
It makes me sad when we take scripture and use it to rationalize killing and injuring others and destroying homes and property.

And this week's passage, even thought it has been misused in the past and will be in the future, is not one that supports war at all. It is a call to be prepared to do God's work and to be bold about it.

What work is there to be prepared for and to be bold about?

Love God . . . and love our neighbor as ourselves.


Peter said...

Misusing scripture, indeed. Perhaps this is another example.

Kirk said...

WHen we use scripture to exclude others, we do the very opposite of showing and living God's love. I think the best thing to do in situations where I feel scripture is being misused is to respond with God's love.