Every now and then I find myself wishing there were more verses in the Bible. Often I wish some existing ones were slightly adjusted. Now, I know that I probably shouldn’t admit to something like that, I should be satisfied with the Bible as it is, but if God had just had a few more things to say, took a little time to clarify some issues, and to settle some debates, that’d be so much easier.
Here are a few that, were I present when God was planning the Bible, I would have suggested:
Being gay is okay. – Easitudes 4:19
Personally, I’d be so happy if the Bible just came out (see what I did there?) and made a definitive positive statement about homosexuality. There is so much debate going on in the Christian church (the rest of the world seems to have mostly finished the debate a while ago) and the people who get heard the most seem to be the ones who are most unloving and intolerant towards homosexuality. Then there are the people who seem to have given up wrestling with what the Bible says about homosexuality altogether. They respond “The Bible says it’s wrong, but culture and progress tells me differently, so I’ll go with culture and progress”. This seems like the easy way out to me.
I’m trying to work out how to be loving and tolerant and kind, and uncompromisingly biblical in my Christian sexual ethics. It’s hard and it feels like you can’t win. If only God just made things a bit easier and set the record straight (or not) and we could go and debate something that doesn’t cause so much pain, like whether Gilmore Girls should have ended the way it did.
A hot potato dish must be offered as a substitute for communion bread – 1 Corinthians 11:35
I love potato, but there are no potatoes in the Bible! Since being diagnosed an official glutard I very rarely get to eat communion bread for fear that I’ll be moved more in my bowels than in my spirit. If this verse was in the Bible it would solve two problems: communion for the glutards, and divinely mandated potato dishes! This could be the perfect nonexistent Bible verse.
Sex outside of marriage is fine if you really, really like each other. – Procrastinations 12:32
There have been a lot of frustrated Christian couples over the millennia to have had to wait a long time to have sexy times with each other. There have also been plenty of Christian couples who haven’t waited and then have felt super guilty as a result. The sex lives of many unmarried Christians would certainly perk up if this verse was in the Bible. There is probably even space for friends with benefits in here too! How could this go wrong?
I do permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man – 1 Timothy 2:12 (adjusted)
Many people have used 1 Timothy 2:12 to silence and dishonour women. How much easier would church be if there had never been a question about what roles a woman could play in the first place?
You can serve both God and money. – Matthew 6:24 (adjusted)
I love God. But money is great too! I would love to have more money. And if I could commit myself to getting more, and more, and more, and have no worries about my commitment to God, that’d be great. If there was no clash between desiring a shiny new Audi and greater intimacy with God, or if there was no danger to my soul as I schemed, planned and executed new ways to get rich, that would be the best! What if I could have two gods instead of just one? That seems great to me!
You don’t have to forgive people if they’re actually the worst. – 2 Tominthians 10:6
Except when you get to take the moral high ground, forgiving people isn’t much fun. Most of the time holding a grudge would be much more fun than letting go of your need to get even. And exacting punishment on your enemies is so satisfying. What if God did the forgiving and we did the avenging? Yeah, that sounds good.
As you may have picked up I really just want the Bible to cater to me. I want it to make my life easier.
Before you get worried that I’m abandoning my adherence to the Bible, let me make it clear, that if I weren’t keen to obey the Bible, I wouldn’t want to add verses to the Bible, I’d just ignore it and get on with not forgiving people and replacing communion wafers with potato bake.
I know there are excellent reasons why the Bible says what is says. I know I can trust God that the Bible is how it is because that’s exactly how he wants it. I’m just acknowledging that there is a big part of me that wishes obeying the Bible wouldn’t make my life uncomfortable.
Tim Keller often says something about how if your God just agrees with you on everything then he’s not really God. He’s a god you made up to serve you, rather than the God who made you who you get to serve. I can’t find the quote (I didn’t look very hard) however on his Facebook the other day he did say “To stay away from Christianity because part of the Bible is offensive assumes if there is a God he wouldn’t have any views that upset you.” This pretty much sums up how I feel about the Bible. If it was entirely comfortable for me, it would be a worry. If I can find a way to read it so I agree with everything it says, then perhaps I have twisted it in a way it was never meant to be twisted. The Bible should, if it is actually God’s word, have points of discomfort and contention for every culture. And if it is actually God’s word it should cause me discomfort too, as it highlights the places where I want to follow my own inclinations and desires rather than God’s commands.
The challenge when reading the Bible is not to figure out how to make it agree with you, but to figure out what it’s actually saying, and then, if you believe it is the word of God, to align yourself with it. If it isn’t the word of God, then do whatever you want, because who cares what some old book written by dead people has to say?
So don’t worry. I’m not going to add any verses to the Bible, but I will work tirelessly for more potato in church – you can be sure of that.