Article: THERE IS NO GOD – VIEWING THE WORD IN ITS ENTIRETY | Ribi Kenneth

THERE IS NO GOD

VIEWING THE WORD IN ITS ENTIRETY | Ribi Kenneth

The above headline is not a true statement. But ironically, it is a verse quoted right out of the Holy Bible. The ambiguity of this statement is best portrayed by the story of ‘the blind men and the elephant’. On their quest to learn the truth about elephants, three
blind men embarked on a journey and sought the matter out. When they came to the elephant, they groped about it, touching and speculating what they felt. One of the blind men landed next to the limbs of the animal and feeling the limbs, reasoned that the elephant is a pillar, like a tree trunk. The second reached out and stroked the side of the huge animal and described the elephant to be solid and smooth like a wall. The third one happened to get hold of the tail and concluded it to be as a long rope.
Though each one’s conclusion of their subjective encounter was true, it notably fails to represent the elephant as a whole being. The parable distinctly establishes that a confined association is inherently limited, by its failure to account for the totality of the truth. Therefore when we consider the broader verse in Psalm 14:1 (The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”), it represents the fuller and the true picture.
Scripture is not a buffet to indulge in cherry-picking.
It is hence incumbent upon us that we seek and understand the whole word. But growing up in Church, we often stand guilty of banking on a few select verses that we have stocked up over the years and firing it off when a fitting situation presents itself. This itself is not a bad thing, as long as the verse in isolation does not imply a contradiction. A major spur in developing such a practice has to do with the verse divisions adopted in the Bible. The early scripture scroll was meant to be read continuously, and the verse numbering system was introduced into the Bible for easy lookup. And it is dangerous when one verse is divided and used to conclude a view.
Consider Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through him who strengthens me”. This verse is often used as a source of personal motivation to get us from a tough situation to a better ground. But the context of the verse teaches us to be content whether we are hungry or full, having plenty or little, when in confinement or when free. By singling out this verse alone, we miss the real purpose of the passage, where Paul declares that God gives us the power to continue to endure when lacking and be grounded when sufficient.
Consider again the verse in 1 Corinthians 10:13. Isolating the verse assumes it says: God won’t give you more than you can bear, but that is not the sentiment conveyed

So cherry-picking verses exclusively to justify a notion is not what Bible suggests. We need to seek the whole truth – from knowing the verse, understanding the passage, then understanding the chapter and considering the entire book and its purpose to grasp the elephant picture.
The Bible does not contain magic texts, but God in person.
The Bible and its text is only a medium that communicates God’s story. The power of the scripture does not rest on a physical book or in the printed text. The Bible is not holy because it is printed in a holy press, nor because the publication process is operated by holy staff. The word is sacred and divine, because of the person about whom the text pronounces, and the story of the person articulated in the book.
So a particular Bible text is not a magic chant to ward off evil spirits, nor is Bible a object of protection to be placed under our pillow when we are frightened. The word became manifest as Jesus in flesh, and this word stays ever implanted in our hearts and it is forever established in heaven. This word produces life in us (Christ in me) and that is the power we proclaim and manifest. If reading the scriptures only gets us to a point where we memorise individual text and gratify in expositions for knowledge alone. it does not achieve the purpose for which the Holy scripture exists.
Knowing God and giving honour to God, supersedes the honour the Bible can receive as a book. Ponder this – we are terrified to tear out a page from the Bible, but may not be as fearful to disobey God and his word. The latter is the whole purpose and the elephant picture of engaging with the scripture.
Viewing the Word in its entirety and seeking God’s ways
So we should get hold of the scripture in totality, rather than creating out of context assumptions from divided texts. The Bible is God’s message, ’His’-story of what He did for mankind and what He expects from us during our sojourn here on earth. Thus, when we diligently search His word in its entirety and seek God with all our heart, He will draw close to us. He will further make his ways known to us, and ascribe His character in us. This propels us into progressive salvation until we will one day be glorified into his very likeness.
Therefore let us not be verse number people. The word warns us not to reduce or add to the message. and dividing text does just that!. The list of faith warriors in Hebrews 11 never had the written Bible, but they had the word in them. that transformed them into radicals who turned the world upside down. Again, the word reminds us that Jehovah made His ways known to Moses, but only His acts to Israel. And so Moses having known God saw him and talked with God face to face, receiving the written covenant of God and being ushered into God’s presence. Israelites on the other hand perished, receiving only the acts and miracles of God.
Consequently, let us then seek God’s ways in the word and grow in the knowledge of him. Let us in reverence not use divided text to crave out false notions or use it to justify our carnal actions. But let us be wise and not be categorized with the folks mentioned in Psalm 14:1 that announce – “The fool says in his heart, There is no God.”

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