4. Weaponizing the Word
Married couples often fall victim to the temptation of scouring the Word for verses they can use as ammo. Let’s take Ephesians 5:25 as an example. Is it true that husbands are to love their wives? Absolutely. However, it’s not the wife’s job to arm herself with this verse to scold her husband with—even if she’s doing so because he’s failed her for the nth time.
Similarly, if you’re a husband, please don’t taunt your wife about having to submit (Ephesians 5:24). I don’t know of any woman who would gaze at her man with admiration if he attempted this power move. Yes, God’s order of things calls for wives to voluntarily subject themselves to their husbands’ leadership; however, it’s not husbands’ responsibility to enforce it. This one is best left to wives and their God.
5. Disqualifying Verses
You may have never indulged in the previous point, but do you reject verses that are definitely intended for you? For example, someone who struggles with depression might be tempted to dismiss Job 8:21, “He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy,” because it seems too unrealistic. But how will our condition ever improve if we overrule God’s promises for a better life?
Speaking of better things ahead, that’s what tithing is for. God vowed that if we tithe He’ll pour out so much our way, there won’t be enough room to contain it all (Malachi 3:8-12). Yet, when surveyed, only 17% of Americans state that they regularly tithe.
When we disqualify tithing verses by refusing to give God a tenth of our income, we’re also bypassing God’s design for a better future.
6. Dependence on Commentaries
Does Scripture contain hard-to-fathom passages? Well, can preachers get long-winded? (In case there’s any uncertainty, the answer to both is yes. Eager, nod-your-head yeses.) It’s fine to flip open several commentaries to check what theologians might have concluded about Paul’s instruction for women to stay mum in the church (1 Corinthians 14:34), for instance, but let’s not rely on them for the final say. Like anyone else, theologians, too, can misunderstand and misinterpret Scripture.
Our go-to should always be the Holy Spirit—the infallible and most wonderful Teacher of all. Let’s ask Him to reveal what He means whenever we encounter a puzzling passage. After all, He invited us to ask Him to do so, so that He can show us “great and unsearchable things” we didn’t know previously (Jeremiah 33:3).
Photo Credit: Unsplash/Cassidy Rowell