04 August 2008

All Things to All People? - OUT OF CONTEXT SCRIPTURE!

I really wish some publisher would produce a good "reading" Bible. What I mean by that, is a Bible with no chapter/verses numbers and divisions, but written in letter form like most originally were. I feel that the verse numbering has given us a history of people taking verses out of context and building whole theological views on these sections. In this little subsection of my blog, I wish to reveal some of the uses of Scripture that I commonly hear that are used just like that...out of context.

For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings. (1 Cor. 1:19-23)
Here is an example that I have heard personally quite often. I started hearing it more back in the days when I spent more time with Christian hard rock musicians. When people would ask why they had long hair, sang such loud music, had so many tattoos, etc. it was common to hear them explain how they were "becoming all things to all men" by taking on the look of those they were trying to reach.

Unfortunately, I think they read right over what is being said. It said I (Paul) have become all (multiple) things to all (multiple) people; it does not say he became one specific thing to reach one specific group. In order for people to use this verse in such a manner, they would need to show how they have made themselves (in presentation and actions) to be multifaceted. A large, tattoo covered, long haired, fully body pieced individual may associate with a crowd of like manner, but how would that person come across if they were to go do work with the elderly, or any group outside of that realm they normally seek to reach?

The moral of the story...don't arrange your lifestyle and physical appearance to focus on one group of people and then defend it with these words of Paul...that is not what Paul was saying. Don't "limit" yourself to how God can use you. Get out of your comfort zone occasionally, and become someone to somebody you normally may not fit in with.

View Other "Out of Context" Verses