No reflection tonight. Just a thought or two on Scripture. All too often Christians will use Bible verses to attempt to back up a thought or prove a point. This is called a “proof text”. Sometimes two or more individuals will try and out proof text the other. I have been caught up in this before and in the end both sides become frustrated and either walk away without resolving or making a point or they degrade themselves to ad hominem or malicious attacks out of frustration.
The thing we need to remember about proof texts is the co text of that text. I heard someone say a proof text without context is a pretext to your own opinion.
Most people who know me know that I love to cook. I am a self taught self proclaimed barbecue master. I apologise for the lack of humility. In my cooking adventures and culinary science experiments I have over the years devised different recipes for the various meats I cook on my pit. If any one of those ingredients are left out, it can change the taste of the finished product dramatically. The collective ingredients are what either makes that barbecue rub complete. If someone were to ask what in my rub makes it good, I could say it’s the garlic powder. But while that is an essential ingredient, it’s only part of it. There are five other ingredients that go with it. If someone were to ask me what makes a great brisket, I could say it’s the rub. Well that’s not exactly true either. It’s an essential part but there is also things like the type of wood to cook with. The temperature you cook at, and the cook time. All of them working in unison is what makes the finished product delicious.
Similarly, proof texts in the Bible really do nothing to back up your argument or even make your argument. They are only a small part. Yes a verse may say something. But what does the verses before say? What do the verses after say? Do they complement each other or not? How does this conform to the rest of the chapter? What is the theme and context of the chapter? How about the entire book? What about the whole Bible? If the Bible was a cookbook for a single meal, then parts of it would be the recipe for certain dishes, and your so called proof texts are only ingredients to those dishes.
What happens if your recipe stands on only one ingredient? If you remove that ingredient does the dish fail? Can you eat it? What about the meal? If you take the turkey out of the turkey dinner, is it really a turkey dinner?
Thought for the day: Am I including all of the ingredients in my spiritual recipe or am I only relying on one or two?