Misusing the Sword

An email recently came across my desk that made me stop and pause. The title read, “A Bible that was manipulated to emphasize themes of submission and subservience.” My interest peaked, I opened the email and was once again reminded of the depravity of mankind.

Bible Open to Psalms
Allow me to quote the first paragraph of this email from the Museum of the Bible.

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28, ESV)

Imagine a Bible that starts with creation but then jumps right to Joseph being sold into slavery and makes a point of how imprisonment benefited him! An edited Bible, where the Exodus story of God rescuing His people from slavery in Egypt is removed, together with every reference to freedom, such as the above passage from Galatians. A Bible that is manipulated to emphasize themes of submission and subservience. Does this sound like the Bible you know?”

Interesting. Yet, surely no one would edit the Bible, right? Haven’t people read the serious warnings God has given to those who tamper with His truth? Like, it is better to be drowned in the depths of the sea than lead a little one astray?
(Matthew 18:6) Or, do not add to His words, or He will rebuke you and prove you a liar? (Proverbs 30:6) Or, that all Scripture, ALL Scripture, is God-breathed? (2 Timothy 3:16)

“In the early 1800s, Rev. Beilby Porteus, bishop of London, instructed a group of missionaries to create such a book.

‘Prepare a short form of public prayers…together with the select portions of Scripture…particularly those which relate to the duties of slaves towards their masters.’

The final product is known today as the Slave Bible. First published in 1807, the book was intended for enslaved Africans in the British West-India Islands. The Slave Bible was edited to instill obedience and preserve the system of slavery within the Caribbean colonies.”

Sobering, isn’t it? Very sad & disheartening too.

To be honest, it breaks my heart to see how God’s Word has been used as a bludgeon to enforce the whims and will of sinful men.

Sadly, this isn’t just an 1800s problem, this is a 21st century problem too.

This world is way too full of people who use the Word of God as a club to beat others down into what they want them to think and believe.

God never, NEVER intended for His Word to be used this way! Nor does He hold guiltless such people who twist His Word. Some of Scripture’s strongest words of condemnation deal with people who pervert the Word of God and teach false doctrine. Terms like “blackest darkness is reserved for them” (2 Peter 2:17) and “you are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.” (Matthew 23:27) are just a few examples of the serious words of condemnation Scripture gives.

God’s Word was written to teach us, not the other way around. If we are approaching the Word of God simply to prove our point, we are coming to it with the wrong heart motive. If we are searching for a verse to prove we are right, we are coming with the wrong heart motive. If we have a preconceived idea that we are seeking to find a verse to agree with us, we are coming with the wrong heart motive.

Allow me to be very clear.
Scripture was not written for you to conform it to your thinking, Scripture was written to conform your thinking to God’s thinking.

Person Reading Open Bible
It doesn’t matter what I think, or what you think, or what your pastor or my pastor think, or what that famed pastor, teacher, or doctor thinks, our opinions are worthless. What matters is what the Word of God says!

There is a reason the bishop of London had to request the Bible be edited for the slaves, because in its entirety and in context, it is clear God has never condoned human beings saying they "own" other human beings. Human slavery is wrong and Scripture is clear on this point when it is taken in context.

Indeed, God’s Word is a sword and many have misused the sword for selfish gain. Paul is very clear about this when he says,
“Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God.” (2 Corinthians 2:17)

Be warned my friends. There are many false teachers out there. That is why we are called as believers to test teaching to see if it truly lines up with God’s Word. (1 John 4:1)

We are to be Bereans, always going back and checking the Scriptures no matter how renowned someone is. Just think about it!
The Bereans went back and checked out what the apostle Paul, the apostle PAUL said! Not even Paul was beyond having his teaching checked by the Word and the same is true of anyone teaching today.

There are many Christians I respect and admire, but I do not simply take their word as gospel truth. I go back to Scripture and validate whether their comments are true or false. I don’t do this perfectly by any means, but it is a quality I desire to see the Lord develop more and more in my life.

Here at BOJF, we take what we do with intense seriousness. When I write a script and direct a film, I am extremely picky on my lines when it comes to Scriptural doctrine. I refuse to allow those lines to be changed, even with little words like “to, it, from, have,” etcetera. For the lines have been written with extreme care and intentionality to be in line with Scriptural truth.
Even with that said, don’t take our films as gospel truth, check them against Scripture.
Be Bereans even with Because of Jesus Films productions.

God’s Word is powerful and the desire of my heart is to see God glorified and His Word proclaimed in truth and righteousness. I desire to see the Sword of the Spirit used properly, not used to wrongly justify slavery or any other sinful plot, desire, scheme or plan of man.

May we be as innocent as doves, but as shrewd as serpents.
(Matthew 10:16)

Be Bereans my friends, for there are many “slave bibles” out there.

Eyes on the King and hearts attentive to the Holy Spirit as we come to the Word, and onward!

To God alone be the glory!

"Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” - James 3:1

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” - Hebrews 4:12-13