My current Amazon.com reviewer rank is in the top 800 reviewers out of tens of thousands of reviewers.
This humble position, plus the types of books I normally read/review, lends itself to frequent queries from authors, publishers and agents wanting to send me free books to read and post a review on Amazon.com’s site.
Whenever I opt for “christian” books I tend to look for three key items in these nonfiction pieces of work:
- Filler vs. content. If 90% of the book consists of stories to highlight/prove the author’s points, because the author doesn’t have that much to say, then I tend to not leave a favorable review.
- The author’s theology and doctrine should be sound. Opinion that is counter to solid scripture ruins the author’s credibility in my opinion.
- The author should use one — maybe two — mainstream versions of Scripture when providing validation for his/her points. If the author uses obscure versions of the Bible or even five or more versions in order to find that one specific version that says it just different enough to prove their point, then I again question the credibility of the author’s point being made
That may be all fine and dandy when reviewing a book by an author, but what about what people say to each other when trying to prove a point? This is where my pet peeve of misquoting scripture comes into play (hopefully I uphold my own points by the end of this post)
EXAMPLE: One of the most commonly misquoted scriptures is Philippians 4:13, which says, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (NIV)
I think that if asked, most churchgoers would say they’ve heard this verse before and even used it. Now on the surface this verse is not misquoted. What is misquoted is the context in which it was used, which is equally as offensive.
Most churchgoers have used this verse in the context of a pep talk to encourage to strive for victory and not give up during a time of trial and tribulation.
So what’s the problem?
Maybe I’m being too literal, but this verse when read in the context of the section in which it appears is specifically speaking of God giving us the strength of contentment regardless of our situation.
That mean’s it’s not about victory, it’s not about passing through the trial or rising up and fighting through trials. It’s about our heart and attitude during the trial. It’s about a sense of peace in God’s sovereignty and being happy for whatever situations He has chosen to put us through.
But why do people constantly misuse it and other Holy Scripture?
I’m convinced the answer is an easy one. . .because the majority of folks make more time for TV, work and kid’s sports activities than studying the bible. We all struggle with feeling content (pun intended) with our 15minute devotional or the read the bible in a year plan instead of striving to study the scriptures for ourselves.
I’m currently training 25 new hires within our technical support department. There is a gross disparity between those that read through the material and feel they understand it vs. those that try to break the software apart, look at it from multiple angles then try and put it back together again. The later group has truly studied the material and know it at a deeper level than the first group could ever hope for. The studiers are more equipped to wield the information and help others better than any other who didn’t put in the same level of effort.
The call then is for Bible believers to make the time to break apart the scripture, learn it from multiple angles and put it into context (theme, audience, etc.). I’d go so far as to say that without such due diligence we become slaves to anyone’s misquoted interpretation because we don’t know it for ourselves and thus cannot test if we are being told truth or not.
We should protect our minds.
We should make our faith firm.
We should protect out credibility when we ourselves quote scripture, by putting in the effort to study and embrace the wonderful good news of the Scriptures in all it’s glory, fullness and context.