What do I mean when I say, “Dressing Up Scripture?” It is simple. Dressing up Scripture means changing the wording, interpretation, or leaving out certain parts of Scripture in order to not offend people.
The Bible says that the Word of God is sharper than a two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). I think God when He inspired the author of Hebrews to write those words that he intentionally chose the weapon of the day. The Word pierces. It’s not meant to be gentle, it’s not meant to be soft. It is meant to cut through the blackness and thickness of sin and pierce the soul.
If people are living in darkness they are going to be offended by the Word of God. They won’t like it. It forces them to come out of the shadows and live a new life. It will make them better.
Think of it this way, in surgery your body is offended by the incisions and removals or additions that the surgeon must make, but in the end, it is to the benefit of your body. So what if a sinner is offended by the truth? In the end, it leads them to salvation.
That is not to say we should seek to offend. No. We should always speak the truth in love. But speaking the truth in love does not mean being afraid of offending someone and it does not mean tip-toeing around issues that may be sensitive. We must boldly proclaim the truth while showing the love and light of Jesus Christ.
Recently, I have been challenged with the question of whether or not Sola Scriptura, Scripture Alone, matters. The answer is, of course, YES! Sola Scriptura is a major issue that was really one of the crucial points of the Reformation.
The question is this, do we get truth from Scripture alone or are there other authorities? The Roman Catholic Church, for example, believes the church is the final authority and can overrule Scripture.
The reason this has come into question recently is because I was corresponding via email with the headquarters of a mainline denomination, I am not ready to mention the denomination yet, last week and asked about their position on ordaining women and how they could hold to that practice despite the blatant prohibitions in Scripture. Their answer terrified me.
In short, they said while Scripture is the primary source, it is not the only source and we must go with experience, logic, and reason as well as tradition. I am sorry, but that is not how it works. If we can throw out the writings of Paul, why not the writings of Peter? And if we can throw out the writings of Peter because they don’t agree with what we feel, then why not throw out the words of Christ? Do you see where this leads?
If Scripture is not the final authority you can replace it with whatever you please. In other words, there are no absolutes. Everything is fair game.
The ESV Story of Redemption Bible is a new Study Bible from Crossway and it is the first of it’s kind that I can remember.
The story of redemption is one that is woven throughout Scripture both in the Old and New Testaments. It is with that mindset that the Story of Redemption Bible seeks to portray the biblical text.
When I first received this Bible I did not think I was going to like it. It does not have study notes at the bottom like a tradition Study Bible. Rather, the notes are inline with the text. I thought this would be distracting but I find the notes unobtrusive when actually reading and they provide great insight into the text that you are reading and how it aligns with the story of redemption. With approximately 900 notes it is by no means an exhaustive Study Bible but you would not expect it to be when its main focus is only one topic. That being the case, this would not make sense to be a primary Study Bible for someone, it is specialized.
I received the hardcover version and it is a beautiful cloth over board edition. The dust jacket features beautiful gold inlays as does the cover itself and the presentation pages. The artwork throughout the Bible is stunning offering diagrams and other helpful graphics. In the back of the Bible there is a large fold-out timeline to give you the overall arching themes and events of Scripture. All is very well done.
For me, it is a Bible I will likely be using on a regular basis. I like the fact that, for the most part, I am alone with the Biblical text and there are just a few notes here and there to help me understand something more clearly with regard to redemption. Because of that, this Bible may very well become my go to reader.
I give this Bible four out of five stars.
I was given this Bible for free in exchange for a fair and honest review by the publisher.