My Problem With the Bible


My Problem With the Bible
Brian Zahnd

I have a problem with the Bible. Here’s my problem…

I’m an ancient Egyptian. I’m a comfortable Babylonian. I’m a Roman in his villa.

That’s my problem. See, I’m trying to read the Bible for all it’s worth, but I’m not a Hebrew slave suffering in Egypt. I’m not a conquered Judean deported to Babylon. I’m not a first century Jew living under Roman occupation.

I’m a citizen of a superpower. I was born among the conquerors. I live in the empire. But I want to read the Bible and think it’s talking to me. This is a problem.

One of the most remarkable things about the Bible is that in it we find the narrative told from the perspective of the poor, the oppressed, the enslaved, the conquered, the occupied, the defeated. This is what makes it prophetic. We know that history is written by the winners. This is true — except in the case of the Bible it’s the opposite! This is the subversive genius of the Hebrew prophets. They wrote from a bottom-up perspective.

Imagine a history of colonial America written by Cherokee Indians and African slaves. That would be a different way of telling the story! And that’s what the Bible does. It’s the story of Egypt told by the slaves. The story of Babylon told by the exiles. The story of Rome told by the occupied. What about those brief moments when Israel appeared to be on top? In those cases the prophets told Israel’s story from the perspective of the peasant poor as a critique of the royal elite. Like when Amos denounced the wives of the Israelite aristocracy as “the fat cows of Bashan.”

Every story is told from a vantage point; it has a bias. The bias of the Bible is from the vantage point of the underclass. But what happens if we lose sight of the prophetically subversive vantage point of the Bible? What happens if those on top read themselves into the story, not as imperial Egyptians, Babylonians, and Romans, but as the Israelites? That’s when you get the bizarre phenomenon of the elite and entitled using the Bible to endorse their dominance as God’s will. This is Roman Christianity after Constantine. This is Christendom on crusade. This is colonists seeing America as their promised land and the native inhabitants as Canaanites to be conquered. This is the whole history of European colonialism. This is Jim Crow. This is the American prosperity gospel. This is the domestication of Scripture. This is making the Bible dance a jig for our own amusement.

As Jesus preached the arrival of the kingdom of God he would frequently emphasize the revolutionary character of God’s reign by saying things like, “the last will be first and the first last.” How does Jesus’ first-last aphorism strike you? I don’t know about you, but it makes this modern day Roman a bit nervous.

Imagine this: A powerful charismatic figure arrives on the world scene and amasses a great following by announcing the arrival of a new arrangement of the world where those at the bottom are to be promoted and those on top are to have their lifestyle “restructured.” How do people receive this? I can imagine the Bangladeshis saying, “When do we start?!” and the Americans saying, “Hold on now, let’s not get carried away!”

Now think about Jesus announcing the arrival of God’s kingdom with the proclamation of his counterintuitive Beatitudes. When Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth,” how was that received? Well, it depends on who is hearing it. The poor Galilean peasant would hear it as good news (gospel), while the Roman in his villa would hear it with deep suspicion. (I know it’s an anachronism, but I can imagine Claudius saying something like, “sounds like socialism to me!”)

And that’s the challenge I face in reading the Bible. I’m not the Galilean peasant. Who am I kidding! I’m the Roman in his villa and I need to be honest about it. I too can hear the gospel of the kingdom as good news (because it is!), but first I need to admit its radical nature and not try to tame it to endorse my inherited entitlement.

I am a (relatively) wealthy white American male. Which is fine, but it means I have to work hard at reading the Bible right. I have to see myself basically as aligned with Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, and Caesar. In that case, what does the Bible ask of me? Voluntary poverty? Not necessarily. But certainly the Bible calls me to deep humility — a humility demonstrated in hospitality and generosity. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with being a relatively well-off white American male, but I better be humble, hospitable, and generous!

If I read the Bible with the appropriate perspective and humility I don’t use the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus as a proof-text to condemn others to hell. I use it as a reminder that I’m a rich man and Lazarus lies at my door. I don’t use the conquest narratives of Joshua to justify Manifest Destiny. Instead I see myself as a Rahab who needs to welcome newcomers. I don’t fancy myself as Elijah calling down fire from heaven. I’m more like Nebuchadnezzar who needs to humble himself lest I go insane.

I have a problem with the Bible, but all is not lost. I just need to read it standing on my head. I need to change my perspective. If I can accept that the Bible is trying to lift up those who are unlike me, then perhaps I can read the Bible right.


(The artwork is by Marc Chagall)

Here’s the sermon version.

  • Now this article gives a fresh meaning to my favorite passage, “A broken and contrite spirit, He will not despise.” Perspective matters! Thank you for this article.

  • Jim E Montgomery

    We are clearly in another cultural world, in another time, and with a different people… the world of the New Testament… is not a world that we can readily or instinctively comprehend… it is a world that, were we to be transported to it, would puzzle us and send jus intro a profound culture shock. -David A Fiensy

  • Mrozowski

    Be careful not to over intelectualize too. Remember this
    Hear o Isreal the Lord our GOD, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your GOD with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: you shall love your neighbor as yourself.
    Bickering over semantics misses the basics.

  • Piet Strydom

    Absolutely love this!!

  • Embarae

    The natural thinking will never understand the spirit of understanding.

  • Julie Dickey

    What the Bible actually says is that SOME who are first will be last and SOME who are last will be first. My interpretation of those verses is that our status in society on earth has nothing to do with our status in the society of heaven. It is in our own best interest to treat everyone above or below us as we would want to be treated if we were in their position because you don’t know who will be your boss in heaven.

  • Ellen Ludwig Holt

    In my own understanding and strength I too have many, a wide variety of problems, with the Bible, but when I allow Holy Spirit to speak to me as I read the Bible, His word becomes alive (Hebrews 4:12) and the truth will revealed to me in my weakness. Social change will only truly occur as those who are identified with Jesus allow Him to change them from ths inside first so that they can be led by Him to bring His love and works to the “poor” of the world.

    Being meek has nothing to do with social status or being a poor Galilean peasant or a rich Roman, but it has everything to do with being humble enough to allow the Lord to lead. I cannot make myself meek, only the work of the Holy Spirit
    can do this as I allow the Word to work out the pride in my life.

    That is why the first beatitide is, Blessed are the poor in spirit. When I recognize my poverty of spirit, that I can do nothing apart from Him (John 15), then I will repent; which will allow Him to do His work in my life, causing me to be meek.

  • The beekeeper

    We certainly love to discuss/debate. An antidote for how to read the story of God’s activity may be to stop reading it for a time and evaluate what The Lord is doing among us. Everyone of us, I suspect, needs to reevaluate our hermeneutical approach from time to time. Stop reading the Bible. Let it read you. The message we hear God speak from his story is “love my world.” It’s hard to do that when our interpretive approach keeps us in constant debate over insignificant issues at the peril of fulfilling the gospel mandates. I don’t have a problem with the Bible because it’s a phenomenal story of God’s love and care for his world. You and I are a continuation of that narrative. Get to living it.

  • Michele L.

    Yes, yes…we are rich by many world standards but we suffer such a penury of spirit that I have no issue with understanding the poverty that Jesus spoke of at all.
    Michele L.

  • Dave Johnson

    This is encouraging. I see us justifying ourselves all the time. I see it in myself readily. The gospel Jesus preached was, “Repent the kingdom of God is at hand.” To the sinner he said, I am life com follow me and go and sin no more. To the religious he said you must be born again, start from scratch come follow me like a babyfollows its parents. To the rich, honest or corrupt, he said sell everything you have give to the poor and come follow me. I see all of these in me and I am seeking to follow him, as a rich American I must go through the eye of the needle, but all things are possible in him. For nine years I have taught disadvantaged children. I have seen them hold on to the disadvantages as the thing that define them and for many it sends them into the same hell their parents raised them in. So isn’t the call for all humans to turn from what they think defines or completes them to a relationship of peace with God through Jesus?

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  • CalebBoone

    Dear Reverend Zahnd:

    These are good points.

    I believe they should be second nature to anyone filled with The Holy Spirit and The Love of Jesus.

    Sincerely yours,
    Caleb Boone.

  • This may be the best thing I’ve read in a long, long time…

  • Laura Latora

    One of the best things I have read in a long time. So good.

  • Ed

    God is no respecter of persons. He says he writes his laws on our heart. I ask this question of any pastor that claims we must perform in any way to attain salvation ; how does the paraplegic in a third world country with no way of reading the bible get saved and sanctified? Put the message of this blog in that scenario and answer.

  • Tim Hartman

    I kind of disagree with that. Because we can also “over-socialize” the Bible. The Gospel is about changing lives. It is about presenting, to all people, eternity through forgiveness. We could spend our whole lives trying to drag people out of their ‘social’ circumstances, but without the spiritual gift of grace through Jesus’ sacrifice, that ‘dragging out’ would have no meaning.

  • Tim Hartman

    Well said, Peter.

  • Tim Hartman


  • Barbara Mack Blackburn

    Oh thank you for such great insight. Thank you. It is so refreshing.

  • Martin Rey

    The smart, the rich, the powerful are at greater risk of being haughty. Though you have relatively good position, God is the king of kings and Lord of Lords. He created from not a thing, all things. Pretty heady stuff. If you can humble yourself before God and others, be as a servant, for truly we serve others, you are on a good path.

  • breed7

    The fact that you think you’re the enslaved, the oppressed, the exiled, only shows that you are unimaginably unintelligent and foolish. You don’t even begin to understand ACTUAL struggles, because your own very small mind is so wrapped up in itself that you think your “problems” are as significant as those who have real oppression and enslavement.

    Try living in a Ugandan prison camp for a couple of years, then come back and tell me how your “enslavement” to sin is just the same. You are a self-centered, worthless human being. How’s that for some oppression?

  • Dow Ford

    I broke my “Never Read the Comments Rule.” Comments are like dripping peanut butter and jelly out of your sandwich onto the Chagal painting.

  • Bishop Dave

    We know what a spiritual body looks like. When Jesus rose from the dead He had a resurrected/spiritual body, visible, tangible, existing in time and space and able to ingest fish. What was unnatural was His ability to walk thru a wall, to “levitate” in Ascension etc. Our own “spiritual bodies” will be the same as our Resurrected Lord’s – visible, tangible etc.

  • Fayafaya

    What a mischaracterization and oversimplification of Word of Faith! Its controlling narrative is not upward mobility, unless by that you mean movement towards God. Its controlling narrative is that “Let God’s Word be true and everything else that contradicts it a lie.”
    Pentecostalism is a “religion” for all who believe in the outpouring of the Spirit – rich and poor. The “us” vs “them” approach is divisive and very unchristian. It has no place in the Kingdom where we are all one

  • Fayafaya

    “Others are attracted to a more serious and substantive Christianity.” So those in Word of Faith have a less serious and substantive Christianity? Jesus help us!

  • Merritt E. Spencer

    I don’t think you and I have a clue as to what a spiritual body looks like. We know what a natural body looks like. And if Paul is correct we know that is not what our spiritual body will look like. Also you are assuming Jesus’ body did not change after resurrection. His telling Mary to not touch Him because He had not yet been glorified indicates you are incorrect in that assumption.

  • jsmunroe

    Brilliant! I used to be a Republican. It was a bit of a meme complex. I always felt that there was a schism between my politics and my faith. This nails it. I am not a Republican anymore. I just don’t think it is compatible with my faith. (I’m not a Democrat or Liberal either for the very same reason, though).

  • Mario M Davila

    You might want to look at it from David’s perspective then. He is the most spoken of character of in the bible. He was wealthy and a man of high social status. Yet what he was known for being a man after God’s own heart. Someone who saw the law as sweeter than honey(psalm 19)! Or maybe you can relate to King Solomon. He was filthy rich and so wise that other leader would go to him with expensive gifts and admire his wisdom and speech. Yet in the book of Ecclesiastes he said all was vanity, meaningless! It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, a king or a servant, the message is the same. Everything we do apart from God will at not bear any real fruit. If your identity is in Jesus Christ(child of God, servant, ambassador of Heaven, minister of reconciliation, etc) then you get to enjoy and share in the same privileges as the “poorest low class civilians”; fulfilling the Great Commission(winning souls and disciplining others), abiding in Christ, and seeking His face, anointing, will, leading, etc. You might want to ask yourself very important questions. Who am I? Where do I get my identity? Is this the way God sees me? And last, if I loose my power and wealth does my identity change? It shouldn’t. But this requires revelation.

  • Mario M Davila

    You problem would not be so much with “a new creation” as it would be we God Himself who painted such a picture. Most Christians who study the bible believe the slavery the Israelite endured is a picture of the slavery man kind lives in in regards to sin. The story of Moses leading them to the promise land is a foreshadow of Jesus setting us free from sin and making a way for us to get to heaven. Therefor “a new creation” is not as awful of a person as one would suppose, just simply interpreting scripture and speaking what some would say is “Christianese”.

  • Wesley Parish

    Consider Naaman … and humble yourself to bathe in the waters you consider muddy.

  • portquin

    No other book has ever spoken to people throughout history. I feel sorry for you that it doesn’t speak to you, but I think the problem is, that you have to be able to hear God with or without the Bible. God speaks to our hearts if we let him. Once you have taken God into your heart and committed your life to Him, then He will speak to you.

  • k

    have this thinking sometimes too. Then I put it in my time of parable as a steward of a king over everything, in the grumps of want-a-be s. taking that plural s to a steward of all the lottery winnings. Everyone puts in there two cents. be wisdom of the witness accounts. remember some rich unknown, gave the last to die for everyone plural sins, a grave a place to show the call of being buried J.C. he was the ace in the winning hand of God and the rich guy gift was returned. like a lender parking space. Dumb right so is the fact that all has been witnessed, said, and done, to show the goodness of this populated world along with the bad. If you believe in the first two commandments, I am the lord your god. Keep the Sabbath holy (your birthday into belief in kind clean living of good mind, of a child of the all kind loving father recorded in your peaceful being) The world will open up a good stand and path that is witnessed relied on and also complained about with a right to a shared world of lower brain rhythms of surviving, not knowing why, but just doing, challenging different unknowns sights and smells. So now you can read some of the spin to a universal booking of time recorded.

  • Troy from KC

    The exact opposite is true of the Old Testament. It’s the story of sheiks, kings, and politically powerful priests, and the poor people in it, or the women, are important because of their proximity to the rich powerful men. Don’t need to stand on your head to read the Old Testament! Just need to not mind that it is mostly the stories of the rich and powerful and be able to see Christ in it.

    Not so with Jesus and his crew. I like Jesus! The New Testament’s focus is a true mix of social and economic classes.

  • Richard Fitzgerald

    Actually, the gospel is social commentary. The prophets continually pointed to the way the poor were treated as an example of the depth of Israel’s sin. Jesus’ preaching continually challenged to those who are in positions of power and wealth. Sin is a conscious breaking of God’s laws. We break God’s laws in the social realm. Human trafficking. Pornography. Oppression. Persecution. Gossip. Adultery. These all take place in the social realm around us. If the gospel is truly good news, then it must up-end the social structure of the world. There is no gospel other than a social Gospel. There is no holiness without social holiness.

  • Sleeping Realities

    That’s the sound of the article’s point flying right over your head. 😉

  • Julie Zine Coleman

    Sin is the great leveler. Rich or poor, powerful or humble, we all begin on the same playing field when it comes to God: in need of his grace.

  • Judith MacKay Dahlen

    This is concise and brilliant. Thank you.

  • Judith MacKay Dahlen

    Where’s the like button so I can get post on a regular basis?

  • JenellYB

    Mark 12:26, 27. I think Jesus pretty effectively shot down a future physical resurrection right here.

  • Claudia

    That can be said in the reverse and be just as poignantly true. “Without following, there can be no concrete acts…(by faith).” It is not an either/or, but a both/and. We have a propensity to create false dichotomies to secure our positions of theology, when in reality, many times we are creating idols of worship within our doctrines. It’s proper and just to see the bigger picture, of which Brian’s post seems to be pointing to some very legitimate keys into unlocking that door we’ve so often slammed shut.

  • Amazingly simple article yet profoundly enlightening and thought provoking. Well done, and thanks.

  • Yamin Tedja

    Your problem with the bible is unique to yourself. I do not have the problem as you do with the bible. In fact, I do not have any problem with the bible at all.

  • Joe

    Why not read king David’s books, or king Solomon’s? They were both very rich and Godly and wrote about it. Job was very wealthy and lost and then gained. He too was a Godly man. Why would you have to see yourself aligned with the bad guys? Abraham was very, very wealthy as well and was a great mam of God full of faith.

  • JenellYB

    DatyllBryant, I don’t know how it could be missed that in the cries of the prophets warning the Hebrews/Israelites of God’s displeasure with them, the ‘sins’ called out were almost ALL “social injustices.”

  • JenellYB

    Exactly, Richard. Given the overarching command to love one another, to love brother/neighbor as one’s self, any and all acts of hurt and harm toward others, those you list and others you don’t, are to break God’s law, at the highest level. As Jesus pointed out, love God, love neighbor, others, is what all other laws derive from. Consider all the rest of the 10 commandments, beyond this basic command, are examples of things that cause others hurt and harm, and ultimately, breakdown of relationship and community among people.

  • JenellYB

    Johnson, The love Jesus calls us to, Godly love, is an obedient love, calls for right action even when we don’t feel like it. Consider that lesson in the story of Jonah, who did not want to warn the Ninevites, or see them change their ways and be saved, God expected him to do as he had been told, whether he liked it and wanted to or not.

    Both scripture and modern psychology recognize the truth of “being leads to action, and action leads to being.” We understand that if depressed and sad, to make ourselves get up and go out and become engaged and act happy, it can actually help lift our depression and result in our being more happy. One may begin giving and hosting for selfish reasons, to ‘rid yourself of privileged guilt’ or whatever, but in and through the process of action, doing what is right whether you feel the love or not, can and often does lead to changing being.

  • JenellYB

    Ed, I’d respond to that with a reading of Romans, particularly, Ch 2.

  • Heidi Smith

    Sometimes those of us who are privileged forget that we are enslaved by other things. Jesus talked about that time and time again–the rich young man enslaved by his possessions, Nicodemus enslaved by his sense of power as a Pharisee, etc. There is a subversive message in there that we are all slaves, even when we think we are not. And when we think we are not, that is when we get caught up in our own importance and fall flat on our faces…

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  • Alex Taylor

    Thank you for so plainly admitting that you are NOT a Christian. You USE Christianity to advance your political polemic, comfortably excusing yourself: “Voluntary poverty? Not necessarily,” which means “Not necessarily FOR ME.” Your “church” looks pretty well-off there, “pastor.” No locusts and honey for you, I take it. There have been other groups that modify religion to push their garbage social agenda onto the masses: the KKK and Christian Identity Movement come to mind. You’re no different. People like you are of course at the top of the garbage heap in the end, happy to rule the smelling heap of disaster you’ve left beneath you.

    The Bible is entirely spiritual, NOT political. At least those evil “fundamentalists” teach that much. And guys like me MUCH prefer dweebs in short-sleeves and ties who want only freedom to worship, instead of jerk hypocrites like you that claim you have the path to utopia – if we only follow your lead (and are sure to pay for the privilege along the way.)

    To any & all of you who follow this con-man: you’re all SAPS. Every… single…. one of you.

  • Alex Taylor


  • Alex Taylor

    Sap, too.

  • Alex Taylor

    Well stated. This Brian guy wants to convince everybody Jesus was a hippie, and Brian will lead us all to utopia if we follow his way. The only way a goon like Brian could convince me he was the real deal would be to take an abject vow of poverty, supporting his basic daily needs by his own hands. Instead his basic theory is “Give, give, give!!!! (And I’ll just take a small percentage for helping you see the light. You’re welcome.)”

  • Alex Taylor

    Ergo, you don’t believe that if everyone around you is doing the wrong the thing, an individual can still do the right thing and be justified. So your salvation depends on group dynamics? Good luck with that.

  • Ender Wiggin

    Let me get this straight, the author says “If I can accept that the Bible is trying to lift up those who are unlike me, then perhaps I can read the Bible right.”
    Now then, perhaps you should reevaluate your motives and understanding of the Bible. The principles taught in the Bible are universal, not restricted to those that earn below a certain threshold. The Bible teaches people to prioritize God first no matter their circumstance. The poor may have less distractions, however they don’t need the Bible any more than rich people do. To believe in a Supreme Being, and to accept the Bible as scripture (instead of historical fiction) is to admit that regardless of station or wealth or accomplishment in the overall picture no individual is more valuable than another under God. Hence, outside of accomplishment and circumstance we all need what God has to teach us.

  • Jam

    Amen! Thank you!

  • Lynette Grainger

    Abraham rich and his descendants were rich. Solomon the richest. The love of money is evil, greed, not compassionate, not looking at others in need, it is wrong attitude not the money that can hinder you. Many in the bible were prosperous like boas in the book of ruth. Not all were slaves and they left egypt with riches for the promised land.

  • Jackie

    Solomon and Da vid were two very rich and powerful Kings and Leader !
    Boaz was a rich farmer. Joseph those sold by his brothers, became next to the Pharoh in ruling and saving the nations from starvation.
    yes You are right about changes in you perspective.
    I like to Read the bible as if I am sitting with God in the Heavenlies Seeing the old testament as prophetic and viewing the new as the fulfillment of the prophesies.
    It is the Greatest work of. Writing , not only because it spans thousands of years but because it
    Contains beautiful poetry, prose and above all inspires us to ponder, question, search our souls and. Wonder just HOW great the author is!
    Thanks for your honest informative post.
    , Jacqueline from Canada

  • Dale Adamson

    To have a problem with bible is to have a problem with Jesus – In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was God.- vs 14, and the word became flesh.

    To know the bible is to know its all about mans absolute corruption (as Paul said in Romans “no one is good, no not one” and God’s grace through Jesus Christ.

    The bible is God breathed (2 Timothy 3:16). However, I would not expect a person who is not born of God, being filled with the Holy Spirit, to accept the bible as absolute truth.

    Sad really to think a Pastor would have a problem with God’s word – the Bible.

  • ที่บ้านฉันมีเด็กชอบวาดรูปคล้ายๆ กับตัวอย่าง เป็นภาพสีน้ำ ที่ระบายออกมาจากอารมณ์ของเด็กๆ เอง จากจินตนาการของพวกเขา สะอาดใส บริสุทธิ์ มีเด็กอายุ 3-7 ขวบ ที่วาดรูปในลักษณะแบบนี้

    และนอกจากที่เด็กๆ เหล่านี้่ชอบวาดรูปแล้วพวกเข้ายังชอบเล่นรถไฟโทมัส ชอบให้ฉันซื้อรถไฟโทมัสจากเว็บไซต์ เพราะราคามันถูกดี และพอซื้อมาแล้ว ก็จับเอาเจ้ารถไฟโทมัสมาระบายสีอีก เพราะเด็กๆ ที่บ้านของฉันชอบระบายสี ศิลปะกันมาก หวังว่าโตขึ้นจะเป็นศิลปินเหมือนกับ Marc Chagall บ้างนะ

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  • Well said! Shared!

  • Kevin Thomas

    Ouch…You mean that? You truly can determine one’s status as a Follower of Jesus without knowing them? I’m not sure it’s okay to make that judgement even when we do know someone….. Wow…

  • Dave Hogan

    The article seems to focus entirely on relationships at a horizontal level. But isn’t the the Bible the story of God’s plan to bring a fallen race back into a relationship with Him regardless of social status? The supremacy of the Gospel and our need to accept it regardless of our position in the world is the central New Testament message. In that context the Beatitudes show us how we ought to live but further underscore the gap between God and man and why all need to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.

  • Alb

    I really like this guy’s application, i.e., what he gets from his thesis: humility, generosity, recognizing privilege is a responsibility, and an eye toward self examination instead of seeing Scripture as a tool to exonerate self and blame others. I think what he gets to, eventually, is excellent and convicting: very true description of who are among those that the Bible warns and rebukes (among others); helpful observation about audience and purpose. But regarding how he gets there… I think it’s important to caution against the reductionist element in his hypothesis. Though I don’t think he says this explicitly – the apparent focus on class and socioeconomic demographic as the key hermeneutic through which the door of Biblical interpretation pivots seems present and I think that idea is untrue and ultimately very unhelpful. First – as to what kind of people wrote the Bible – the Bible was written by the poor and the rich, and it was written to the poor and the rich and everyone in between. Abraham was very wealthy and had his own militia, Moses was raised a member of the royal household in the greatest empire of his day. David wrote as a poor shepherd and as a rich-through-the-gills monarch, Paul was a former elitist pharisee, a Roman citizen with a world class education, Luke was a physician, Matthew a well stocked tax-collector, Jesus kept a family business going before he got dunked in the Jordan river. As to who the Bible was written to – it as likewise written to the poor and oppressed who needed transcendent truth to help them hope in Christ instead of hopelessness, bitterness, and self-sufficiency; and it was written to the wealthy elitist who needed transcendent truth to help them hope in Christ instead of the security and greed of this world. It is literally written by rich-beyond-beliefs Kings and humble poor farmers. And it was written directly to comfortable citizenry who were forgetting God to warn them, and to a displaced nation humbled and imprisoned in Babylon to teach them to repentance toward God and hope. Concerning wealth – It was written – in places – to teach the simple how to build wealth responsibly, to tell the rich to use it responsibly, and to soberly warn everyone not put their hope in wealth idolatrously. (Something the rich and poor alike can do – e.g., see all of Proverbs). Yes, the health and wealth prosperity Gospel is soul killing perverted heresy, but Christians also need to be on guard against a simplistic class-oriented social Gospel that reduces Jesus to merely an earthly socio-economic and political example, abandons the truly universal need for His atoning work and the reality that “all have fallen short of the glory of God”, not just the rich white male. A thought that came to mind as I considered this essay: wealth may keep one from Heaven, but neither will poverty merit it, and that is the crux of what I think is missing here. It is true that many professing Christians ignore (myself included too much) the huge Bible-wide theme of compassion for poor, the immigrant, the prisoner, sick, the cultural/social pariah, and the fact that the most detailed conversation presented in the Scriptures between mankind and Jesus at the judgement has to do to with how we treated his people who were poor, sick, and imprisoned – not whether we went to church, gave to the building campaign, or said our prayers. The world of John’s apocalypse is stinking with luxuries. And so I love and and applaud and am served by his conclusion toward generosity and humility and the rebuke of greed. But it seems to me that a hermeneutic like his – if not qualified – ignores the fact that of all the hundreds of thousands of poor suffering Hebrew slaves who left wealthy oppressive Egypt, none entered the promised land, but fell dead in the desert under God’s justice (see Ex 33; Psalm 95; 1 Cor 10, Heb 3-4) . And it was not their wealth that disqualified them, but their willful unbelief in the face of the God who had rescued them. So, maybe to sum up – yes the Bible rebukes greed and abused privilege, but history is rife with the example that unless the heart is changed, a poor person who becomes rich will is perfectly capable of abusing the poor – unless there is a work of soul change that transcends the outside variables. Or another way to put it – all of us – rich and poor, black and white – need Jesus’ atoning forgiveness and life-changing Holy Spirit.

  • alb

    This! Amen.

  • Tom More

    My two immediate thoughts are that, firstly, the Bible gives the blue print of how the Gentiles are folded into the people of God and made participators in its promises and commands, the Bible can be appropriated fittingly. Secondly, why in this discussion does no one ever consider the possibility that our association with the poor be more than one of empathy? When Jesus associated Himself with the poor He said that he was one of the least of these; those were the people two whom He belonged. Yet we try to fit ourselves into a system that can allow us to be both wealthy and walking with Jesus. What if the answer is a more personal association with the poor and downcast?

  • John Oxford

    Jesus wasn’t rich. He cared nothing for money. Where do you find it any where written that he was rich? Are you sure He wasn’t talking about something else?

  • Alex

    JenelIYB that simply isn’t true, you have taken that passage gravely out of context, remember context is crucial to understanding Jesus’ Words, that’s not what He’s saying there. Jesus affirms future physical resurrection in the gospels check out John 6:40

  • Fern Henley

    In the beginning was the Word…this was a recent Pope’s homily one Easter. He explained that the Word is the cognitive domain into which each human may be born with the subsequent chance to choose to follow the star of truth or not with eternal consequences for the universe. How important! How exciting! The pure light within you guides your way.

  • Fern Henley

    I’m looking at the Lord’s Prayer…Thy kingdom com (our prayers are answered, OK?) Thy will be done (answered? Yes) on Earth as in heaven. The harmony of the universe resonates according to His will, just so it resonates in the smallest creature He makes. My mission may be only to hold Earth together with empty body’s organic matter or I may have chosen to be born of the spirit into the cognitive domain then working to bring forth truth for humanity. We so important and relevant to the unfolding of the universe. As we go through the arms of the Milky Way today we are met with exciting challenges to encourage us to look at as well as see our universe. Each of us has such
    an important place.

  • Michael L. Wilson

    I think you’re right on! That’s why I wrote Exponential Culture. The Africans and the Middle Easterners love it and so did the Malaysian seminary I taught it at. But the American elite don’t seem to think they need transformation in order to be ready for the radical mission Christ has called us to.

  • Paul C. Gorski

    I think the bigger problem is that the public face of Christianity is composed of wealthy people who frame the Bible in pretty much the opposite way as you frame it here. They frame it as a justification for repression and inequality. And it’s working. The “prosperity” interpretation is among the most popular in the US today, and in my view the most devastating and inaccurate.

  • childofgod

    Everything is his because he made it. He gave up his power and made himself “nothing”, humbling himself (philippians 2:5-11, specifically vs. 6-7). On Earth you are right, he gave up the potential wealth he could easily have had so as to humble himself.

  • Jimard

    BUT–the Bible is GOD’S Word. Every writer wrote what God wanted written. We must ever resist the tendency to anthropomorphize it…make it man-centered rather than God-centered.

  • JeffTN62

    Even the Centurian had a place at the table, Jesus didn’t question his Roman place, but commended him for his great faith. I think your taking the past abuses of money focused ministry and then make a social gospel that can relate over transform. What about verses that say The poor you will always have ..or that Jesus had a house, or the fact the wise men gave Mary and Joseph a sizable donation is left out. Social justice is not Gods justice -imagine if Joseph in Egypt wanting his rights over Gods will. The 80s charismatic move was inclusive like never before in church age, but seems to be a backlash to say those Word Of Faith teacherd were to focused on the wrong things Yet does the church have more or less power? Are you Ladeocian church or Philadelphia ?

  • I’m St. Joseph church.

  • Guest

    Correction God made everything (Gensis 1), Jesus made nothing (John 5:30). Jesus is the Son of God (John 3:16), serving God’s purpose not his own (John 5:30; 6:38). What ever wealth he had before coming to flesh on Earth, was God’s. Furthermore, not needed then – what is there to buy that isn’t given? Also, wealth only plays a factor after he gets here and even then Jesus was not envious for anything of this world, but for our salvation. He came with a mission, and it had nothing to do with money, nor could money buy what needed to done, or what he offered with his ultimate sacrifice. Jesus says it multiple times that our focus should not be on temporal things, especially money, but on God the Father. Calling us to stay firm to God’s law, and why it is important.
    Jesus taught us things of the spirit, if you think “over spiritualizing” things is a problem then you probably would have been annoyed listening to Jesus talk. Which would make more equivalent to a traditional Jew of the 1st century, read the entire gospel to know how that works out for ya.

  • John Oxford

    I am just going to post on here what I wrote in response to the person who shared this with me on Facebook.

    “He doesn’t have a problem with the Bible, just a problem with how Americans read it, as he thinks every American reads it. Kind of a blanket theory that doesn’t leave much room for the occasional exception. Either way, I still like the old saying, ‘Your beliefs create your own reality’. If that is what he believes, then that is the reality he has built for himself. In doing so he makes the very same mistake (including me) that almost everyone makes, which is assuming he has all the right answers.

    It is an interesting point of view, to think of it the way he describes, but again he seems to miss the overall objective the Bible serves. Yes, it does come from those who are on the bottom of the totem pole, and it speaks of social hardships that those people are going through, but I think it misses the spiritual side of things as well. There are two perspectives to view the Bible in, and they both happen at the same time. There is the physical and there is the spiritual. As things happen in this life, things are also happening in our spiritual lives as well. This is why knowing about sin is important, because we need to know when to repent. We need to know when we are in the spiritual wrong. That is what every single prophet has always been here for, to let a nation or people know that they need to get right with God. It is all because of how they were acting, believing, or doing something that displeased God. Actions in this life affect us on two fronts, when you “spill the milk” cleaning it up with a towel is only fixing one front, we also need to use a spiritual towel. Obvious metaphor.

    The objective of the Bible is simply tell us the story of why Jesus is important, it gives us the full history leading up to his birth, it capitalizes on his life on Earth (4 books covering the same time period) then it gives us follow up perspective to help us understand Jesus example and how we are to worship, live, and etc.”

    I will add an edit to that last part. Since I say things a little weird I will just quote my friend from Facebook:

    “I believe its purpose is to show us how God has given us a lot of help to live out his covenant so that we can be a part of his Kingdom. It is to show us what our role is in the over arching story and how he has faithfully been fulfilling his promises to us.”

    That is just a partial quote of what they wrote, but I think it says it better then the way I put it.

  • John Oxford

    Correction God made everything (Gensis 1), Jesus made nothing (John 5:30). Jesus is the Son of God (John 3:16), serving God’s purpose not his own (John 5:30; 6:38). What ever wealth he had before coming to flesh on Earth, was God’s. Furthermore, not needed then – what is there to buy that isn’t given? Also, wealth only plays a factor after he gets here and even then Jesus was not envious for anything of this world, but for our salvation. He came with a mission, and it had nothing to do with money, nor could money buy what needed to done, or what he offered with his ultimate sacrifice. Jesus says it multiple times that our focus should not be on temporal things, especially money, but on God the Father. Calling us to stay firm to God’s law, and why it is important.

  • John Oxford

    Jesus taught us things of the spirit, if you think “over spiritualizing” things is a problem then you probably would have been annoyed listening to Jesus talk. Which would make more equivalent to a traditional Jew of the 1st century, read the entire gospel to know how that works out for ya.

  • John Oxford

    Jesus is the first example of what is it like to have, what everyone is calling, a “spiritual body”. I personally called the Glorified form, because it is when the resurrection happens that our body and spirit are reunited, and our bodies are renewed to last for eternity. With the combined ability of the power of the spirit flowing through us. Jesus was able to enter a crowded room, that was locked and had no windows with out being detected until he wanted them see him. That is the power of the Glorified form. (John 20:19, 1John 3:2).

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  • Fred Pittenger

    Perhaps it is time to lay aside your Bible and try Being. In the end that is what each and every one of the persons you described above was doing. Being the presence

    It is time to understand this thought:

    “Religions are the vessels we build to cross the chaos sea.”

    WE have built the vessels. We can change the paradigm

  • Fred Pittenger

    The Necessity of Religion

  • t-rob

    First let me say I have a lot of problems with how so, so, so many people read/misread the Bible. I continue sharing comments for all those of you who resonate with the above article. For those of you who agree with BRIANZAND, I encourage you read Luke’s gospel. It was written to the “Theophilus,” the rich, Greek-speaking person who had a house large enough to host worship meetings. Luke’s Gospel was written with the “Roman citizen” in mind. (note that it traces Jesus’ genealogy back to, not Abraham, the father of the oppressed Jewish people, but to Adam, the father of all humanity) With the Roman Citizen in mind, Luke shares how Jesus message is mostly about “stewardship”…a fancy churchy word that means using your power, ability and influence to bless others, and in so doing, be blessed yourself. Afterward I would suggest reading any of the writings of the Apostle Paul in the New Testament. (I would recommend starting with Romans…literally written to Roman citizens) Note as you read, Paul next to never tells the history of the oppressed Jewish nation (why bother, Roman citizens don’t know that story). In fact Paul rarely uses the name Jesus (Joshua in Hebrew…if he does use Jesus’ name, he calls him Jesus-Christ…most of the time, Paul just uses “Christ,” Jesus’ royal title…meaning “the anointed king”) Please also note that Paul hardly ever shares how Jesus’ life fulfills the prophecy of the poor and the oppressed, but instead that “Jesus is Lord” as opposed the Pax Romana line that “Caesar is Lord.” If this was helpful, great. If not, sorry for another lame, Christ follower muddying the waters.

  • Kim Hall

    These kind of articles make me sad. The Bible is not a little slice of history told from the perspective of the Israelites. It is the history of all mankind told from a viewpoint directed by God. It is not a story about the Israelites being slaves. It’s a story about a nation that was repeatedly lifted up by God, but they continued to throw it all away time after time by turning to false gods. Israel was chosen to be an example to the world of how great a nation can become when it follows God’s commandments. Just look at the time of Solomon when Israel’s prosperity drew nations from all over the world. When Solomon built the temple his dedication prayer was that anyone, Israelite or stranger, could pray to God and he would hear them so that ALL people of the earth would know and fear God. (1 Kings 8:22-53) Unfortunately for Israel and the rest of the world, Solomon gave in to greed and vanity and brought in idols and altars for false gods, but that invitation still stands for anyone who turns to the one true God .

    American is not like the Egyptians or Romans. America is (or was) an example of the Israelites when they were on top. Our country was founded with God as our head, and we became a superpower like no other. Just like the Israelites, America was given the blessings laid out in Deuteronomy 28. Also like the Israelites, America is turning away from God and starting to experience the curses that are also laid out in that chapter.

    Regardless of our personal position in life, whether we’re wealthy and successful or not, like the lukewarm church addressed in Revelation 3:17, we are all wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked without God – even if we don’t realize it.

  • “Our country was founded with God as our head…”


    I know that is the story that has been told; I know that story well. But it’s far from the truth. The country was founded on stolen land following ethnic cleansing; its economy was built on the back of slave labor — the most brutal form of slavery the world has ever known. I would like to recommend the excellent book, “Myth of a Christian Nation” by my good friend Greg Boyd.


    Brian Zahnd

  • John Smith

    So what you’re saying, is that there are those with material riches and/or earthly position and authority who will find it hard to take what God is telling them in the word.

    Exactly like Jesus said.

  • Daniel Ray Miller

    Hah, this invigorating, thoughtful piece made my Sunday a good Bible day! Thanks for the jolt of perspective, BZ, and for Marc Chagall. We all have a problem with the Bible, because the Bible goes before, and beyond us–a topsy-turvy form of spiritual, existential whiplash.

  • Thank you, Daniel. Your a breath of fresh air among a morass of idiotic comments. 🙂

  • Loren Evans

    Well composed article, well thought out points.

  • ron kays1

    “Without Him [Jesus preincarnate], nothing was made that was made.” (Jhn ch 1). “All things were made by Him and for Him [Jesus that is] Colossian letter.

  • Buddy Howell

    I don’t need to read the Bible standing on my head. I need to read it on my knees. The Bible contains the history of God’s redemptive work for sinful humanity. What I should understand–above all else–when I read both the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and the Christian Bible (New Testament) is that I am a great sinner and God, through Jesus Christ, is a great Savior. My race and economic status should not influence the way I receive the Gospel or follow Christ.

    I don’t need to “align [myself] with Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, and Caesar” in order to read the Bible “right.” I am aligned with a prostitute, forgiven of hers sins, washing Jesus’ feet with my tears, drying them with my hair, and anointing His feet with oil. I am aligned with the formerly demon-possessed man who lived alone among the graves, but who has been cleansed and healed by Christ. I am aligned with the formerly religious, self-righteous Nicodemus whom Christ stripped of all my self-righteousness, religiosity, and presumptions about God and salvation. I am aligned with every sinner saved by God’s marvelous grace whose story is recorded in the Bible. If I keep that–uttermost–in my heart and mind when approaching the Bible, then I will read it “right.”

    God doesn’t see me as “a relatively well-off, white American male.” (That’s the culture creeping into the Church; “white privilege” tripe.) God sees me as a wretched sinner, in need of His grace; as a sinner-saved-by-grace who is a slave of Christ; as formerly a blasphemer, idolater, and adulterer, prideful and arrogant, who is now supposed to walk in the humility and servanthood of my Master, Jesus Christ; a cup of cold water to a dehydrated and dying world; a herald of the great Good News that God loves ALL humanity regardless of race, socio-economic status, political power, or cultural influence.

    Nicodemus came to Christ. Jesus was buried in a rich man’s tomb. There were followers of Jesus in Caesar’s house. There was a wealthy, opulent Church of Jesus Christ at Ephesus. Israel had the greatest of all blessings, the greatest of all standing in the world: Chosen by the only true God to take His Truth to the world. Brought out of Egypt. Given the Promised Land. King David. The Prophets. And The Christ.

    If the New Testament teaches us anything, it teaches us that worldly status does NOT matter. External appearances do NOT matter. So, why should we read the Bible through a lens of whether or not we’re “well off” or rich or poor or white or black or powerful or influential or unknown? There is perfect equality at the foot of the cross and in the family of God. The Bible tells me so. Even me, “a relatively well-off, white American male.” As the late Rich Mullins sang, “The Holy King of Israel loves me . . . here . . . in America.”

  • Daniel Manley

    2 Corinthians 8:9 -For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.

    God’s decision to have Jesus born into poverty and oppression was part of the message.

  • Michael

    Brian, I appreciate the overall appeal you’re trying to make, but, in all honesty, the hermeneutics you are employing (or lack thereof) will undermine your message at every turn.
    I don’t care to go tit for tat and start Bible war, but just utilize a *little hermeneutics so people can *learn *how to read the Bible aright; or else it’s Brian Zahnd persuasive rhetoric versus pastor so&so rhetoric which ends up causing more division.
    Again, great post, but it’s not gonna help a whole lot of people don’t learn *how to…
    #hermeneutics 🙂

  • Was this post shared over 30,000 times because it didn’t help people?

  • “If I read the Bible with the appropriate perspective and humility I
    don’t use the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus as a proof-text to
    condemn others to hell. I use it as a reminder that I’m a rich man and
    Lazarus lies at my door.”

    Brilliant. So often reading the bible is done to prove why we are right and moral. It’s an important thing to see ourselves as the oppressor and the ones who are sustaining the systems Jesus worked against. Thank you Brian. Really, really good.

  • Thank you, Philip.

  • Thank you for being willing to push and challenge and desire for us to be more like the people we are called to be. The church could use more voices like yours.

  • Michael

    Great point!
    And the Kardashians are more popular than the president! Keep up the good work. Geez!
    And we wonder why evangelicals have no influence on the wider world…

  • Michael

    Instead of “counting” our messages, perhaps we should start “weighing” them. I wonder if we did that in our “mega” congregations…
    Just a thought

  • This is a pretty weighty post. — and hardly evangelical. Critique of a culture of privilege is the opposite of a mega church message. It’s guaranteed to shrink your congregation. Believe me, I know. But I’m not going to be drawn into an one of those inane and fruitless Internet squabbles. I wish you well. -BZ

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  • Steve James

    “Imagine this: A powerful charismatic figure arrives on the world scene
    and amasses a great following by announcing the arrival of a new
    arrangement of the world where those at the bottom are to be promoted
    and those on top are to have their lifestyle “restructured.” How do
    people receive this? I can imagine the Bangladeshis saying, “When do we
    start?!” and the Americans saying, “Hold on now, let’s not get carried
    Actually, what the Americans said was “Re-Elect Obama,” and they did.

  • Michael

    Go back and re-read my original post before your ego got in the way & simply read what I said & how I said it – you call yourself a pastor and I’m simply *encouraging your message (ie. pro-‘BZ’) , but as soon as someone tries to help the masses (“30,000!!”) to know *how you did that… You come unglued.
    Moreover, I have noticed you, in some ways, revel in provocation (just read this title). If that’s your shtick, fine; but don’t couch it in pseudo-humility about not wanting an “Internet squabble” because, as I said, just re-read my original post with a little more humility (put your ego away, forget the “30,000”) and ask yourself” What’s the loving response to someone encouraging my message, but asking for a basic hermeneutic structure to inform the “30,000” how to do it themselves…. but then again, pastors love to keep their flock “under” them.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    You problem would not be so much with “a new creation” as it would be we God Himself who painted such a picture.

    AKA “You’re not disagreeing with me, You’re Going Againt GOD!”

  • dg

    well said.

  • Kiwi

    I do see missionary families do exactly what you’re describing. They are few and far between, but it does make a huge impact

  • Juan Baptiste

    This basically views the bible through the grid of class. The bible is in fact uneven, and attempts to bring an ideology to it never capture its essence. Others have tried to bring the ideology of Jesus being a peacenik, a warrior, a revolutionary, etc. to their reading of the Bible. Your approach is so clearly an overly-simplistic class-based approach, that it’s almost immediately dismissible.

  • JCB

    The Bible can be easily understood, even in the west, from the perspective of the poor and oppressed if the people starting out they’re journey with Christ have full understanding of how spiritually poor and oppressed they are in their hearts. If the people are humble enough to see and admit the state of poverty of heart, the instruction of the Bible can bring them into the greatest riches, which is the fullness of the Kingdom of God in their hearts.

    If this happens, it doesn’t matter at all if they are wealthy, part of the conquerer or conquered nation. The Bible wasn’t just written for oppressed Jews, it was written for any person who will first admit how wretched they are, raise their hand for Jesus’ help, and start earnestly obeying him.

  • Thanks for sharing the Marc Chagall painting, and for sharing a
    thoughtful piece that hopefully helps folks like me get outside
    ourselves to hear God’s word.

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  • JulieofAlaska

    I wholeheartedly agree, Michael. We can be honest about where we are at on the financial spectrum, but it has NOTHING to do with humility. The post felt more like a checklist (Have I been a. humble, b. generous, c. hospitable) it doesn’t take us deep where we need to go in identifying and responding that we are in need of the beatitudes work within our mind, heart, and practice.

  • Oh man..

    If this is how BZ responds to a suggestion to make his message even more useful to his audience, I would hate to know how he responds to someone who disagrees with it.

  • Sharon Henning

    I understand that we should not read the Bible with bias but this is not something to work at. That’s self -effort. It’s surrendering to the Holy Spirit and allowing Him to reveal Himself to us. It is the same God who revealed Himself to the Hebrews that is speaking to us when we read the Bible.

  • John Oxford

    Yes, the wealth Jesus had was in Heaven, not on earth, that is what I mean by him not being rich. Only concerning His status here on Earth, and the reason I mention that is because Jesus came to be an example for us to live by. Jesus gave up all he had in Heaven to come to Earth for our sake. God expects us to do the same for him. Jesus clearly stated this as it is mentioned three times (Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23) Now notice in all those passeages where Jesus says, “Follow me”, not, “Worship me”. The reason for this is because Jesus was simply going to lead us to God, not himself (John 4:34; 6:38).
    Also, Jesus gives a very true example of this expectation with this story: Mark 10: 17-31
    Now pay attention to the whole story, Jesus is not condemning the idea of being rich, but rather the idea of putting trust in Money over God. He will explain towards the end the wealth one will achieve if they instead put their trust in God above all things. (Matthew 6; and Timothy 6:10)

    @Everybody prior: (Daniel Manley, Ron Kays1, childofgod, Jam, Lady, Brian Zahnd, & Shawnshack): This is not entirely concerning your response, but rather a much needed message clarification for future readers. I just hope you realize we are saying the same thing, I hope, so this is not a bible bash or some strange misunderstood argument, but rather something I felt led to contribute.

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  • John Oxford

    Sharing is not proof of it helping anyone. It could have been shared to show others your flaws in making an example of your mistakes. Do Not Be so conceded to think that everything that proceeds out of your mouth to be factual truth that helps everybody. Do Not Get caught up in counting numbers as a “good response”, because it can be negative as well.

    So, since you asked a question (I know it was sarcasm). The answer is yes (not sarcastic). It is possible that this post was shared 30,000 times, because it didn’t help anyone. It is possible that the 30,000 shares is because they were all helped, but just like the negative side of it – not likely. Most of these shares were probably for conversation purposes only. Like a friend saying, “What do you think of this(?)”, kind of thing. So did it help people have a conversation? Yes, but is the information really beneficial? Well seeing a number on a computer screen surely isn’t going to tell anyone that. That would require much more effort, and be almost impossible to know for sure if it really did make a difference.

    I know this is 4 months later, and you probably aren’t going to read this, consider it, or even remember it. However, I feel it is necessary to say and I don’t know why. (consider the following paragraph.)

    Being humble in all things is very important. I don’t care who you are, where you work, what you teach, preach, or believe. If you are not humble first then doing God’s work is very hard to accomplish. Serving God requires love, patience, humility, willingness, trust in Him (faith), and endurance of all things. You must be able to endure internet conversations, corrections, suggestions, rebukes, haters, protesters, persecutors, and anything else this world has to throw at you. This is the Baptism of Fire given by God to test you on all things. That the weak and feeble things may be removed and all that is left is the solid rock of God’s truth that solely consumes you alone in heart, body, and mind. That you have not only stood the test of time, but proven yourself to be worthy of God’s loving grace. We must realize we serve God before anyone else, including and especially ourselves, and by not doing so is counter productive. Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” With this reminder understand that it is easy to be given to hate, because the dark forces of this world seek to disrupt our relationship with God. So, we must rise above that. God’s message needs to be made clear to everyone. Anyone seeking him shall find him, and I pray that this (your post) and all it’s comments help people to do just that. I don’t know in what way this particular message will help outsiders to understand, but I know that words have different affects on various people and the right combination, guided by God’s hand, is all it takes to get their attention. For we can do nothing on our own.

    I might be preaching at a preacher, but even a doctor needs a doctor. May these words be understood by the power and grace of our Lord God Almighty. 🙂

  • John Jim

    People who stop God from speaking needs the Bible.

  • goku546686

    Dear friend I would like to point another verse out to explain this better. Jesus pointed out that it is harder for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven weather your a Roman or a Jew for the rich are used to having their possessions and have trouble parting with all their world items but for the poor they give their world possessions away eisier for they don’t have as much to part with. A rich man may even find it more beneficial for his life to keep those possessions. This does not mean throw away everything you have but instead means that God must come first in everything.

    “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
    Matthew 6:19-21
    Matthew 6:24
    “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

  • goku546686

    Jesus is God, the God head three in one Father Spirit Son.

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