Do Christians “Cherry Pick” the Bible?
by Bock Shiner
Some people argue that Christians “cherry pick” the bible. They claim that Christians choose what parts to accept and what parts to reject based on personal preference. If a Christian uses the bible to make a moral claim against homosexuality for example, they might hear the objection “Do you eat shellfish? Do you wear clothing made from two different types of fabrics? Then you pick and choose the parts of the bible that you want to believe.”
Hermeneutics: a fancy word for interpretation?
A problem that many non-Christians have when they read the Bible is that they believe that just because it’s printed in the Bible it is good, right or endorsed by God. We as Christians do not believe that everything written in the Bible is meant to be read and applied the same way.
The Bible is made up of several different types of literature. You cannot interpret a Psalm the same way that you can interpret one of Paul’s letters. The different types of literature require different types of interpretation.
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Some people want to take everything recorded in the Bible completely literally. The authors of Bible will often use figurative language, exaggerations or even be sarcastic. We need to interpret those passages the way the author meant them to be interpreted. An example of this is when Paul says to the Corinthians “I robbed other churches by accepting support from them in order to serve you.” (2 Corinthians 11:8 ESV) Paul did not literally rob churches. He is using hyperbole for emotional effect.
The Three-Fold Division of the Law
Another area where non-Christians might has problems is with the Old Testament law because of the belief that just because it is recorded in the Bible it is good, right and meant for all believers at all times. But not every part of the Old Testament law applies to all Christians in all places at all times…