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Christians and the Bible · The Free Believers Network
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Aug 15, 2008

Christians and the Bible


by Darin Hufford

 

Just about everywhere I go when I am traveling, I always ask the same set of questions to the audience I am preaching to. I ask them, "How many of you feel like you probably don't read your Bible as much as you should". With every congregation, regardless of the denomination, almost every hand in the building goes up. Then I ask, "How many of you feel self conscious about your knowledge of the Scriptures". Again, every hand in the building is raised. Then I ask, "How many of you feel condemned in your spirit every time the subject of Bible reading comes up". All the hands go up again.

I ask these questions because after years of feeling like this in my personal walk, I began to suspect that I wasn't alone. As I speak with people from all over the world about this subject I have become more and more convinced that the Christian teachings about the Bible are quite possibly the main cause of condemnation and oppression in the body of Christ today. I don't believe that I have ever met another Christian brother or sister who is not under some sort of religious bondage when the issue of Bible reading is brought up.

The following article will either challenge you and set you free, or infuriate you and cause you to shut down. Some people who read this will copy it and send it to everyone they know, and others won't make it half way through the first page before tearing it up and burning it. Some will call me a hero while others will call me a heretic. All I ask is that while you read this; sincerely THINK ABOUT IT. Don't just shut down out of religious obligation to not listen to anything that doesn't sound like what you have been taught all your life. It won't kill you to ponder the things I'm about to say here so I want to encourage you to do so.

I will separate this into three parts because it's unusually long. My hope was that this would be a blog that people would copy and email to all their friends and family members. If you copy the link and past it to an email, you can send this too literally thousands of people who NEED to read this. Help me get this message out to the world!

Disclaimer

Before we get started I would like to plainly state that I firmly believe that the Bible is inspired by the Spirit of God. I don't question it's authenticity for one moment. I have read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation at least 10 times, and in no less than 5 translations. I've spent hundreds of hours in Bible college classes and thousands more, studying on my own time. I've read commentaries on almost every book of the Bible and have personally taught on every single book in the Old Testament and New Testament. I've studied Greek and I've studied the Hebrew. For many years of my life I spent an average of about 7 hours a day doing nothing but reading and studying this wonderful book. I even would purposefully fall asleep listening to the Bible on tape so I could completely memorize entire books. I say all that to say this: I respect the Bible and I hold it close to my heart. There is no other book in the world like it. The content in the Bible is absolutely life changing.

What I am about to say in this article is on behalf of PEOPLE. Though I love the Bible and all it has to offer; I love people even more, and nothing grieves my heart more than to watch people being hurt or condemned by what has been taught them concerning the Bible. This goes out to everyone who just needs a break from the constant guilt they feel for not being as faithful to the Bible as they've been taught they should. I write this to the person who is riddled with insecurity every time a conversation comes up about particular stories or passages they feel they should know, but don't. This is for the one who has basically given up on hearing the voice of God in your life because you can't understand the Shakespearian dialect or the theological principals of the original Greek or Hebrew. More than anything I want to bring a breath of fresh air to those of you who feel like you're a million miles behind other Christians because you haven't spent the time that they have reading your Bible.

The Great Exchange

At the end of Gideon's "deliverance career" the Israelites wanted to make him their king. Gideon refused, and said that instead of becoming their king he would like them to each bring him a gold ear ring from the plunder. Everyone brought a portion of gold and Gideon melted it down and made a "golden Ephod". The Ephod was the vest that the priests put on when they entered the holy of holies. In the pocket of the Ephod were the lots, which were used when they "caste lots" in order to determine God's will in a certain situation. When the priest entered the temple wearing the golden Ephod, he could actually hear the voice of God audibly. You might remember one time when King David told the priests to "bring him the golden Ephod". David put it on and went into the temple to ask God whether or not he should attack the Amalekites. David heard the audible voice of God tell him to attack.

The story of Gideon goes on to say that after the golden Ephod was made, "all of Israel prostituted themselves by worshiping the Ephod". Think of this for a moment. They actually worshiped the way in which to determine God's will over worshiping God Himself. The story later goes on to say that it became a snare to Gideon and his family.

So what does this have to do with the Bible? One of the things we are taught about the Bible is that it is the way in which to determine the will of God. Just as the Israelites prostituted themselves after the golden Ephod, I believe that modern day Christianity is doing the exact same thing with the Bible. We have prostituted ourselves after the Bible and there is no doubt in my mind that it has become a thorn and a snare to almost every Christian in America. In fact I think many Christians have actually traded God for the Bible. Many others have even come to the point where they think God IS the Bible. I truly believe that the Bible has become the golden Ephod of our time.

Who's Your Daddy?

It's interesting to me that we actually call the Bible "The Word of God". The Bible doesn't make that claim about itself. In the book of John it says: "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God", but then it goes on to say, "The Word became flesh". The Bible outright tells us that JESUS is the Word. Not the Bible. There wasn't even a Bible put together when this passage was written. When we teach people that the Bible is "The Word" we are flat out exchanging Christ for the Bible.

I want you to imagine what goes through the mind of Christ when he sees Churches that call themselves "Bible Churches". Think about that for a moment. Don't you think it's funny that we would choose such a title. The ironic and comical thing is that when we hear the term "Bible Church" we feel safe and comfortable, but when we hear "Church of Christ" we usually associate that with a cult? Don't get me wrong, I don't really believe that every church that uses the term "Bible Church" is really out to worship the Bible over Christ, but at the very least I think it's an interesting and telling choice of wording.

Christ Himself said "I will build MY Church" and today we have "Bible Churches" in every city of America. The name alone gives our intentions and true feelings away. We are no different in this generation from the Pharisees in Jesus' day. They had a very similar view of their Old Testament scriptures. Jesus confronted them and said, "You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life" (John 5:39-40). The Pharisees were making the same trade that millions of Christians have made today. Another point about this passage is that Jesus clearly makes a distinction between "studying the Scriptures" and "coming to Him".

Most Christians believe with all their hearts that a person is not even saved unless they "believe in the Bible". Churches advertise themselves as being a, "Bible believing Church". Toss that around in your head for awhile and truly think about it. Where in the Bible does it say that we have to "believe in the Bible" in order to be saved? It does say to believe in Christ, but for some reason we have raised belief in the Bible to the same spiritual level as believing in Christ Himself. In the New Testament times the Christians met together to study God, and today when we meet together in someone's home it's for a Bible study. If the Bible isn't brought out and studied at some point in the evening the entire event is looked upon as an unspiritual waste of time.

I understand that most of us have never stopped to think about these things, but if you step back and take an honest look at the landscape of our religion, I think you'll be surprised at how right I am. The American Christian system has wholeheartedly exchanged God for the Bible! This is precisely why so many sincere hearted people go into a full-fledged panic attack the moment anyone suggests that there might be errors or discrepancies in the Bible. Most Christians will outright tell you that to even entertain such a thought is blasphemy. Because we have made the "God exchange" we have to insist that the Bible now takes on the attributes of God Himself. This is why it is imperative that everyone believe the Bible is infallible. It is equally grieving to my heart when I hear people say things like, "If there is even one thing wrong in the Bible, our entire faith is worthless". Their entire existence as a Christian stands on the belief that there are no errors in Scripture. If they were to be shown a true discrepancy in Scripture that could not be explained away, it would literally cause their entire religion to come caving in on them. I've heard people openly admit, "If you can't believe it all, you can't believe any of it". Their entire faith stands on Scripture instead of Christ. Make no mistake about it, there has been an exchange of monumental proportions!

This is why so many Christians judge the strength and status of their Christian walk by how much time they spend reading their Bible. It seems to be a constant thorn in the side of every single Christian I know. They always feel guilty for not studying it every day of their life. They just know that God is upset with them for not reading it more. The cycle goes on and on until it becomes a permanent snare in their walk. The looming shadow of performance based Christianity is always there to put them in their place the moment they feel a shred of confidence, contentment or joy. What's worse is that every one of us are set up for emanate failure. We are constantly pressured to "be in the Word" but we are never told how much is enough. No matter how much time we spend studying it; it's never enough. If we read it one hour, we could have read it two. If we read it eight hours, we could have read it nine. No matter what we do, we're always left feeling like we fell short. It's almost like it was set up that way in order to prevent growth of any kind in our lives and keep us down.

Let me be the first to say that I am sick of it!

I am quite honestly sick of all the manipulation and oppression that has been put on people in the name of religion. I'm sick of all the half truths and outright lies that have been made up about the Bible in order to force people to submit and serve their local Church. I'm sick of the guilt and condemnation that so many people live with because they can't keep up with the rigorous demands of an impossible system. And most of all, I'm sick of the empty (and quite frankly the unbiblical) promises concerning what the Bible's purpose is in our lives. Most of the things we are taught about the Bible are found nowhere in the Bible; they come from a religious spirit that seeks to whittle people down to a spiritual nub in an effort to gain control over their minds. Without a doubt, this wonderful book has been used to cuff the spirits of millions of sincere hearted people who honestly want to connect with God's Heart.

The Irony of "Bible believing Churches"

The thing that perplexes me more than anything else concerning this subject is the fact that Churches who hold up the Bible as their ultimate guide in life, almost never follow a single thing in it. Every time I hear a Pastor thunder the words, "we do everything according to the Word of God in this Church" I am always puzzled as to exactly what he's talking about. In fact, I've struggled to find just one thing that we practice in modern day institutional churches that coincides with Scripture.

Where in the Bible did they have "Worship Services" led by a "Worship Leader"? Perhaps you might find a few places in the Old Testament where something similar might have occurred, however in the New Testament it simply never happened. Almost every church in America promotes "Corporate Worship" as though it's a Scriptural principal that we all must adhere to. This is simply not found in the New Testament Church.

Every mention of Worship in the New Testament was in reference to it being a private intimate matter between each individual believer and God. Paul said to "sing and make music in your hearts". Ironically, even worship leaders know that this is true. They will almost always tell everyone in the room to "forget about everyone around them and get alone with God" before the service even starts. They know this, however they insist that everyone meet together to do it.

Where in the Bible do we find "Youth Leaders" who are specifically paid to lead the younger people in the church? For that matter, where in the New Testament did they EVER separate families the moment they walked through the door of a church? The fact that we do this in modern day institutions is absolutely flabbergasting! This practice entirely defeats the purpose and picture of what Church is all about. Ironically the same Pastor, who signs the paycheck of the Youth Leader and Child Care Workers, also preaches that "The Family is the most intimate form of Church". Separating those families before church begins is not only unbiblical, but it's down right destructive.

Did the New Testament Church have a stage? Of course they didn't. The Church experience in the Bible times was not a spectator sport. It was about participation, interaction and fellowship. Today, fellowship is that block of five minutes you might get to say hello or goodbye in the foyer once the show is over. Church in the New Testament was never a play. There was no stage with lights, video and sound systems. It has become so much of a "show mentality" that when we now start a new ministry within the church we call it a "Program". That alone should cause us to stop and think about what we're doing.

The things we promote and encourage are also nowhere to be found in the Bible. When did the New Testament Christians do "Outreaches"? When was "Group Prayer" or "Prayer Chains" preached in New Testament times? What about "Tithing"? Did Paul tell the people to pay 10% of their income to the Church? NEVER! We have built an entire religion around the infamous "Sinners Prayer" that we try with all our might to get people to recite, however there is no "Sinners Prayer" anywhere in Scripture. Believe it or not, the word "Trinity" isn't there either. Most, if not all Christian churches today won't even acknowledge your salvation unless you believe in that one. Many churches have "Alter Calls" at the end of their service where they push and push everyone to come to the alter and meet God about their problem. You guessed it; it's not in the Bible! What New Testament church had a "Board" that the Pastor had to answer to? Where was "Associate Pastor", "Marriage Pastor", "Prayer Pastor", or any other of our new concepts of "Pastor" found in the Bible? Did the Pastors in the Bible preach a sermon every week? NO! In fact, the people met every day, not every week, and when they did meet, THEY brought songs to sing, and THEY spoke the word of the Lord to each other. Though I could go on and on, I'll finish this section with the big one: At what point did Sunday become "God's Day"? If anything, the Sabbath day was Saturday.

I am not saying that any of these things are wrong. In fact, I personally don't have a problem with most of them. I don't think God does either. My point is this: DON'T SAY YOU DO EVERYTHING BY THE BIBLE!!!! Very little of what we do in modern day Church has anything at all to do with the Bible. Why should it? The New Testament Church didn't even have a Bible.

Acknowledging the Purpose of Scripture

Several months ago I took my wife and kids to Disneyland. Just before we left the house I used "Map Quest" to get directions. After typing in my home address and the address of Disneyland I was printing out step by step directions that even a monkey could follow. Together my wife and I followed the map to a "T" and in just six hours we were standing at the entrance of Disneyland with four ecstatic little girls.

Now I want you to read this next part slowly and think about it.

If you were to come looking for my family inside of Disneyland about an hour after we entered the park, what are the chances you would find us all sitting on a bench by the Dumbo ride, studying the map? This is exactly what the Christian world looks like today. It's a day at Disneyland were thousands of people have filled the park. However, all the rides are empty, there are no lines at the restaurants, no one is paying attention to the characters walking around and the light parade goes unnoticed. Why? Because everyone is sitting around in clusters studying the map and going over how they got there.

The purpose of the Bible is to lead us to Christ. LOVE IN THE FLESH. For some reason however, we have gotten the idea that once we have found Christ, we must continue to study the map. To take it a step further, we have even taught people that their entire relationship with Christ is now lived out through reading the Bible! If this were true, you would think that in all of Jesus' teachings and preachings, He would have at least ONCE stopped midway in one of His sermons and said, "Oh and by the way, in about forty years from now a bunch of guys are going to write letters back and forth to each other and in about three hundred and fifty years from now those letters are going to be bound in a book, and if you don't read it everyday of your life YOU WILL NEVER KNOW GOD".

Why didn't the Apostle Paul tell the Churches he wrote letter to that they had to read and re-read and study and meditate on those letters over and over for the rest of their lives in order to grow in the Lord? If our daily Bible reading were as important as we have been told it is today; why wasn't it mentioned even once by one of the authors in the New Testament? Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, Jude, James, Paul, never once told us that we had to make the reading of their letters a daily religious ritual. You would think that someone would have written about it if it was really as important as we teach today.

What did all those Christians after Paul's time do to have a relationship with God? After Christ returned to heaven there was almost fifteen hundred years of Christians who didn't have a Bible in their home. How in the world did they keep their heads above water without a Bible to study every day? Why would God send His only Son into the world to live a perfect life, die for our sins and be raised to life again almost fifteen hundred years before the printing press was invented if the Bible was the rout we humans were to take to have relationship with God? How is that a better covenant than what Moses had? God spoke with Moses face to face and now, after Jesus was crucified, we have to relate to Him through a book. Does that sound right to you?

It's interesting to me that we tell people that the way they get close to God is by reading their Bible regularly. The Pharisees not only did this, but they went on to memorize large portions of Scripture and even wore articles of clothing to remind them daily of what they had read. However, when God stood right in front of them in the flesh, they didn't recognize Him from Adam. Jesus later told the people that the two most important commandments were to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul" and He said "the second commandment is like the first.........Love your neighbor as yourself". Then he said, "All of the law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments". He was literally saying that if you love, you will BECOME the Bible! You can put it down and walk away from it forever because LOVE is the embodiment of the entire Bible. Once again: the purpose of the Bible is to lead us to Christ. Who is Christ? Love in the flesh!

I do not need a "post it note" on my refrigerator reminding me not to murder my wife and kids. Why? Because I love them and that law is so far beneath me, it doesn't even apply to me. The law is for people who don't love. When you know Christ, you know love and when you know love you are no longer a spreader of the message; YOU BECOME THE MESSAGE.

The Consequences of the Trade

Our teachings about the Bible and its purpose in our lives have basically made us a generation of dead people. Since we don't believe we can hear God on our own without the Bible, we find ourselves searching the Scriptures to find out whether something is right or wrong and we don't even stop to look into our own heart and ask ourselves.

I honestly believe that out of this zombie and lifeless belief system, we have no other option but to blindly stumble throughout life clinging to our WWJD bracelet in hopes that we can survive yet another day. It's a very depressing time we live in when we have to stop everything and analyze what Jesus would do in this situation or that before we act. It's fake. It's scripted and from the head. Even Charles Manson can do that. Do you think that Satan worshipers need to wear a WWSD bracelet so they'll know how to act in certain situations? Of course not! If you cut a Satan worshiper off on the freeway, he doesn't need to ponder how Satan would react. He literally BECOMES Satan right there in the middle of the freeway! Yet we have Christians today who only know ABOUT Jesus because they read about Him in a book. He's a character in the Bible that they've been told to do their best to study and mimic.

When tragedy or hardship comes into their life they have no other choice but to "STAND ON SCRIPTURE" and hope for the best. Because there is no real relationship established beyond what they read in the book, they can only quote the book to the Author in hopes that He will recognize the passage and honor what He said. I personally know hundreds of Christians who spend their entire life standing on this Scripture or that in an effort to get what they want. It's all they have. There is nothing bey ond the words they read in the book. Their relationship is not with God; it's with their Bible.

This teaching about the Bible ultimately causes people to retreat from relationship with God. If you think it through you'll find that a personal relationship with Him isn't even needed anymore. In fact, if some people could have their way, they would just have God pack up and leave Heaven altogether. The Bible is basically "Auto Pilot" for Heaven. God doesn't even have to think anymore. If it's in the Bible He has no choice but to do it. And He has covered everything in the Bible so Heaven should pretty much run itself from this point on. And we wonder why people today have no real intimacy with the Father. Listening to many Christians witnessing in today's age is perhaps the most grueling experience I can think of. So often it seems that their entire witness is based on what they have read in a book. Just because you read about a crime in the paper, doesn't mean that you can go to court during the trial and be a witness. Sadly, that's what our religion has produced in recent years. A bunch of well-read people who haven't really witnessed a thing.

Know Your Bible People!

I had a friend several years ago who was browsing through a book store when he noticed a young lady thumbing through one of my books on relationships. As he walked by her he leaned in and said, "Get that book, it will change your life". She smiled and thanked him for the tip. About three months later, this lady showed up to my church. She has read the book and found out that I was teaching locally, so she thought she would come to my group. She was excited to see my friend who had told her about the book, and immediately approached him and thanked him for telling her to buy it. He was terrified and embarrassed because he had not yet read the book himself. He didn't have the guts to tell her, so he just decided to act as if he had read it. After the service she wanted to stay and talk about relationships with my friend. Instead of just coming clean, he decided to just let himself go talk about relationships from his heart. He was surprised that she didn't seem to catch on that he hadn't read the book, so immediately after service he ran to the bookstore and bought a copy for himself. When he got home and started reading it he was absolutely amazed to find that during his conversation with this young lady, he had actually quoted entire sentence structures of my book, word for word without even knowing it! How could he do that?

HE KNEW THE AUTHOR!

Once you know the Author of the Bible, you have the Word living inside your heart! We have basically taught an entire generation of people that they have received a deaf, dumb and blind God. He's like a computer. When you get him home, you have to load Windows and a hundred other programs on Him before He's of any use. That's ridiculous! When you receive God's Spirit into your heart, you not only get Him, but you get all His Words as well.

The Truth Within You

Think about it. Have you ever had something in the Bible literally explode of the pages and blow your mind? The reason that happened is because it exploded from WITHIN you! It was already living inside you. That's why your heart almost leaps out of your chest when you come across a truth in Scripture.

Sadly we subscribe to a religion that pretty much encourages people to have a relationship with their Bible over God Himself. It's like there is something within all of us that would rather spend time with an inanimate object then with a living being. This is why so many people don't have a problem making the trade. Real intimacy is intimidating to us.

Could you imagine a wife on her wedding night coming out of the bathroom dressed in a beautiful negligee ready to present herself to her husband for the first time and he is sitting on the edge of the bed reading a letter she wrote to him ten years ago? She says, "Honey here I am, come over here", and he doesn't even look up because he's having relationship with the letter. That is exactly what I see in modern day Christianity! We have access to the real God and we insist on reading the letter over and over instead of actually connecting with Him.

Our teachings have turned the Bible into a spiritual walkie-talkie between us and God. We say things like, "The main way God speaks to us is through the Bible". When I became a Christian I was personally told that when I pray; it's me talking to God, and when I read my Bible; it's God talking to me. For the most part we have all been taught that unless we are reading the Bible we will never hear from God.

This raises a whole series of questions for me. First of all I would like to know where the Bible even says that. It's interesting that Scripture doesn't even make that claim about itself, yet we preach it like it's an age old truth that God Himself set up thousands of years ago. Most of us have heard it so many times that we don't even stop to question whether or not it's true. We have learned to just accept it as truth and do our best to keep up.

I am not suggesting that God can't speak to us through the Bible. He can speak to us anyway He chooses to. I'm just debating the mindset that believes that this is the PURPOSE of Scripture, and the main way He chooses to talk to us.

I heard one Pastor teach that God won't even tell us something if it's already written in the Bible because we can read it for ourselves. Hummmm........What if you're illiterate? What if you're illiterate AND deaf, so you can't even listen to the Bible on tape? What if you're a prisoner of war without a Bible? What if you're a child and haven't learned to read yet? What if you're an elderly person and can't see the words? I know this sounds amusing, but if you really think about what we have been taught, it's absolutely comical.

Many people who are reading this are likely to say to themselves, "What about King David who said that he meditated on the Word night and day"?

First of all, when David meditated on the Word, he was meditating on THE LAW. The first five books of the Old Testament, otherwise known as the Pentateuch. Believe it or not; the Bible as we know it today does not refer to itself as "The Word of God". Any place where the term "The Word" is spoken about in Scripture, it's referring to THE LAW. That's what David meditated on night and day. He had to because David was not like you and me. He didn't have the Holy Spirit living inside of him. In our time, "The Word became Flesh" and now dwells among us. JESUS is the Word, not the Bible. If you have Jesus living in your Heart; you have the Word living in your heart. David's "Word" was only a shadow of what was to come. Imagine if all you were given was a shadow of something. You would have no choice but to study it from every possible angle in hopes that you might find out what was casting that shadow.

We have been given the very One who casts that shadow! Why in the world would we ever be tempted to study the shadow when the one who casts the shadow is standing right before us? Our teachings on the Bible have turned us into shadow chasers who refuse to acknowledge the Shadow Maker.

Although David had to meditate on the Word night and day, and he clearly had a deep love and respect for it, it's interesting that when David needed to hear from God, he didn't turn to the Scriptures. He walked directly into the Temple and confronted God himself. In fact, I have not found a single place in all of Scripture where anyone turned to Scripture in order to hear from God.

I think that understanding the purpose and value of a thing is extremely important. If I bought you a new car, and you thought that a car was to be used as a house, it wouldn't take more than a few days for your car to start stinking to high heavens. Until you understand that cars are made for transportation, you will never truly experience its blessings. The same is true with the Bible. We have made declarations about it that have nothing to do with its real purpose and value. This false understanding of what the Bible is for has caused us to become a spiritually retarded generation. Christian chat rooms and forums are filled every day of the week with people machine-gunning Scriptures back and forth in heated debate. Some of us can't even talk normal anymore because our vocabulary is filled with King James' quotations. Authors can't even make a spiritual point without having to "back it up" with Scripture. It's pretty sad when Christians who are filled with the Holy Spirit have to have a Scripture verse to back up a spiritual principal that even a child can understand. Unfortunately in today's Christian world we have been taught to think in Bible verses. We've become as soulless as computers.

The Deadly Blow

The nail in the coffin to all of this dysfunction and chaos comes the moment we swallow the equally devastating and destructive teaching that says, "Don't trust your heart". It comes from that Bible verse where Jeremiah says "the heart is deceitful above all things....." So now, in addition to teaching us that we can't make one spiritual move without the Bible, we're also taught that we are supposed to shut ourselves down from our heart and refrain from any future consultations with it. This is preached all over America and it's a lie from the pit of Hell! I honestly believe that these two teachings together are a recipe for spiritual death.

Those who preach that we are not supposed to trust our heart have effectively sealed the fate of their listeners. Make no mistake about it; this is an extremely dark teaching that has nothing to do with the truth of God. To even entertain such an appalling idea is like swallowing a cyanide tablet into your soul. I believe that this terrible mentality is what has ultimately turned the Christian religion into a spiritual veal farm. The moment you buy into this absurdity you can NEVER know the Heart of God. All future possibilities of intimacy with Him are annihilated completely. It seals the separation between man and God and ultimately catapults us back to Old Testament times.

Come now, let us reason together. If we are not supposed to ever trust our hearts, how in the world can we ever know Him? Think about it for a moment. When you became a Christian; where did you ask Jesus to live? Your heart of course! What good would it be for the Spirit of Christ to live in your heart if you aren't allowed to "go there"? How could we ever forgive someone from our heart if we can't trust it? Why would God write His laws on the hearts of men if they were not allowed to consult that part of their being? Whey would the Bible tell us to "sing and make music in our hearts" if they were not to be trusted? We couldn't even fulfill the commandment that Jesus said was most important, "Love the Lord you God with all your heart, mind and soul". Jesus also said that "the Kingdom of Heaven is within you", and there is no doubt that He was speaking about our hearts. The irony of this is that this popular teaching tells us that we must rely only on the Bible and not on our hearts. If we can't trust our hearts, how will we ever be able to read and interpret the Bible properly? Wouldn't our deceptive hearts mess everything up and interpret it all wrong? The entire idea is so outlandish and absurd that it's not even worth discussing.

Trust me in this, the only part of us that is eternal and connected to God, is OUR HEARTS! It is a conspiracy from Satan himself to try and get every Christian person to deny themselves access and completely stop trusting their hearts. The very birth and life of a believer is lived out through the heart. This is why the Bible says "if you confess with your mouth AND BELIEVE IN YOUR HEART that Jesus Christ is Lord, you will be saved". The next time someone quotes that "The heart is deceitful verse" in an effort to get you to think from your head, you just remind them that when you believed in God's one and only Son, your heart was resurrected with Christ and you are a new creation.

These two teachings about the Bible and the heart of man completely rely on one another to survive. You MUST be heartless in order to buy the things you have been taught about the Bible and if you deny your heart; you definitely need the Bible in order to survive. A good friend of mine told someone he was ministering to, "The very pipeline through which God intended to touch the world and reveal Himself to mankind is the very pipeline you have shut down to keep you from sinning". If you abandon your heart because you think only bad things come from it, keep in mind that you are also closing the door to things like, Love, Compassion, Relationship, Spirituality and a thousand other things you were created for.

Reasons to Read

I believe that there are many wonderful reasons to read the Bible without having to add to them in an effort to manipulate or control people. One of the greatest things that happens when you read it, is that it helps to connect your heart with your head. If the Word is living in the heart of a Christian; reading the Bible can cause the mind and the heart to become one. In other words, it will remind you of what already exists in your heart. Getting your head in line with your heart (for some people) is a full time job. When you read with your mind the words that exist in your heart, you become more and more aware of heart things, and you gain experience at being able to determine the difference.

I also think that knowing the history of our faith is extremely important. Understanding how it all happened and why you needed to be saved in the first place is absolutely essential. Scripture also gives us hundreds of accounts of different people's interactions with God from the beginning of time. It explains so much about our nature and what we are inclined to do on our own. The Bible really prepares us in many ways for life. It's full of heroes that inspire and motivate us. It's like watching a Rocky movie. When you come out of the theater, you're ready to conquer the world. Let's face it; we all need examples to rouse us into action.

Let's face it, there are also times in our lives when we just don't love. Even though the author of love Himself is living in our hearts; sometimes we purposefully decide to not go there. When we do this, the Bible is great because it sets us straight. The bottom line is, some of us go through moments in our life where we just need things written out in black and white. I can tell you that I'm so glad I've studied the Scriptures as much as I have. It's given me parameters in which to open my heart and live my life. On my off days when I'm not consulting my heart about a matter, I'm glad I have the black and white word-for-word passage that sets my momentarily blind self straight.

Many of us have a worldly view of what love is. Scripture is wonderful in this sense. It clearly draws a distinction between man's idea of love and the truth. When you read about the truth of what love is, you'll find little explosions taking place in your heart, and your head will immediately come into alignment with it. I think the Bible is great at teaching each and every one of us how to locate and find treasures within our heart. It's also a great corrective tool for us when we're just off our rocker and thinking purely human thoughts. It's great to know that in those moments, we have a safety net that's set in place to catch us and gently guide us back on the right path.

In a lot of ways, I look at the Bible as the teacher's manual. I think we are all supposed to do the work on our own, but it's great to know that when we come upon a problem or issue where we can't find the answer within us; we have the answers written down somewhere. I don't however believe that we are supposed to live our life carrying the teacher's manual around and just getting the answers without even searching our heart first.

I'll be completely honest with you. I understand why most Christians haven't read the Bible all the way through. We have made it a law. It's natural for humans to do the exact opposite of anything that becomes law. The moment we turned the Bible into something we HAD to read, we lost interest. With that in mind, I would like to say that I am still a bit mystified to find that there are millions of self proclaiming Christians who still haven't "read the book". I get why that happens, but it's still mind blowing to me. In the back of my mind I think that the reason why so many Christians don't seem to have the desire to read the Bible is because they were tricked into Christianity in the first place. I think many of us were shoved into it by manipulative fear tactics or religious emotionalism. I'll have to write about that in another blog.

I think because of the fact that we have made it such a SPIRITUAL thing, people start reading and then begin to wonder why they aren't getting the spiritual goose bumps they were told about so they quit. Perhaps they felt like they're doing something wrong. My advice is this: read it anyway. Just sit down and read it from beginning to end. Read it like you would any other book. Don't expect a spiritual experience. It may or may not happen. Just read it from beginning to end. If you are a Christian, read the book about Christ. If for no other reason at all; read it to say that you have. I think every Christian should read the Bible all the way through at least once. With so many crazy preachers out there, doesn't it make sense to have read the book so that you'll know for yourself whether or not what they are saying is right? Why put your life in someone else's hands? Wouldn't it be nice to know for sure if someone was pulling your leg or misquoting Scripture to get you to do something?

Here is a great verse that pretty much says it all in terms of why you should read your bible.

2 Timothy 3:14 NIV
14But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

 

Darin Hufford

www.freebelievers.com


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Comments

  1. Gravatar
    Bob Marisette

    WOW! While I have thought many of the things you say here, this puts it in a concise and thoughtful manner that puts Scripture into its proper perspective and deals with the 'issue' of the heart. Your examples and return to the proper use of Scripture closes the circle... thank you... from the bottom of my 'heart'.

  2. Gravatar
    Bob

    Interesting. I "think" I agree with you. I know that my heart does.

  3. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    It's hard stuff to swallow, but if you look at your heart it makes sense doesn't it?

  4. Gravatar
    Brett

    I had the view that when Israel was in the wilderness they were setup to be His people, in law & culture. I noticed He didn't set up a "Bible" reading program; no home reading training & Bible devotions. In fact, reading was only proscribed twice: Every 7 yrs to the nation, &, if the nation ever backslide enough to set up a king, he was to read it daily. So how much we read the Bible has nothing to do with spirituality, otherwise God would have laid out detailed instructions. The only part of spiritual life He did give detailed instructions about was how to worship Him, ie, how to approach Him in the way of authenticity & integrity. Life is designed to get us to the point of openess with Him. The bible aids in that process. Then the relationship takes care of itself. It's beyond words.

  5. Gravatar
    Karen (So Cal)

    I'm giving you a standing ovation!!! I have lived under so much condemnation for most of my life that just reading the bible was difficult b/c the versess on judgment condemned me further. Interestingly a well-known apologist wrote an article earlier this year touching on the subject, albiet not as directly as you, but I was suprised nontheless. thank you from my heart

  6. Gravatar
    brother

    COME OUT A HIM IN tHE NAME OF JeEEZuhz

  7. Gravatar
    Bruce

    but, without reading the bible, we would not have the knowledge of what God says is right or wrong, for instance many homosexuals say they willo go to heaven, when in the bible it clearrly states tha that God consdiersthat an abomination, Yes many people worhip the Bible insead of God, but with out the Bible, many people would belive what they wnat do as they wish and never realize they wil og ot Hell. How do yu stand on the issue of sin and Hell?

  8. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Bruce, the Bible says that the day will come when God will write his laws upon our hearts. THAT DAY IS TODAY!!!! People know right from wrong because it's written on their hearts. They don't need to read about it in a book. As far as your other question; I'm not sure what sin and hell has to do with this article, but for the record I think sin is bad and Hell is really hot:)

  9. Gravatar
    John

    God have mercy on your soul.You have never been free and you never will be free, unless God intervenes and saves your soul. You are not satisified with sliding into the pit of Hell alone, you want to drag a number of sheep with you who are gullible enough to listen to your crap.

  10. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    John - Are you defending your religious tradition or do you have scriptural proof and evidence that what I say in this article is wrong? Are you able to seperate what you've been taught with what the bible actually says? Please, show me where I am wrong in this article! I would also like you to give me some scriptural evidence that would explain your belief that I'm going to hell and taking others with me--or is that just your religion talking?

  11. Gravatar
    devon

    I'm not sure what you meant when you said one time that all these things are 'harmful' then turn around and say you have no real problem with them. I might have missed something. Personally I have a problem with the whole enchilada,[churchianity]. devon

  12. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Where did I say that "all these things are harmful?"

  13. Gravatar
    JB

    Dude, you're seriously gonna get me fired. I work at a Baptist church as a 'worship leader'. Apparently you struck a nerve with this article. It's unfortunate what Religiosity has done to a relationship. When I read the Bible now, so much of it resonates with my journey, but what has become clearer to me is that the same God who lives in me, lived in the writers of Scripture. I can't come close to explaining why and how God does things, but I do know that He's becoming more and more real to me every day, and I don't have to fear whether someone else is in error as they sort through issues in their own journey, because God desires that we all come to this knowledge. Thanks for the article. I'm tracking with it, but I'm gonna have to borrow some cash until I can find another job!!!

  14. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Hey JB, why don't you email me personally and give me your phone number. I would love to chat with you about this. Blessings.

  15. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    JB--here is my email address. darinhufford@cox.net

  16. Gravatar
    Gert Cornelissen

    Well said my brother in Christ! It is clear that those who says with "thundering voices"; "We believe the Bible is the eternal, inerrant and infallible word of God" are actually meaning their particular interpretation of the Bible!! Keep on sounding forth the true Word of God, our dear indwelling Lord Jesus Christ!

  17. Gravatar
    Jeff LeFevre

    This is wonderful. I work in prison ministry and I am constantly having to teach this to the guys. Ironically many of the incarcerated come from fundamentalist " bible believing " churches. The bible is not a code book for living, it is the revelation of a person. There is so much NT scripture on this subject but it is rarely taught. Thanks for this !!!

  18. Gravatar
    Beck

    Finally! Someone else who has seen this! Incredible. I read in a book one time that Jesus said that God sent the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth. He did not say that He would send us a bible to lead us into all truth. Must also mention one other thing. 11 years ago, when my now (not then) husband and I had a revelation of the Grace of God we found ourselves saying the exact same things that Paul and Jesus were quoted as saying, without even trying. Totally a response to seeing the Truth. We were at a "missions" college then and we were 'illegally' off campus at a restaurant called Embers, when through a picture God revealed to me what Jesus had actually done on the cross. Needless to say, quite a stir was caused on campus after that. . .

  19. Gravatar
    Will

    Ooo! Darin! The Christian Taliban will be out to lynch you for that one! (But the Lord will protect you.) God bless you, dear brother in Christ, for boldly speaking the Truth! I just want to see Jesus 'turn up' and start changing people's lives including my own. I've always known the Western Church model was bogus. Thanks to you, I'm going to stop feeling depressed and disempowered from seeing the "Church" as proof of Jesus' impotence, and I'm just going to look into His face and follow Him instead!

  20. Gravatar
    Sean

    I've enjoyed reading this article. In fact, I feel I've learned a lot about you from it - kind of like the way I learn a lot about God when I read what He wrote. Sure, I agree with you that we've deified certain traditions and I too have felt condemned for "missing a day" in the Word but I think you've swung too far on the other side. If you take this to the furthest degree to where Christians always asked their heart before they sought the scriptures we'd have heresy everywhere. I no longer feel guilty for not reading my Bible one day, but I do feel bummed I missed an opportunity to be obedient and "hide God's Word in my heart." I'm saddened because I love the word not because I'm guilty. I love discovering new facets of God everyday as I explore Him through the lens of his Word.

  21. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Sean, this generation believes totally against thinking from your heart before you sought the scriptures and we STILL have heresy everywhere. In fact, every great heresy that has entered Christianity has come through people who don't think from their heart. People who just read the words.

  22. Gravatar
    Sean

    If you don't know the Bible, if you haven't hidden it in your heart, if you haven't read it 10 times in 5 translations including Greek and Hebrew as you have, how are you supposed to know when your heart is in line with the Scripture and when your heart is just being selfish, lazy or sinful? If there is a discrepancy which is right? You can't say there never is. Jesus said "out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." If what you are saying is correct that because Jesus lives in your heart your heart is always right and good then why do I say things that aren't sometimes? When I say selfish, sinful and hurtful things (which we all do at some point) it is reflecting my messed up heart and that's what I'm supposed to trust over God's Word? I'm confused and again that seems dangerous.

  23. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Your heart is good now, but that doesn't mean you can't think bad things. The difference now is that you KNOW the difference between good and bad. You know when something is from selfishness and when something isn't. Think about is Sean. You do know. We've been trained to think we don't know and we need the manual, but if you really think about it; you know when you're doing something selfish, wrong, lustful, sunful or arrogant. You know because you have the law written on your heart now AND you have the Holy Spirit living inside of you. Why would God even write His laws on your heart if He didn't want you to trust that part of yourself? I understand that this is perhaps the most difficult thing to handle of all.

  24. Gravatar
    Sean

    You side stepped my questions. If there is a conflict between my heart and the Bible which is right? And what did Jesus mean when He said "out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks?" Sometimes I say things that aren't right and according to Jesus that's an indication of the condition of my heart.

  25. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Jesus was talking to people BEFORE the cross. These were Old Testament people. None of them had the Holy Spirit living within them. Their sins had not been atoned for and they were still dead in their hearts. Jesus later died and rose again and everything changed because of it.

  26. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Keep in mind Sean that christians didin't even have a Bible in their home until a few hundred years ago. How did all the Christians from Jesus till now survive if they needed a Bible?

  27. Gravatar
    Sean

    Nearly everything Jesus said in the Gospels was before He died. So now the Gospels are irrelevant because Jesus hadn't died yet? And sure, the Bible may not have always been a household object but it was still the standard for Christian life. You know, there is a middle ground between worshiping the Bible and setting it aside to your own emotional impulses (aka your heart). And lastly the way you continue to dodge the question makes me assume that you do believe that my heart trumps the Bible. That's dangerous my friend. I'm sure you're a great guy and I appreciate your willingness to challenge traditional thought, but when you sidestep the Bible to follow your heart... yikes, be careful. James 3:1

  28. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Sean what question do you think i'm sidestepping? I answered your question. I'm not sidestepping anything at all. saying that, "out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks" is not the same as saying "don't trust your heart because it's all bad and can't tell right from wrong." We still have the potential for evil from our hearts. I'm explaining to you that NOW WE KNOW THE DIFFERRENCE BETWEEN THE GOOD IN US AND THE EVIL IN US. Jesus wasn't saying "turn your heart off and don't trust it. Also I would like to point out to you that I NEVER said we should "sidestep the Bible." You're putting words in my mouth.

  29. Gravatar
    Sean

    Sorry, I didn't mean to be attacking. I've asked several times what to believe when your heart contradicts the Bible and I haven't got a straight answer. Are you saying that it never will? I don't believe the heart is always sinful nor do I believe it's always right. The point I was making with the "overflow of the heart" comment was this. James says with the same mouth we curse men and praise our Father in heaven. Meaning our mouth is volatile. Jesus said what's in your heart comes out through the mouth. Meaning what you say is an indication or reflection of your heart. Therefore, if your mouth is volatile then your heart is volatile. I believe the heart is neither always good nor alway evil. I also believe the Bible is always right.The Bible is the plumb line by which I evaluate my heart

  30. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    If your heart contridicts the Bible, I would suggest that you believe in your heart over the Bible. I have found everytime that when that happens, I end up being right and the translation of scripture ended up being jacked up. I'm telling you that the truth is in your heart. What if you can't read??? What if you're a POW??? What if Bibles aren't allowed in your country and no one has smuggled one in???? There are way to many contridictions between translations for me to put my faith in the perfection of the Bible. KJV says one thing and NIV says something different. Most of what you are saying you believe, is stuff you were taught but it's not really in the Bible. Jesus would have surely told us that we needed our Bibles to guid us through life if that were so. He never once said that.

  31. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    The problem with the mentality that the Bible is always right and the heart can't rely on itself to get answers is that the heart is what interprets the Bible. How can you trust your interpretation of scripture if you can't trust your heart? People translate verses a thousand different ways based on the condition of their heart. In the end, it ends up being exactly what I'm saying in the first place. It all comes down to heart. I would like for you to give me an example of a time when you thought something was right in your heart but found out later in the Bible that it was wrong. Give me an honest example of a time when the Bible showed you something you didn't already know in your heart.

  32. Gravatar
    Rich Simmons

    Darin, Tracy and I are both ex-pastors from the AG so we're part of your club!:>} Wonderful stuff, wonderful insight and passion, it definitely comes through. I read my bible every day because I want to, not because it affords me any special amenities or protection, but because I love it. Just like the Lord, for whom it is not substitute. They're are so many good points in this post that I'm almost overwhelmed. I can only say that coming out of the same background, you are so very right and I hope those that read this can honestly ask God to quell anything that may rise up in a religious way so that they may spend time with Him and hear what He has for them through your words. Excellent post. Blessings, Rich

  33. Gravatar
    John Stevens

    The article I wish I had written.

  34. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Thanks Rich. I hope this gets to those who need it. I know I wish someone had of told me this stuff about 20 years a go.

  35. Gravatar
    Dana

    I think everything in creation can bring you inspiration of God. I'm very cautious when it comes to the bible, because of how it's been elevated within our government. I mean it's what's used in a court of law, we are made to swear to tell the truth by placing our hand on a bible, to me, that gives an object a tremendous amount of authority over us, it's like the Government has sanctioned the authenticity of the bible, not God. Just my personal feelings on the subject.

  36. Gravatar
    Ryan

    Darin, here's a great example of a heart going in opposite directions as Scripture. What if I'm gay? What if I believe in Jesus and in sharing His love? He lives in my heart and I become His love to others around me? My heart tells me that who I am is exactly as God has designed me to be. The Bible undeniably tells me that who I am is a terrible sinner who will never inherit the kingdom of God, who should repent for the sin of being me. Repent for something that is so deep in my heart it is undeniable. Now Darin, who wins this war? My heart or the Bible? And what of others, perhaps within my family, who are straight and have lived in the same loving family, and who have seen my constant struggle over the years, who in their heart want to bless who I am, but can't b/c of the bible?

  37. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Ryan, you used the term "constant struggle over the years." Why?

  38. Gravatar
    Ryan

    I am assuming that you need the clarification to answer my question...so I will play along this time, but I really would like for you to answer my question directly without answering with a question. For many years (but not anymore), I tried to not be this way and cried myself to sleep often, had wierd, forced relationships with girls, praying that God would change the way my heart feels. This all was due to what I knew the Bible said on the issues and how my family believed. Again, I understand that context is sometimes needed to answer a question, but I believe I have given you everything you need to answer my straightforward question. Who is right? My heart or the Bible?

  39. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Ryan if you're looking for an absolute answer to your question, you've come to the wrong place. The answer to your question can only be answered by YOU and you alone. Why? Because you are the one who must live with your answer. People are individuals and God is an individual God. You're looking for a stock answer and I don't have one for you. The Bible is a revelation of God; not a revelation of you. You are asking a question concerning your heart's opinion of YOU. Only you know those answers.

  40. Gravatar
    Rick

    Darrin, our belief is not in the Bible, it is in God; on that we agree. But without an understanding of the Bible, how can we know how to live out the relationship we CHOSE with Jesus? Many believers get warped mentally and spiritually because they don't look at themselves or the world around them through God's eyes. Where, if not the Bible, can they learn how to do that? If people are seeking freedom from legalism, that's fine - Jesus is more about Grace than rules. But be careful of swinging the pendulum too far. A plant can look at its roots one of two ways. As snares that enslave it, or as necessary conduits of nourishment. A plucked flower is free of those enslaving roots, but will soon die without their nourishment.

  41. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Rick - you asked, "without an understanding of the Bible, how can we know how to live out the relationship we CHOSE with Jesus?" Keep in mind that the early Christians did not have a Bible in their home, yet they lived in relationship with Jesus just fine. In fact, no one had a bible in their home until about a hundred years ago. The real question is, "DO WE BELIEVE THAT JESUS IS REAL?" Can the Holy Spirit "guide us into all truth" like the Bible says or do we need this book to explain things to us? The plant illustration works best when the plant is a branch and the vine or root is Christ (not writings about christ but christ himself). We have been trained not to trust what we have been given the Spirit and that Spirit will guide us into all truth.

  42. Gravatar
    Daniel

    Darin, I've been reading and enjoying a lot of your teachings and just got through reading this one. I like the challenge you put forth in this article regarding the bible. However there are a few things I'm having difficulty swallowing. Before I bring those up I wanted to clarify something. You have said multiple times in these comments that early Christians did not have a bible in their home, implying they had no access to God's word beyond what's in their hearts. Correct me if I am wrong but they had access to the Torah through oral tradition which was a very strong tradition in those times, correct? Also there was teachings in the synagogues. Granted it wasn't in their homes or on their person but they had access to God's written word one way or another.

  43. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Some of the Jewish Christians did have these things, but the Gentile Christians didn't. The Gentile Christians didn't even know the history of their faith. All they knew was that Jesus was real and they went from there. It wasn't until several generations later that the New Testament was even put together. The Old Testament pointed to Christ. They knew Christ. There would be no point in a daily study of the map to Christ because they had already arrived. When the Jewish Christains gave directions to the new Gentile Christians in Acts 15:22-29 it's amazing to see all they said and all they didn't say. Read it. It's amazing.

  44. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Keep in mind Daniel that they had access to Christ who IS the Word. The word became flesh. As Christianity spread throughout the Gentile world, they only met in their homes. They didn't meet in the Synagogues. They didn't need access to God's written word because that word was now written on their hearts. The "word" is not the bible as we know it today. The "word" is the law. Today God has written His law on the hearts of men.

  45. Gravatar
    Daniel

    Agreed, the Gentile Christians didn't have that however the 12 Apostles, who had that understanding and foundation, were there to teach and direct them, would you agree? It's not like they were just out there on their own to figure stuff out on their own. Now, again I do understand the main point that you are trying to convey in this article, at least I think that I do :) It's not that you are saying that the bible is wrong and that we should eliminate it from our lives. It's that the main thing needs to be the main thing, meaning real, loving, intimate, relationship with Jesus...the main thing. I've got a few personal questions I'd like to fire at you regarding this topic, would you mind sending me an email so I can have your email? Thanks again and keep on keeping on man!

  46. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    The 12 Apostles were there to teach and direct them only in the very beginning, and they had limited access. As Christianity spread around the world, there were hundreds of groups that never once met any of the 12. Even after the 12 had died; groups continued to pop up and flourish without the Apostles help. I would love to talk further - darinhufford@cox.net

  47. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    You're exactly right about my motives for writing this article Daniel. It's not about discrediting the Bible in any way. I believe we are in bondage to the Bible in our generation. We've exchanged God for the Bible. We've elevated it to a level that is destructive. It needs to be put in it's proper place.

  48. Gravatar
    John A. Jenkins

    Greetings! Darin, Several years ago it was shown to me this passage: John 5:39-40; 39 You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life. (NIV) From that day forward I purposely set down the Bible and set out to seek GOD Jesus Christ. And because of that Faith - Today I am FREE and I am Wonderful.

  49. Gravatar
    Russ Jacobson

    Darin: Your view on scripture is just where I have been going as I grow in my relationship with our Creator, King, Lord, Friend. In the passage in Luke where the disciples encounter Jesus on the way to Emmaus Jesus goes over the Torah and shows how it points to Him: 25Then Jesus said to them, “You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures. 26Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?” 27Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. For me the bible is a place where the Holy Spirit has pointed me to Him the one who made me, and redeemed me back. Blessings Russ Jacobson

  50. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Great Russ. Sounds like you know Him and are strong in Him. Blessings!

  51. Gravatar
    John

    A month or so ago, I was teaching on the need to be overcomers, and naturally turned to Revelation 21. Pointing out from verse 8 the list of people who will be thrown into the lake of fire, and reminding the gathering that this is addressed to Christians, i.e. all of us in the room, I suggested one or two ways that each category applied to the church today. With regard to idolatry, I suggested that it might refer to more than statues, stained glass or rosaries, but might also include idolising the bible and making it a false god by treating it as God, and calling it The Word of God, which is Jesus' title. Well, let's just say a few people were upset! Actually, it kind of proves the point. Since then, I've read your blog here. It's good to know that someone else's heart agrees!

  52. Gravatar
    Andy

    Mr. Hufford, this article is a pitiful excuse for "Christian leadership." You amply demonstrate a rotten handling of Scripture as well as of the human heart and what it needs. I have an argument for these claims that I'll email to you; unfortunately the word-limit here doesn't allow me to post it for all to see.

  53. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    For those of you who are wondering; Andy sent me a long email with about 50 verses that supposedly proved this article wrong. As expected, NOT ONE single verse he sent said what he claimed it said. Every single one of his arguments were based on institutional opinion rather then on what the scripture actually states. The only reason I'm posting this is because of his rude and hateful wording he used when posting the above comment. When anyone approaches me with this tone, I immediately know for sure that they know NOT the heart of the Scriptures. Their life is always based on study and memorization rather then intimate heart knowledge of truth. This was indeed the case.

  54. Gravatar
    Jeanne

    For countless years I have felt guilty for not reading the Bible like your "supposed to". It has been for the most part a dry book for me and that increased the guilt all the more. Thank you Darin for a great article, it is liberating. You have put into words what I have felt in my heart for a long time. However, when I tried to express it to some, there was outrage that I dare suggest such a heretical belief. This is such a sacred cow that it's almost dangerous to go there. But it's a cow that desperately needs tipping. Thanks for your bravery Bro!

  55. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    I'm glad you enjoyed this article. Feel free to pass it on to others. I know the feeling of trying to express this stuff to friends and it not being received. Hang in there. It's hard, I know, but eventually they'll get it.

  56. Gravatar
    Don Every

    "As far as your other question; I'm not sure what sin and hell has to do with this article, but for the record I think sin is bad and Hell is really hot:)" ROFLMAO!!

  57. Gravatar
    Daisy Girl

    Darin, I can see how this article has generated such heated debates, however, it's truth. When I held my Bible up to God and said I'm not reading this anymore, You talk to me now, one on One. It was the defining moment in my growing relationship with Him. Most religious Christians own so many Bibles, needing to buy the next translation believing "this one" will help them more. Rather than talking with the Author, they, as you said, read about Him and strive to be like Him. The only way I know how to be like Him is in relationship. I love my Abba Daddy and want to be like Him when I grow up. That means spending time with Him! Blessings. . . .

  58. Gravatar
    Daisy Girl

    Darin, is there a way to copy this to send to others in a word document? Or a "print" copy? Some of my friends don't have computers or I would just send a link!

  59. Gravatar
    Kraig

    The bible teaches us to reassure our hearts that we are in right standing with the Father over conviction of sin. I would go on to say that that also means sin that is actualy sin and sin that we ourselves set as standards for us to be proper christians. I don't think lowering the validity of the bible is the way to go when you are trying to free people of feeling condemned. Jesus has DEFEATED sin COMPLETELY. Condemnation is not ours to carry. Jesus used the word of God to resist the devil by quoting the truth from it. Eve was decieved because she didn't have a complete understanding of God's word and satan tricked her because of it. Fellowship with the Father while you read the word, is vitally important to our well being and moreover for our relationship with our Lord Jesus.

  60. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Kraig you completely missed this entire article.

  61. Gravatar
    Kraig

    You have attempted to lower the value of the bible by your article. You pat people on the back who comment that they have no need for it and you defend yourself when they see otherwise. I show you the importance of knowing the word and you tell me I have no clue what I'm talking about. I'm talking to you about what you are doing in this article, and you are lowering the importance of reading it at all. I agree no one should feel condemned over not reading it, but shouldnt you correct the fleshly emotion instead of telling me I don't need to read it at all.

  62. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Ya see Kraig, once again I have nothing to say but you completely missed this entire article. I NEVER once said you shouldn't read the Bible. I even started the article out giving the Bible the utmost respect and ended the article giving every Christian beautiful reasons to read the Bible. But you didn't see any of that did you? You missed it. You read this with your religious emotions rather then your heart.

  63. Gravatar
    Bryan

    Another awesome article Darin, I took my time and read it through, and I didn't have any diffculty in understanding the message that you were trying to convey to the readers. Well done and very articulate, and I feel it truly ministered to me. Thanks my friend, I truly appreciate it and Lord bless you.

  64. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    It makes you wonder how so many people can read this and be baffled by it. Thanks Bryan.

  65. Gravatar
    PA

    Why should we read the Bible? Because it DOES contain the Word of God. Jesus said, "The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life." Where else do we find those words that are spirit and life?

  66. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    PA, the Word now lives inside of us. YOU now contain the Word of God. YOU now contain the Spirit. That life that Jesus talked about is now in YOU. That's the point of this entire article.

  67. Gravatar
    everette

    Take heart Darin. The ones who miss read the Bible because of Religious Glasses will miss read your articles too, because of the same Glasses. Notice Jesus didn't waste alot of words or time on them to try to convince them. He kept focussed on teaching those near him and who would listen. He spoke his peace and let them rant and rave while he walked away on them. He seemed to have the conviction that it wasn't his job to change them, just to speak truth to them. He didn't appear to get in deep arguments with them either as he knew their hearts. Keep up the great work of presenting truth, let Holy Spirit change hearts. It will keep your load light. I love your heart Bro

  68. Gravatar
    Starla Abbey

    Love it! Going to share this on our yahoo ladies group site. This topic has been one I have been meditating on for a few weeks now. Your podcasts on "Misconceptions Of The Bible" along with this article have been a freeing experience for me. I have been a pastors daughter my entire life, and then went on to marry a minister and became a music director. My whole life has been ministry, and with that comes the mindset of "The bible is everything". Like many have said, the guilt of not reading daily was just too much, but since I have started having a revelation of who He really is my life is so much sweeter, so much more in line with HIM...I could never go back...I have lost family and friends because of this revelation, but it has been so worth it. Thanks for your insight and encouragement.

  69. Gravatar
    jenny

    I get the point of what you are saying (and not saying).

  70. Gravatar
    Jim Yates

    Thank you, friend Darin. I totally agree with the points you present in this article and your views on the Bible. Having been raised in the institutional church and graduated from a Baptist University -- and subsequently been beaten and abused by the deification of scripture -- this has so validated what I've long held to believe. This also will be a great source of peace for someone I love very much who has been abused by the strict religiosity of a "reformed" denominational church and is struggling so much with pleasing God and being obedient to God. Thank you for your insights and your courage in writing this. For those who have launched into the attack mentality above, they have my prayers and they also have God's unending love. Thank you and bless you, Darin.

  71. Gravatar
    joey

    yes really will we go out to meet Him in the wilderness to offer worship to the Ancient of Days, not just in the etheric minds but in reality if someone meet God in person in a real encounter ,would there be room for all this debate and culture stuff in your trembling? would you understand seeing lite in lite ? you all remind me of a seven arrows story you are trying to smoke to death tradition ? but hey when colonizers renounce and repent of there past something beautiful happens in the face of the annointed one. Hey are you all going to keep the feast of passover not from obligation but in Joy to celebrate the Feast of the Lord, in sincerity and in in keeping the time and the seasons God made. take the leaven out of our (my) hearts , come out of her my people 2nd Corth. 6 and 7. fast

  72. Gravatar
    scott

    a few weeks back i preached to the congregation i pastor the ridiculousness of focusing so much on the written text that you neglect the author. today i read this article. i would have argued against your point for all the same reasons everyone else does but the Spirit had already given me the revelation. your article just echoes what i felt in my spirit. having said that, i would always suggest going with ink on paper over emotions. spirit and truth (heart and word) should flow together. you are right, we do know (or can find out through prayer) what is right and what is wrong. especially if we have done what you said, READ THE BIBLE! at least once, maybe two or three times until you get it! then read it because you want to, not because it is your god.

  73. Gravatar
    scott

    Ryan might never read this, but just in case i would like to offer a thought. Jesus said to pick up our cross, deny ourselves and follow him. he didn't say change ourselves, be something we are not, conform to what others expect us to be. he said deny yourself (for the purpose of Christ) pick up your cross (suffering) and follow. if following Christ means personal suffering (and it often does) then bear it. the reward is worth the denial and struggle. some people bleed and die for the name of Christ (much like he did for us). be who you are, but let who you are look more like Jesus Christ and less like Ryan.

  74. Gravatar
    scott

    i don't see that using the absence of today's version of the bible in church history as a good argument for not needing it. the reason Paul had to write to those early believers was because they didn't know how to live for Christ. He did encourage them to share the letters with fellow believers. in the past 1500 years the church has had very dark periods. access to the written biblical texts has done more good for believers than the absence of it. can we know God without the KJV, NIV, NAS... YES!!!! Do we need ink on paper to answer every question we face, no. Should we neglect something we have ample access to when so many believers around the world don't? The argument of "written on our hearts" is weak, very very weak.

  75. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Scott where in this article did I encourage people to NOT read their bibles? You seem to have assumed that this was the point of the article, as though I were trying to come up with evidence that would prove we shouldn't read our bibles. That's not at all what was said in this article. Having said that, I am shocked and bewildered that you would think that the fact that the Word of God is now "written on our hearts" is a weak point. WOW. Just WOW. I'm not even sure what to say to that. WOW.

  76. Gravatar
    scott

    Darin, i didn't say you encouraged people to not read the bible, i said that you DID encourage people to read the bible. the only thing i have issue with is putting our deceptive, dark and very confusing heart (often confused with emotions) on the same plain as written text. but it's ok for us to disagree on this! i like the article.

  77. Gravatar
    Cheryl

    Darin, my pastor just preached this same article last week in our AG Church and I was challenged and upset by it. I knew he had been reading some of your articles so I thought I would check out what you are saying about the Bible. I agree with some of what you are saying, but I am also so confused. The "heart" part is what confuses me, I know how sinful my heart can be most of the time and how deceptive it can be. I fool myself so much that I hesistate to trust it without the bible as my mirror to hold up to my heart.

  78. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Cheryl, how can you trust your heart to decipher what the Bible is saying? Maybe your heart is translating it wrong because it's so deceptive. If you can't trust your heart; you certainly can't trust it to interpret the scriptures to you. I think the best place to start is for you to give an example of a time when your heart deceived you and you "fooled" yourself. Let's talk about that time and find out whether or not you were REALLY deceived.

  79. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Cheryl I have another article I've written that comforts the, "heart is deceitful" doctrine in a way that I think you might understand. That Jeremiah verse on the heart being deceitful is a popular one in Christian circles, but it rejects what was later prophesied to take place in the New Testament. The Scriptures go on to say that "I (God) will take your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh." Sadly, we've been duped by our religion. Believe it or not, because of what was accomplished on the cross, YOU ARE A NEW CREATION and you now have a GOOD HEART. I believe this truth confronts one of the biggest religious lies of our lifetime.

  80. Gravatar
    Cheryl

    Darin, I would be interested in reading the other article that you mentioned about "our deceitful hearts". Right now, years of teaching are being undone one thing at a time and it is very challenging. I am open to what God is doing in our church, but is a bit overwhelming at times.

  81. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    http://freebelievers.com/blog-entry/spiritual-castration I think this is a link to what I was talking about.

  82. Gravatar
    PLF

    wow, challenging thoughts to ponder... but as I started to leave comment It was too long and felt a little uncomfortable sharing some of my story on a Public board right now. So here is shortened version of it leaving out personal stuff... I accepted Christ about 15 yrs ago... though I know He had been drawing me to Him since I was a little girl (as I look back on my life) I did not grow up With Christian Parents or going to church... about 3 months ago I left the congregation I was attending... this was not easy choice but I had been listening to Wayne Jacobsen speak online off and on for about 4 or 5 months... I know God is leading me on a Journey with Him... I found your site yesterday and have been up late listening and reading from your site... It's incredible how easily we can be deceived and but it's even more incredible how Good GOD is and how He doesn't leave us to our own way...anyway thank you for challenging believers seek God themselves and not just follow others blindly

  83. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Glad you're being blessed by the website. I fixed your avitar picture.

  84. Gravatar
    jacob

    thoughts. what about the.."study to show ourselves approved...rightly dividing the word of truth." scripture. Also I wonder if we dont confuse heart and flesh. Sometimes my flesh draws me in and I give into its desire and sin, but in my heart I knew it was wrong.So wasnt really my heart that decieved me, but my flesh. I came out of real gift movement, spiritual hoopla,which I left cuz I said this isnt the Jesus which I see in scripture, but everyone ran after stuff because their heart..or was it their emotions confused with their heart. I knew in my heart that this was not Jesus, but seemed more like unclean spirits but it seemed based o nthe bible, but thinking on it, that may have just been my stance to prove to them they were wrong bcuz i probably wouldnt have gone for it even if I wasnt going by the bible. idk? So then I wonder do we confuse out emotions subject to the flesh with our heart also, and do not practice discernment because we love them,and lose ability to hear heart?

  85. Gravatar
    jacob

    Either way I like the points, it really ministered to my wife, who minutes before I started reading this was sobbing to me, that she doesnt understand everything in there, and wonders if Jesus is hidden it from her like the parables, because she isnt going to be saved. And might not have the right understanding of Him based on doctrine which He may take as denying Him so I start reading this which I had on computer and planned to read but kept getting put off (after trying to calm and assure her as best I could) and what you wrote was like WAM! so I read it to her and it ministered to her, and brought her back into right understanding of relationship with Jesus, so it was a blessing....and sorry to everyone because I know I became "that guy" who post multiple post one after another cuz he talks to much now :)

  86. Gravatar
    Jerry martin

    The bible, prayer and personal relationship with Jesus Christ is how you gain faith and believe in christ. You can believe in the bible and everything in it and still go to hell. Committment to christ and ask for forgiveness and turn from your evil ways, is how you go to heaven, but you learn from the bible. You cant go to heaven without knowing what it says in the bible.

  87. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    So...all the Christians for the first 1800 years after Christ who didn't have a bible in their home because the printing press wasn't invented went to hell?? What about all the Gentiles in the book of Acts who had no knowledge of the bible whatsoever - yet they were filled with the Holy Spirit and saved because they believed? Were they not saved because they didn't know what was in the bible? I think the even bigger question is WHERE IN THE BIBLE DOES IT SAY, "You can't go to heaven without knowing what it says in the bible?" WHERE IN THE BIBLE DOES IT SAY, "The bible, prayer and personal relationship with Jesus Christ is how you gain faith and believe in Christ?" What about the thief on the cross?? Why would the Apostle Paul travel around telling people how to get saved if it was impossible for people to get saved without knowing what was in the bible? There wasn't even a bible put together at that time so people couldn't have possibly known what was in it.

  88. Gravatar
    Mary

    Everything you have said I agree with wholeheartedly, the Bible is our guide, but our relationship with Jesus what comes first. From the time I was a baby, my mom read me Bible stories, when I was three, I had a wonerful nursery school teacher who taught us about Jesus, turning the other cheek, and forgiving our persecutors, which I could relate to, because kids would always be teasing me, and because of Jesus, I knew I needed to forgive them. Because of Jesus, forgiving came natural to me. I undertood the difference in my heart between right and wrong even at that young age. So my mom showed me one day a composition I had dictated to her when I was three about Jesus loving bad people and wanting them to come to Him and our responsibility to reach out to them in love and lead them to Jesus. So Jesus lived in my heart before I ever read the Bible for myself. Years later when I read the NT for myself, I found that what Paul taught was what I already believed and was amazed!

  89. Gravatar
    Mary

    From the time I was a baby my mom taught me about Jesus and read Bible stories to me and played Christian records for me. When I was three I had a wonderful Sunday school teacher who taught us about Jesus and forgiving our enemies and being kind to them, as Jesus taught. At that time I also dictated to my mom about how Jesus wants bad people to know His love and we need to show that to them. I didn't read the Bible for myself for many years, but when I first read Paul's writing about love and friendship and how to treat others, I was amazed because these were not the topics the preachers preached on as I was growing up. I fell in love with reading the Bible because I first had a relationship with Jesus. Now I do my own Bible study thru using a concordance to know what the words mean because I want to know and teach others what He said, and how He feels. But I already have a relationship with Him.

  90. Gravatar
    Mary

    So for me, praying is just talking to Jesus like you would talk to yourself. A formal prayer in church, Amen is ok because you are ending a formal prayer. But when you talk with your Heavenly Father or Jesaus, don't say Amen. Listen to what They want to tell you. The Holy Spirit is our Ephod now. Then when you go and read your Bible, you will not do it out of conditional have to, but because you really want to know God's heart. He expressed His heart thru the prophets. God loves, He hurts, He longs to have a relationship with us. He made it so that His heart could be written down so that we could know it. But He is not bound there. He is alive nd well outside the last book of the Bible. Jesus may be in the Holy of Holies interceding for us, but He is not confined there. He is with us always. He told us He would be. Read the Bible to learn of God's heart, but do not limited His heart to the past. He lives and moves and has His being thru us. He is alive now!

  91. Gravatar
    Jeff Stewart

    In essence, I agree with the need to call our current culture out on the carpet. John 5:39 & 40 summarizes the purpose of what we have in hand today. It is like no other collection of literature in existence. The bible is a uniquely divine resource. I have no problem calling it that. It reveals enough of what which is mostly hidden - God's pure truth. Thankfully, the person and teachings of God's Messiah are central. He told us that there was more to be revealed, but we wouldn't be able to handle it. As far as the "error" issue - that comes from a very narrow and restrictive mind-set. If God's purpose and truth can be revealed through broken people who murder (Moses, David), commit adultery (David), persecute (Paul), a few scribble inconsistencies are certainly not going to stand in the way.

  92. Gravatar
    jeff stewart

    That should be "scribal." Wish I could say I was a clever word-smith - like Leonard Sweet.

  93. Gravatar
    Lisa

    Darin, I read your article yesterday, loved it. There is something though that is just not setting right with me. After spending some time mulling it over I would like to ask if you might consider this? I find my heart is motivated by “self” it only knows what experience has taught it. It sees everything through my experiences bad and good. It tries to protect me and sees things from a very its very self centered prospective. What I have learned to trust is the voice of the Holy Spirit not my heart. Where my heart comes in though is that it loves His voice and swells just at the thought of Him. My heart has learned to trust Him. I believe in my heart I recognizes His truth, but 99% of the time it is not what I my heart first felt was the truth. So then I allow His truth to trump the very selfish view of my heart and in doing so my heart submits to a better way. It may seem like following my heart but in reality I am following Him. I think that is His work though not my hearts work.

  94. Gravatar
    Doug in Denver

    Darin, thanks again for posting an article that helps people draw nearer to God. As a formenr member of a Word Faith church, I am reminded of how wrongly the scriptures are used. They are used as "promises" and things we can hold God accountable for because his "word" says it. Bruce and Andy obviously didn't read your preface to the article. Sorry guys, but you are an example of how mean religion can be. I appreciate your zeal, but zeal isn't what god wants. Zealots usually end up spiritually bankrupt, I speak form experience. Scripture inerrancy is the HILL TO DIE ON!!! Hear the spirit of the article. Anyway Darin, this is helping unscrew my soul of a lot of churchy strangeness. I definitly know it was for me. I have some good friends that may like it or hate it. God Bless Bro Doug

  95. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Thanks Doug. I appreciate it anytime someone reads what I write with their heart. you've clearly done that.

  96. Gravatar
    Gina Francis

    I would like a copy of The God's honest Truth.

  97. Gravatar
    Steve

    Darin Interesting article. I think the obsession with the bible has been used to justify much of what we see as normal Christian practise today yet little of it is "biblical". I love that you you debunk the structure of church leadership and services as biblical. My own experience as someone who loves God but has come out of a pastoral vocation somewhat skeptical that keeping the "machine" running (referring to the way we run church)is in fact Christianity. God cannot be contained in the pages of the book and your Disneyland analogy does it for me. I want a faith that is not contained and spills out in to the world we live in without the religion, compliance and inactivity associated with trying to be biblical. You have put your thoughts together so well and helped me in believing I am not alone and surprisingly not a heathen after all.

  98. Gravatar
    Michelle

    Hopefully you didn't already respond to this question, but what about the fact that even Jesus quoted scripture when tempted? By the way, your article really resonated with my heart.

  99. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Hi Michelle. Sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you on this. I've been out of the Country. Can you be a little more specific on what you are asking? I find myself saying, "What ABOUT the fact that even Jesus quoted scripture when tempted?" I say that tongue and cheek because I'm not sure what it is you're asking. Unfortunately we have developed entire doctrines about how we need to "quote scripture" to the devil when we're being tempted. THAT wasn't the point. The point was in WHAT Jesus was saying; NOT that He quoted Scripture. Rather than look at WHAT Jesus said to Satan - we now say, "QUOTE SCRIPTURE to the devil because that's what Jesus did." That's pretty near sighted. Jesus could just have easily said, "No Satan, I'm not gonna do that; I will ONLY worship God." It wasn't the fact that He quoted Scripture to the devil that made his answers so right and powerful. It was the principle of what he said that mattered. Does that make sense Michelle?

  100. Gravatar
    jeff

    ISIAIh 41 BRING forth your IDOLS did they PREACH to you see they can’t speak they can’t DO ANYTHING all they do is cause confusion. spalms 115 and spalms 135 thier IDOLS are FALSE cant speak can't hear cant smell and those that make them shall become like them. Jeremiah 10 they nail their IDOL down like a scarecrow it can’t move can'...t speak can’t move must be carried these are nothing but the WORK of CON men.john 10 jesus christ sais his sheep hear his voice and another voice thy will not follow and if another person tries to preach to them they WILL FLEE from him. jeremiah 5 the priests bear rule on their own authority what will you do when your judged my word is not inside them. Now here is the kicker john 5 son of man voice goes back in time mathew 16 jesus christ claims to be the son of man.‎1 cor2 mind of CHRIST preached internally and john 16 sais the spirit of truth comes in the future. Ezekiel 13 lying prophets of ISRAEL my word is not inside them saying god sais god sais god sais wrote hoping mankind would CONFIRM their WORDS. all of this is EASILY verifiable.

  101. Gravatar
    Gary

    Darin, I think it's unfortunate that, in order to make your point, you unnecessarily marginalize some in Christ's body, calling them a cult. I grew up in the CoC, and though I am no longer affiliated, I can assure you that it is not a cult. I have many good friends and family members who are in that church and they are believers in Christ's redemption, purchased for his sake and not that different from people in any other religious group out there. It saddens me when these kinds of judgments are passed on believers by someone who apparently is not that well informed.

  102. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Gary what in the world are you talking about?? Are you referring to the paragraph where I stuck up for the Church of Christ by pointing out how comical and ironic it is that Christians in the world generally refer to that organization as a cult, yet they blindly assume that a church that uses the word "bible" in their title is balanced and good? It's no secret that COC is widely referred to as a cult in the Christian world. I am confronting that and exposing the irony in it. That's a FAR cry from me calling them a cult. You need to consider the context of my statements before jumping to accuse me of things I never said.

  103. Gravatar
    Gary

    Well Darin, I'll have to take your word for it. I've re-read the paragraph 2 or 3 times, but it still doesn't seem clear at all that you are contrasting a popular misconception with your perspective. Sounds more like you were agreeing that, hey , that's just what naturally comes to mind. I didn't see anything to suggest you didn't like the term cult being applied to the CoC--just that there is too much emphasis on the word Bible in a church name. That point can be comical and ironic whether you see the CoC as a cult or not. Just didn't seem too funny. Perhaps you should write more clearly?

  104. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Gary, this particular article has been read by over three quarters of a million people. It is the most popular article I've ever written. It's been translated into 5 different languages and has been posted and reposted on so many websites that I've lost count. To this very day - "YOU" - are the only person who was offended by that section and -"YOU"- are the only person who read it the way you did and thought I was accusing the COC of being a cult. Think about this Gary. I have hundreds of COC friends from all over America who thought the statement I made in this article was brilliant and they didn't take offense at it in any way. In fact, I showed several of them your comment and they couldn't believe you read it the way you did. I'm pretty sure the issue here isn't that I need to "write more clearly."

  105. Gravatar
    jeff

    ISIAIh 41 BRING forth your IDOLS did they PREACH to you see they can’t speak they can’t DO ANYTHING all they do is cause confusion. spalms 115 and spalms 135 thier IDOLS are FALSE cant speak can't hear cant smell and those that make them shall become like them. Jeremiah 10 they nail their IDOL down like a scarecrow it can’t move can'...t speak can’t move must be carried these are nothing but the WORK of CON men.john 10 jesus christ sais his sheep hear his voice and another voice thy will not follow and if another person tries to preach to them they WILL FLEE from him. jeremiah 5 the priests bear rule on their own authority what will you do when your judged my word is not inside them. Now here is the kicker john 5 son of man voice goes back in time mathew 16 jesus christ claims to be the son of man.‎1 cor2 mind of CHRIST preached internally and john 16 sais the spirit of truth comes in the future. Ezekiel 13 lying prophets of ISRAEL my word is not inside them saying god sais god sais god sais wrote hoping mankind would CONFIRM their WORDS. all of this is EASILY verifiable.

  106. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Jeff you're going to have to be a little more clear. Im not sure what point you are making here. Your post is difficult to read and understand. Is there something you want to say?

  107. Gravatar
    Doug

    A person reads the bible because they love God and want to know more about Him ect..not out of a "work". For example. If my wife wrote me a bunch of love letters and just said "oh well, I am not really interested in her and I dont even miss her anyway. Ive got better things to do" That would be glaring evidence that not only do I not love my wife but I dont really care what she has to say. To tell someone dont worry about reading the bible is a dangerous teaching. The bible says that people believed a lie because they didnt love the truth". People dont read thei r bible because they dont love God nor are much interested in what He has to say and they dont love the truth hence they will believe a lie...

  108. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Doug I couldn't disagree with you more. You're just quoting what you've heard in church a thousand times. I know hundreds of people who LOVE God with all their heart, and they almost never read their bibles. I know even more people who read their bibles for hours each day, yet they do not know God from Adam. It's not in the reading of letters that love is proven Doug. Doug, if your wife was wearing a negligee - sitting right next to you - looking into your eyes - ready for an intimate moment; would you choose to open up a letter she wrote you a long time ago and read it right in front of her or would you leave the letter on the night stand and "get busy" having REAL RELATIONSHIP?? When a man won't read a letter form his wife when she's far way, you're right, that speaks volumes. BUT, when a man chooses to read a letter OVER being with his wife WHEN SHE'S RIGHT NEXT TO HIM - THAT speaks an even more horrible truth.

  109. Gravatar
    Paul Dames

    Thanks for writing this Darin. If confirms a lot of things for me. Indeed our God is not trapped within the ink and paper in a book, but is alive and active, moving on our hearts. The Bible is only a tool, and does not replace our hearts. Our hearts are new because of the re-birth (re-genration of the Spirit). Darin, I believe you are helping to lift off the yokes of religious lies off of the people, and helping us to see truth more accurately. Well done, my brother, keep up the good work!

  110. Gravatar
    Ray Salisbury

    Dear Darin... Love what you've written here - & your podcasts on Misconceptions about the Bible. This brilliant piece is proof you could write another book.

  111. Gravatar
    Jason

    Interesting read... but nothing lines up with what I see in American Christianity. 1. The number of "Christians" who believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God is a small minority. 2. The majority of church goers I meet believe in some sort of works merit salvation making what you believe about the Bible secondary or completely irrelavent. 3. Coming from a very conservative background, the problem I see is that people think they know the Bible on an almost expert level when in reality they are on about a 3rd grade level and often quote what others taught them.. not what they read for themselves. I admire your courage to tackle this issue, your level of study including Greek and Hebrew, and I agree with you that Jesus, not the Bible, is out foundation. But your overstatement and exageration of what is taking place is obvious. It reminds me of how the Church of Christ pastors used to say the Methodists worship Knox and the Baptists worship Calvin.

  112. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Jason just because "nothing lines up with what YOU see in American Christianity" doesn't mean it's not there. Judging from the overwhelming response to this article I would think that you would at least consider the possibility that I may be on to something here. This article is also posted on more than a hundred other websites with thousands of similar comments underneath those posts as well. You casually accuse me of overstating and exaggerating my points here, and all because you personally haven't witnessed this in your walk. One of the largest Christian denominations in the world preaches the exact things I speak of in this article. Did you know that out of every blog post I've ever put up THIS ONE has been passed on, printed, re-posted and published by more people than any of the others? I've even been approached by a publishing company asking me to consider writing a book on this subject because of this article. TRUST ME Jason, this is relevant!!

  113. Gravatar
    Jason

    Sorry, bad choice of phrasing. I meant to say most Christians see the Bible as secondary or irrelavent to salvation because of a works salvation. I am a member of the largest Christian denomination in the world and I have never once heard someone within it say you have to believe in the Bible to be saved... or did I misread exageration in your article? The conservative leadership in my denomination are guilty of preaching the Bible in such a way that people replace Jesus with the scriptures as the foundation of faith, but when some on my side of the issue accuse them of preaching faith in the Bible for salvation as you do in this article, it shuts down all discussion on the issue... because those conservative leaders do not think they are accountable for their words when so many people misinterpret what they teach. I think you are on to something, but exaggerating the nature of errors being taught kills every effort we make in correcting them.

  114. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Jason, once again I feel I need to remind you that just because this may be something YOU have not witnessed, this doesn't mean it's not happening all over the world. I'm so sorry you haven't seen this or heard of it. Obviously there are hundreds and thousands of people who have. My suggestion is that you might want to spend some time listening to the people rather than just relying on your own personal experience. I once read an article on child molesting and how prevalent it is in our country. I, myself have never witnessed this, but because I can clearly see that thousands of others HAVE based on their response to this article, I made a conscious decision to just assume the writer was seeing and understanding something that was true whether I had personally witnessed it or not. It would have been easy to accuse the writer of exaggerating because what he wrote seemed so vile and bad, but I chose to give him the benefit of the doubt based on OTHER PEOPLES TESTIMONY.

  115. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Jason, I'm not going to carry this conversation any further because it's clearly pointless. I've seen several of your posts throughout this website and they all have the same tone to them. You're obviously here to correct and "call out" what you see as wrong, so I'll give you the last word here. I'm just not interested in carrying on a conversation that's clearly going to go in circles.

  116. Gravatar
    Jason

    My apologies. It was not my intent to present a tone of calling out and "correcting" what I see is wrong since that is not what comments sections of most blogs are meant for. In the future I'll limit myself to open ended questions and leave it at that.

  117. Gravatar
    Jim

    In what way was Jesus Immanuel? The New Testament never actually calls him Immanuel.

  118. Gravatar
    Justine

    Dude, I just read the entire thing I have to stay THANK YOU so FLIPPIN' MUCH! I mean seriously, this kinda made my day and encouraged me in more ways than one. So thank you so much. Btw, you've met my mother before. XD

  119. Gravatar
    David Salis

    Darin, thanks for speaking out on this topic AND for contining the conversation. Truth is so much about relationship, not just words, which is really the main point you are making. I'm walking in a greater freedom than ever these days because I walk and talk with my heavenly Dad. I have read the entire bible several times, yet more-so the more I started living in the freedom of what you explain. Ironic that when we 'don't have to' that we do! I enjoy meditating on 'the word' every day. What do you think about 'the canon of scripture' versus other books written that aren't 'in the bible'? If God's Spirit lives in us (which He does!), how much credance should we give to what a group of people decided should or shouldn't be in The Book?

  120. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    David, I think we have the responsibility to decide for ourselves what is from God and what is from man. I've read some of the other gospels that weren't included in the cannon. As I read through them I remember chuckling to myself because it was pretty obvious why they weren't included. Some of them where just so far out there they didn't even make sense. I did find some really great stuff in a few places and I remember feeling sad that we weren't given the opportunity to choose for ourselves whether or not it came from God. The bottom line is that in my opinion I think we all have to decide what is from God and what isn't. This is true when reading "The Shack," "The Misunderstood God," and even the Bible. Gone are the days where we say, "The bible says it so you must believe it." That's not only dangerous but it's ridiculous. YOU must decide in your heart whether it's from God or from man. If you blindly believe because your church told you to, you gain nothing but more blindness.

  121. Gravatar
    James

    I rebuke you as a false teacher in the mighty name of Jesus Christ!! This is heresy!!! 2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. Hebrews 10:25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Revelation 2:16 Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth. John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Jesus IS GOD!!! You are leading people straight to hell with this false teaching, and you will answer to God for it!! REPENT WHILE THERE IS STILL TIME DARIN!!!

  122. Gravatar
    James

    I find it highly ironic that you dismiss the Bible as the Word of God but yet you use it out of context to support your arguments!! Get your eyes off of man, and off of church institutions that have let you down, and get your eyes on Jesus!! Acts 17:11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Here we see the early church searched the Scriptures daily!! 2 John 1:9 Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. Where do we get the doctrine of Christ? THE BIBLE!! Galatians 1:9 If anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.

  123. Gravatar
    James

    Matthew 4:4 “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” When satan tempted Jesus, what did Jesus say to him??? He quoted SCRIPTURE!! Joshua 1:8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 2 Peter 2:1-3 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.

  124. Gravatar
    James

    Psalm 119:11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You. How can we know if we have sinned against God if we do not know what His Word says??? You cannot depend on yourself or your "feelings" to tell you what is right and what is wrong! REPENT!!! fOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS AT HAND!!!

  125. Gravatar
    Crissy

    Hi Darin! I have read through this article and all the comments. What a wonderful thing you are doing, exposing the lies and speaking the Truth in love! Bless you!! Plus "The Misunderstood God" is now one of my top three books EVER. Jesus was exploding inside me as I read and my heart was just bursting over with Him as He revealed Himself to me more deeply through your precious words -- that came RIGHT STRAIGHT OUT OF YOUR HEART! You would love my friends Richard and Tim, if you haven't met them already, you must see their articles on the Bible: http://www.thegoodnessofgod.com/absolutebestbibletranslation.html (that's Richard's) and http://www.thissideofthecross.com/search.php?cx=partner-pub-4155273910432367%3Alovw7qx0iwq&cof=FORID%3A9&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=Jesus+vs+Jehovah&sa=Search&siteurl=thissideofthecross.com%2Findex.php&ref=thissideofthecross.com%2Fblog1%2F (Tim's). You are such a blessing to me brother! Thank you for following your HEART! It is beautiful. I see JESUS in you!!!!

  126. Gravatar
    anneb

    Eve was not deceived because she did not have a complete understanding of God's word (what word by the way?), she chose not to trust the Father, not to go BACK to him and ask HIM what satan said and why. Someone has said our minds can be persuaded and decieved by anything; only our spirits can perceive truth, so only strengthening our spirits through belief, communion and experiential relationship with the Father can protect us. And even if he choses to "deceive" us, so what? If our lives belong to him, he can do as he choses.

  127. Gravatar
    anneb

    Last, but not least, if Jesus "followed the Bible (Torah)" we would not have christianity ....He listened and followed God. When we do so now, it is again the "church" (pharisees) that condemn. Thank you Darin. I am so glad to be in a space to receive this. Four years ago I would not have been as I was just beginning my journey out of mainstream dogma and towards Christ. You are an oasis along the way of refreshing water.

  128. Gravatar
    Steve

    Three years ago I would have cried heresy. Today I cry for joy over articles like this. Grace free's souls to soar and breathe a different air altogether Darin. There has been such a soulshift in my life after 26 years of ministry and sure, these shifts have disturbed some, but I can only walk in the integrity of what is being revealed in ways I never believed possible. In the past I was plain scared if I did not do my Christian Aerobics daily - with sweat and tears. Now I am learning to love... Steve

  129. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Thanks Steve. How exciting.

  130. Gravatar
    Smithg269

    Hey esto es un gran poste. Puedo utilizar una porcin en ella en mi sitio? Por supuesto ligara a su sitio as que la gente podra leer el artculo completo si ella quiso a. Agradece cualquier manera. efceebgfak

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