Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Why I Rarely "Proof Text"

Often people have been a little critical over the fact that I rarely “proof text” when writing. A few weeks ago I received a rather lengthy comment on one of my school papers from a fellow student upset over the lack of proof texting found throughout my post.

He is right, I do rarely proof text and here is why…

I find it rather pointless, ripping selected scripture out of a much bigger narrative to prove my point. Anyone could “prove” almost anything by proof texting. Just last week someone gave me the verses Romans 10:9-13 to ‘prove that it is so easy to ask forgiveness and be saved from hell and go to heaven (those were his words).

Here is Romans 10:9-13

9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”[e] 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”[f]

First of all, nowhere in this text are the words, forgiveness, heaven, or hell. This guy had taken a few verses which were part of a bigger chapter which was part of a bigger letter, ripped them from their context and tried to make them fit something he already believed. There is a good reason why Paul wrote 16 chapters worth of a letter rather than 4 verses.

As I said, anyone can do this with almost any point of view. If I waned to justify stoning my children when they disobey I could quote scripture to support my beliefs. (Deut 21:18-21) - now was that very helpful?

(I do not in anyway want to stone my children, but you get the point).

So while I know many will disagree with the whole anti proof texting, I suggest we try and let the scriptures as a whole speak for themselves while leaving them in their context and their over all narrative. Its dangerous not to.

I get it and understand why people proof text. I personally prefer not to.

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