Applying Difficult Passages

Biblical Counseling Coalition | 9/19/2018 | Mike Emlet (CCEF)
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BCC Staff Note: This article was originally posted to the CCEF blog on June 13, 2018. Click here to read the original post.

We know that all Scripture is meant to shape us for good (2 Tim. 3:16-17), but what happens when we encounter passages that defy connection to our daily lives? Numbers 5:11-31 is one such passage. If you’ve never read it, now would be a good time! Briefly, it records the procedure to follow when a husband suspects his wife of being unfaithful in the absence of witnesses. The jealous husband brings his wife to the priest who mixes “bitter water” for her to drink. She takes an oath, and if she is guilty, the water brings a curse — pain, and inability to conceive children. If she’s innocent, no harm will befall her. If you’re like me, your first reaction may be, “Huh?!” or “I think I’ll skip ahead to chapter 6” (oops, no good, that chapter is about taking Nazirite vows, also not something that I plan on doing anytime soon.) Numbers 11 perhaps? Ah, there’s something I can identify with – the Israelites are grumbling and complaining to God. Now that’s applicable!

God - Passages - Verses - Lives - Passages

But God doesn’t intend for us to cherry-pick passages and verses that seem to connect easily with our lives while ignoring other passages which, at first glance, have nothing to say to us. Remember that God addressed Numbers 5 and Numbers 11 to his people at the same point in history. If Numbers 11 is “applicable” and Numbers 5 is not, what are we saying?! Are parts of God’s Word more valuable than others? No, we should always expect God to speak meaningfully into our lives wherever we are in Scripture. God’s revelation is meant to inform and transform His people, both when it was...
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