Is it possible to adulterate the Bible? Is it possible to “use” Scripture for selfish purposes?
The answer to both those questions is most definitely “yes.”
If the idol of my heart is R-E-S-P-E-C-T (caught you singing, didn’t I?) then I am prone to find verses that demand you give me just that…say for example:
“We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you” (1 Thess 5:12).
Then, when as a pastor, I do not “get” respect, I am tempted to curse God and fight with the very people I am called to serve to get them to respect me…AND…then wonder why my world is a mess. As an aside, husbands become voluntary slaves to this same disease when they think their job is to get their brides to respect them (get) rather than seeing their responsibility is to love their brides (give).
Please notice that verse never commands me to GET respect from you…BUT that is exactly how the heart in slavery to the idol of respect will read it. My heart must bend the knee to verses like 1 Peter 5:2-3.
“Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.”
Instead of using the Bible “to get,” I must submit to it where I must GIVE. Indeed, the pastor (and husband/father) is called to follow Jesus in His model of servant leadership.
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
“We cannot use the Bible as a divine self-help book! We will always try to use it to get the things our hearts are set on, though this is precisely the bondage that sabotages our relationships. The Redeemer lived, died, and rose again so that we would no longer live for ourselves but for him and his glory (2 Cor. 5:14-15)” (Paul David Tripp, Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands, 28).
Beloved, please do not use the sacred Scripture to feed yourself, but to feed another.
10,000 Blessings in The Great Giver,
Rod and Staff Ministries