On March 25-26 several luminaries will be participating in Heather Elizabeth’s Safer Spaces Virtual Summit, designed to help church and ministry leaders understand abuse and make their spaces safer. I’m privileged to join them. In my talk, I’ll be giving an overview of several Scripture twistings and presenting what the Bible really says.
You can get more information about that here. (Scroll almost to the bottom of that link to see all the bios.)
In April I’m honored to be one of the breakout speakers at Joy Forrest’s Called to Peace Ministries Women’s Retreat in the Asheville, NC, area. Talking about Untwisting Scriptures again for some reason? Haha.
That retreat will be Thursday evening April 7th through Sunday April 10th at noon. If you’d like to come but can’t afford it, you can ask for a scholarship–I’d love to see you there! More information here.
And my biggest news is that yes, I’ve been working on Untwisting Scriptures book #4 and hope to be finished with it within a few weeks. What do you think of the subtitle “Hypocrisy, Idolatry, Sin Leveling, Wolves, Grace, and Righteousness”?
Ha, I’m going for the “longest book title of the year” award. I was going to subtitle it “Righteousness and Wickedness” but figured that didn’t sound interesting enough.
News flash and update: My assistant has suggested that I make a “book title poll” on my Rebecca Davis Untwisting Scriptures Facebook page, so you can find that at this link here. (If you don’t want to darken the door of Facebook, believe me I understand that. Maybe you can suggest to me what social media platform would be a good substitute.)
Right now this book looks like it will have four sections (but this is subject to change, of course):
Part 1: God’s Children Are Not Vile and Disgusting, But Have Full Access to Joyful Righteousness: This section has three chapters.
Part 2: Instead of Sin Leveling, Understand Degrees of Sin: This section has five-ish chapters (I think).
Part 3: We Can Be “Wise as Serpents” about Wickedness and Hypocrisy: This section has around six chapters.
Part 4: We Can Flourish in Our Christian Lives: This section has just two chapters. I could have made it (a lot!) longer, but eventually I want to do an entire book on the Christian life, so this seems like enough for now.
For this book I’m digging through my website archives, as far back as eight years ago, and bringing up and editing articles, along with new material, that fit the theme of “Righteousness and Wickedness.” I’m excited about this one and hope it will be an encouragement to many.
I also hope I’ll have
(1) some subscribers who’ll be interested in reading the rough draft of the book in order to help it become a better book (my subscribers were amazing about that last time!!) and
(2) some subscribers who will help me with my Book Launch when that time comes.
If you’d like to read the rough draft when it’s ready (soon, I hope!), you can reply to this email and tell me so. That would be great!
It could be that my news section is longer than my actual blog post today. But here’s what’s on my heart.
Today, as I was working on Untwisting Scriptures #4 (long potential subtitle above), I decided to look up Jerry Bridges’ book Respectable Sins and read some reviews on it. (I’ve never read the book but might eventually read it and possibly do a critique of it.)
What immediately disturbed me about the reviews was the number of people who said, “We’re studying this book in our Bible study group.”
It reminded me of when someone asked me, “Rebecca, do you have a book to recommend for our women’s Bible study?”
I said something like, “I usually recommend that people start with one of the gospels. John has some amazing sermons that springboard off of miracles Jesus did.”
She said, “I didn’t mean a book of the Bible.” And she indicated that they were looking for a topical book by a modern Christian author.
I said, “Oh, then, what you’re doing is a book study, not a Bible study.”
There’s nothing wrong with a book study. I’ve participated in a few, and I actually had a book to recommend to her.
But it’s not a Bible study.
Even if the book quotes from the Bible, it’s not a Bible study.
In Untwisting Scriptures #3, in the chapter called “Is it Righteous Anger or Sinful?” I critiqued some notes that the authors had written inside their extremely popular “study Bible.” I wrote:
“A word about study Bibles. . . . They can lead you astray. The Scriptures are the words of God, but the notes in study Bibles are the words of man.
I have an old wide-margin Scofield Bible from my youth, which through the years has been my main study Bible, but I’ve seen Scofield’s notes as no more authoritative than my own. At times I’ve vehemently argued with him in the margins. I’ve crossed out his headings and replaced them with my own.
Study Bibles can be useful if you see the notes as no more than another person talking to you. This might be someone who deeply knows God and His ways or someone who has been influenced more by the words of men than the word of God. It could be someone who understands the complexity of the human condition and can truly help, or it might be someone who has an agenda not fully in line with the Word of God.”
I would be aghast if anyone told me they were studying one of my books for a Bible study. My books don’t replace the Bible. Nor does anyone else’s. All of our books—mine, Jerry Bridges’, even the Puritans’—are only our interpretations and restructuring of what we believe the Bible teaches.
But you have the source. You can actually go to the Bible itself. You can dig into it together with your study group. You can point out how this section in this letter reminds you of a section in the Old Testament that the author was alluding to. You can write your own cross references. You can ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to His truth.
Books can be very helpful—I’ve thanked God for certain authors who have helped me better know Him and His ways.
But these writings need to be judged against the whole counsel of the Word of God. And how can we judge them if we don’t really even know the Bible but only what others have written about it?
You have a great blessing—the Word of God is accessible to you. Study the Bible, and in there get to know the true God, the Lord Most High, the King of Kings, the Good Shepherd, Himself, through His own words. You have a rich reward awaiting.