The Bible is not an Elective

Written by Emily Hein / April 2018


As I’m getting closer to my senior year, academic advisors and professors have been stressing to my class that it’s important to choose which technical electives to take senior year. They advise that you should take classes that interest you, but also classes that will be helpful in advancing your career. In my major, there’s a list of acceptable electives that will allow you to graduate on time, but the choice is ultimately up to you. Picking classes can be stressful, but in the end, hopefully you’re left with a plan that matches what you want for your future.

What if God’s Word was like picking electives? What if you got to see the list of acceptable teachings, pick the ones that fit the best with your ideas or what you want to be true, and simply ignore the ones that you don’t want to believe? This very thing happens every day. People decide to go to the modern church that allow women to be pastors, or to the accepting church that teaches that there’s nothing wrong with being homosexual, or to the pro-choice church that preaches that a baby isn’t really a baby until it’s left its mother’s womb.

But what does God say about all this? There are many passages in the Bible that deal with the Scriptures and what is or is not true:

“The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.” – Psalm 119:160

“Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.” – Proverbs 30:5-6

“Sanctify them by Your truth; Your word is truth.” – John 17:17

God tells us repeatedly that His Word is true. There is no wiggle room. You can’t add or subtract anything. It’s not a poem that can be dissected to determine what the author’s intentions were with such and such a phrase. When God states that He hates “a false witness who speaks lies” (Proverbs 6:19), that is exactly what He means. There was no hidden meaning when the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write that “neither fornicators, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).

Our sinful nature makes it difficult for us to admit to ourselves that we are doing something wrong when we change God’s Word. Our Old Adam wants to continue living in sin without feeling guilty, so we convince ourselves that God doesn’t really condemn homosexuality, or stealing, or living together before marriage, or lying, or any other pet sin that we might have. Our sinful nature would rather change God’s Word than own up to our mistakes.

However, Scripture isn’t all law. The apostle Paul continues in 1 Corinthians 6:11: “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”

We don’t get to pick and choose which teachings of the law are true. But the same goes for the teachings of the gospel. God tells us that “he who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16), so we know this to be true. Rather than looking for teachings that fit with our beliefs, we should believe what God teaches! We ought to seek out a church that follows God’s Word, as the congregation in Berea “searched the Scriptures daily” to ensure that they were being taught the Word of God in its truth and purity (Acts 17:10).

I don’t know if the electives I’ve picked for my senior year will be any more helpful than the ones I decided not to take. But thanks be to God that I don’t have to worry about the same issue with His Word! I know that what I read in the Bible is one hundred percent pure and true. By knowing that the Scriptures are true, we can have complete confidence in our salvation when we read what God tells us in Ephesians 2:8-9: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”