When the Bible Makes You Mad

Why do you read the Bible? Do you go to it for encouragement? For comfort? To learn more about God?

Or do you pick up the Bible to hear God tell you things you’d rather not hear?

It’s great to read the Bible for encouragement and comfort, but we’ve got to acknowledge that at some point, the Bible is going to make you mad. In fact, if the Bible doesn’t periodically bother you, you’re not reading it right. No one reads the Bible and is fully affirmed for who they naturally are.

Now, to be perfectly clear, it’s also possible to be mad because someone is misinterpreting the Bible. That’s less about the Bible and more about the Bible teacher. I should know: Through the years, I’ve learned to accept loving rebukes when I was insensitive or immature in the way I portrayed God’s Word.

In other words, if I’m the reason you’re mad, I want to change. But if the Bible is the reason you’re mad? Well, let me just say that it’s not the Bible that needs to change.

Often, when people get upset with Scripture, they claim that the Bible isn’t being clear. But there’s a big difference between the Bible being unclear and unpopular.

Unsurprisingly, the places people today find the Bible most “unclear” are the places it’s least popular in our society. The Bible is not particularly unclear, for instance, on God’s design for sex and the family. But the biblical view is definitely unpopular. So rather than bend our practices to the Bible, we try to bend the Bible to our cultural practices.

Listen: Through the Bible, God is speaking. The question is, Are we listening? Are we putting ourselves in a posture of acceptance, listening to the Word of God and allowing that Word to both affirm and transform us? Are our toes getting stepped on every once in a while?

Good. That’s what we want. No matter how unfashionable or unpopular or bizarre, we need to listen for the hard truth.