Often on my FB (Facebook, for all of you who don’t succumb to this form of bondage – well, it can be) status I will print a scripture verse or verses. Sometimes, I would put a word or phrase in all caps. I did so to make a point, obviously.
But in the last couple of weeks I’ve thought through it a little. Even more recently I was responding to Amanda by telling her that one of her posts referred to some of my favorite Bible verses. I have been thinking that putting certain words or phrases (that are in the Bible) in bold, or underlining them or writing in all caps is mostly interpretation. Now, it’s valid to believe that God is making a point when He uses a word more than once in the same verse – i.e. Holy, Holy, Holy. And Jesus said in Matthew “ask, and keep on asking …” I believe He was making a point of the value of persistent praying.
What I’ve been pondering is the personal use of typography to quote scripture. If I choose to make something bold, or put it in all caps (which, btw, in the written form is somewhat like screaming it – so it also probably comes across as brazen), or even underlined, am I not deciding for myself what is important in that verse? It feels like I’m telling everyone to get the point of a specific verse – well, my point that is.
I have tried to be more careful in my scripture quoting (in written form) lately not to use typography to make the point. I think God’s words speak for themselves and what is more important is the context of the verses or passage. I think all too often we use the Bible to make our point. I do believe that God’s word speaks to us personally. I will often read a verse and will see something fresh and insightful that I didn’t recognize before. It seems it was just the word for me on that day! But for me to emphasize certain words for others’ lives is to fall short of the whole truth that God is speaking. I think that often the church, as a whole, has been guilty of too much emphasis on certain themes and principles in the Bible while almost ignoring others that are even more prominent and maybe more important from God’s perspective.
I could follow this post with a very long list of examples where pastors/teachers/authors have used only part of a verse to create entire sermons and books and philosophies, while never mentioning the context or the rest of the verse itself. I do not think this is how we are to use scripture. Too many partial verses, phrases, etc are lifted from the pages of the Bible to prove many things and to make many points.
I’m going to attempt to leave the “typography” to the Bible writers and continue to seek what God means for me to learn from the whole counsel of His word. I will let His Spirit emphasize the parts I need to especially note.
But as for you,<sup class="xref" value="(AB)”> continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how<sup class="xref" value="(AC)”> from childhood you have been acquainted with<sup class="xref" value="(AD)”> the sacred writings,<sup class="xref" value="(AE)”> which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that<sup class="xref" value="(AG)”> the man of God may be competent,<sup class="xref" value="(AH)”> equipped<sup class="xref" value="(AI)”> for every good work.