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Quote Mining and the Bible

September 4, 2011

It always frustrates me when people take a quote out of context in order to make their point seem more valid.  The popular term for this is called “Quote Mining”.  Everybody does this to some extent, but some bring it to a deceitful level– possibly a criminal level.   There are countless examples of this including, but not limited to, the current presidential campaign speeches, the news media, young earth creationists, global warming deniers, etc.  When taken to the illogical extreme, quote mining can produce some very compelling quotes.  For example:

“There is no God” — Psalm 14:1

Of course, when put into context that passage really says:

“The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” ” — Psalm 14:1

Of course, quote mining is most successful when applied to a large body of text that is difficult to interpret, has been translated from different languages, and is old.  Especially a text where people are reluctant to read it themselves.  I am, of course, referring to the Bible.  Although other texts are not immune to it as well.  The works of Nostradamus are very fertile soil for quote mining!

So the question I had was, “How easy is it to quote mine the bible?”  I decided to try an experiment.  I asked my friends on Facebook for some statements that were obviously false.  I didn’t tell them why I wanted the statements.  Once I got some, I picked one out and attempted to justify it using scripture from the Bible.  What follows is a complete work of fiction.  It is made up, using quote mining and other techniques to make sense out of an irrational position.  Enjoy!

Well There's Your Problem!

“If you keep making that face, it will stick that way.”

Our parents have told us, over and over, “if you keep making that face it will stick that way!”  It seems like a harmless thing that parents say, but did you know it’s TRUE!  Making a face is not glorifying God.  Doing so is like thumbing your nose at God, dishonoring him and dishonoring our fellow Christians.  After all,  the Bible says:

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” –1st Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV

Throughout history, man has repeatedly made a face at God– usually regretting it quickly thereafter.  Man is a proud, arrogant type.  Willing to show irreverence and disdain at the drop of a hat.

“The expression of their faces bears witness against them,  And they display their sin like Sodom; They do not even conceal it. Woe to them! For they have brought evil on themselves.” — Isaiah 3:9 NAS

Micah, chapter 3, talks about a person who have done despicable things.  Awful things against God.  At the peak of this debauchery, he realizes what has happened.

“At that time he will hide his face from them because of the evil they have done.” — Micah 3:4 NIV

Of course, the punishment of making a face to God is severe:

“Then why do I see every strong man with his hands on his stomach like a woman in labor,  every face turned deathly pale? . . . Your wound is incurable, your injury beyond healing. There is no one to plead your cause, no remedy for your sore, no healing for you. . . Why do you cry out over your wound, your pain that has no cure?  . . . See, the storm of the LORD  will burst out in wrath, a driving wind swirling down on the heads of the wicked.” — Jeremiah 30 NIV

You see?  Making a face against God has no cure.  No healing.  In short, it will stay that way and you will live the rest of your days with that reminder of your sin wickedness.

While wickedness shows on your face, so can wisdom, strength, and reverence.

“Who is such as a wise man? and who knoweth the solving, either expounding, of a word? The wisdom of a man shineth in his cheer; and the mightiest shall change his face (The wisdom of a person shineth in their face; and maketh even the mightiest to change his expression, or his countenance).”  — Ecclesiastes 8:1 WYC

So to conclude:  Making faces at God is bad.  It’s disrespectful and rebellious.  God does not like it, and there is no cure for the punishment.  Don’t do it!  Remember, your mother said so!

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