Have you noticed a growing interest in astrology lately? Even among diligent researchers and professional teachers, I see people talking about signs and how they match your personality. Outside of that small, though perhaps growing, group, a deeper problem lurks in our culture. People outside of the church see the Bible as no more legitimate or useful than astrology. Within the church, we have Christians who mishandle the word of God and treat it like their daily horoscope. The Bible is not your horoscope, but you may be treating it like one. Here are 3 signs you are treating the Bible like a horoscope.
1. You Treat it as Fictional Parables and Lessons
This first one is more pointed at skeptics, but Christians fall into this one too. It does not surprise me when skeptics do not believe the Bible is true. It does frustrate me, though, when they completely misunderstand what it is supposed to be. Some view the Bible much like astrology. It tells you stories and sayings to loosely apply to your life and not take too seriously. Put another way, they see it as a book of fairy tales about how to live your life. To this, I have one question. “How much of the Bible have you read?”
Skeptics often criticize the Bible for including things like slavery or polygamy. That criticism only makes sense if you have this mistaken view of the Bible. If the Bible is like a horoscope with helpful tips or harmless predictions to get through life, then yeah, you will come away with some weird and broken advice. If you correctly understand it as a history of God and his people, showcasing how God can use even the worst people to fulfill his plans, those examples make a lot more sense.
2. You Spin the Bible Verse Roulette
On the other side of the fence, Christians are guilty of a similar problem. We may take the Bible seriously, but not always serious enough to try and accurately understand it. Christians know they are supposed to read their Bibles but often think about their own problems more than learning about God. So what do we do? We open our Bible, flip to a random page, read a verse or two out of context, and hope that God sends us some incredible message through it.
To be clear, God can use moments like that to speak to us. This is not a doubt of God’s power but a criticism of our practice. It is also entirely possible for us to trick ourselves into thinking God spoke to us through a random verse out of context, saying the exact opposite of what the verse means. Pulling up random fluffy affirmations to make you feel good about your day is treating the Bible like a horoscope, not the word of God. Study takes time. Further, the Bible is filled with judgment and condemnation of sin. Yes, I come away from reading Jesus with a better feeling of hope forgiveness. I also come away with a stronger sense of my own shortcomings and failures.
3. You Want God to be your Fortune Teller
Like the 2nd, we look to the Bible not just for affirmation but with worries and fears. That doesn’t sound so bad, right? Of course, we should cast our cares upon him since he cares for us. That’s not what I mean here. I’m talking about the people who pray like God is a fortune teller. “God, will I get the job today? Should I ask her out? When will Jesus return? Is the cancer going to heal?” Desperate for God to answer, we spin the Bible roulette again.
Not to be dramatic, but that sounds less like prayer and Bible study and more like a Ouija board. This is treating the Bible with about as much respect as pulling up today’s horoscopes to know what your day will hold. We know fortune-telling is a bad idea, but we expect to play Bible roulette and have God talk to us like a fortune teller reading a tarot card. God never promised us that kind of information. Instead, he promised us peace to get us through those uncertainties. As uncertain as our daily lives may be, we know his promises are reliable.
Is it True?
Of course, that still misses the bigger question underneath: Is it true? If everything in the Bible is fabricated, then yeah, don’t take it seriously. If the events of the Bible, like the existence of God, creation, the incarnation of Jesus, and his resurrection, are not true, throw it out. If those things are true, treat it with the integrity it deserves. The Bible is not your horoscope, so don’t treat it like one.
Here is the thing, though. If it is true, there is one more thing to face. The Bible is not about you. Yes, the Bible was written for you, like everyone else, to share God’s word and message with humanity. But not every verse is something that holds a practical life lesson for your 21st-century life. Sometimes the first step in understanding the Bible is to stop treating it like a horoscope and realize it’s not about me but instead teaching me about God.
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