Yes. It’s absolutely true; taking any statement, particularly scripture, out of context, is dangerous. I encourage each of you to read and study as much of the Bible as you possibly can. That being said, there are those among us who insist that, in order to be of any value, the Bible must be read in its entirety, with each word taken literally, and nothing taken figuratively. And these people are willing and able to defend their view loudly, passionately and unequivocally, till the cows come home! That’s their prerogative. I wish them well. However, not even the most foolhardy among us, if confronted with eating an elephant, would embark on this endeavor by attempting to swallow the entire pachyderm whole! To do so would be extravagantly imprudent, unquestionably lethal, and almost certainly ruin ones taste for elephant! If an entire elephant is to be eaten without discombobulating ones pallet, it must be taken one tiny bite at a time. Each bite must be methodically chewed and vigorously washed down with something equal to the task, in moderation of course. The same holds true for the Bible.
I’ve been a Christian for over fifty years. Christianity works for me. It doesn’t make everyday a picnic. When you truly care about Christ’s message, life breaks your heart. But daily applying Christ’s message to my life has given me hope, faith, charity, and occasionally joy. I’m not just messing with you. It actually has. If you believe something else works better for you, knock yourself out, but if you see anything in my life that suggests to you that Christianity works for me, and you’re interested in trying it, I have a suggestion. My favorite scripture is Micah, Chapter 6, verse 8: “He has showed you, O man, what is good, and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” That verse has served me well throughout my life. Take it and make it yours. Plant it in bright, sunny corner of your memory. Water it with your tears; feed it daily with your contemplation, and encourage it with your most persuasive smile. See if it doesn’t take root and reveal new verses. Try that for awhile and let me know what you think. If it doesn’t work, go ahead and swallow the elephant! S. T. Casebeer