Scripture for War or Peace?

John D. Barry

Like many people, I use Scripture to defend my views. But so does Satan. In Matthew 4, the devil says: “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you’ ” (Matt 4:6, citing Psa 91:11–12). In turn, Jesus responds with Scripture, “Again, it is written, ‘You are not to put the Lord your God to the test’ ” (Matt 4:7, citing Deut 6:16, coupled with Isa 7:12).

While the devil used Scripture for his own purposes, Jesus used them for God’s. This teaches us that Scripture alone isn’t enough: it must be contextualized and balanced with other Scripture.

This story raises the question, “Will we use Scripture to defend our own positions, or use it to defend God’s?” It’s easy to quote Scripture only to defend our personal theological position. Sometimes we are too focused on being “right” and not necessarily on helping other believers. However, while we might believe that being “right” will ultimately help them, it’s possible that we’re inhibiting the gospel message instead. We might even be the one driving them away.

Many of us have some relationships that are plagued by a need to be right or to use Scripture in our personal war. But that needs to change.

When we use Scripture for our own gains or battles, we are acting like Christ’s tempter—not Christ. We might think that we are defending the gospel, but if it’s not about Christ’s virgin birth, suffering, death, resurrection, or continued presence in our lives, it’s really not about the fundamental truths. It’s about our battle—about what we want. Instead, let’s act more like Christ. Let’s use Scripture in the proper context, balancing it with other Scripture.

How do you need to change the way you’re using Scripture?

This article was originally published in Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan.