Tuesday, May 10, 2016

When your quiver has no arrows in it

Anyone who has read the book of Genesis would know that in the first chapter, God gives humanity a mandate to procreate and populate the earth (Genesis 1:27-28, 2:24), and that this mandate was renewed after the flood to Noah and his sons (Genesis 9:1), and later to Jacob (Genesis 35:1). Jesus later affirmed it in Matthew 19:4-6.

The meaning of these verses is straightforward enough, yet some Christians have found a creative way to interpret them. I think back to my encounters with members of the Potter's House, a controversial sect which originated in Arizona in 1970, and was first established in Australia in 1978. 

One Saturday morning in a local shopping strip, a couple of their members were handing out tracts to passers by. I stopped to talk to them. They asked me about my personal life, When I told them that I was unmarried and had no children, they tried to tell me that being single is a sin. As I don't like conflict, I didn't debate this point with them. I can only surmise that they were using God's population mandate as their authority, and correlated this with the Bible's consistent affirmations of marriage and family. 

Most of what I've learnt about how my car works comes from when it breaks down. In much the same way, I've learnt about good hermeneutics from examples of questionable or bad Biblical interpretation. Examples such as this one remind me how important it is to read the Bible carefully and intelligently, and to also be careful in practically applying it to one's life. It affirms singleness as much as it does marriage. Those married Christians who often treat unmarried Christians as inferior to them need to read their Bibles more often, and see them as God sees them; loved and valued.

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