How To Make A Passage Say What It Doesn’t Say- In One Easy Lesson!

An article in today’s Columbus Dispatch (June 20, 2007) titled Only Adam and Eve? is an interesting exercise in obfuscation. Using techniques that aspiring writers are taught to avoid in Journalism 101, Leviticus 18:22 and Galatians 3:28 are compared side by side.

Homosexuality is wrong. The Bible says so. Leviticus 18:22.

You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; such a thing is an abomination.

But wait. What about Galatians 3:28?

There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

A powerful argument you say? Well, not really. As anyone experienced in reading any document, especially the Bible, knows quotes and passages pulled out of their context for use as proof texts can make the document say virtually anything. Anyone who has spent time reading the Bible knows that you should never read a verse. You should read the chapter at least and the entire book preferably and, even more preferably, compare the verse to the whole of Scripture.

This simple principle works with reading the newspaper, too. Take, for instance, an article in the same date’s Dispatch called Debit Program Helps You Save On Property Taxes. In this article we read about a woman who “…didn’t want to lend the county her money, and she didn’t intend to face a 10 percent late fee.” But we see that a county official says that “A lot of people really love it,” thus throwing the woman’s concerns into doubt. Why is she worried about early payments and penalties? People love it!

Of course, reading the article in context shows that these two excerpts can’t be interpreted as I have done here. They don’t fit together to paint an accurate picture of what was actually said as I have juxtaposed them. And neither do the two non-contextual biblical passages quoted in the prior article. In this light Galatians 3:28 does not say what the author of the article wants you to think it says.

What do you think? Read the article and leave a comment below.