How do you view the hard passages of the Bible?

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living©

For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.”
(2 Thessalonians 3:10 (NIV))

Have you ever heard the saying “hard passages of the Bible?” This saying refers to passages that we choose to ignore because they are difficult to understand, or because they are difficult to follow. 2 Thessalonians 3:10 is definitely one of these hard passages, and I will probably step on some toes with this.

Think about those words. “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.”

How do we balance this with the teachings of Jesus? Didn’t He feed the five thousand? Didn’t He tell the parable of the Good Samaritan? How can these teachings coexist with 2 Thessalonians 3:10?

Refusing to work could be considered deceitful, arrogant and folly. These are sins. It is God’s desire for each of us to do his or her part. If we do not do as God desires, we miss the mark. We sin.

For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man `unclean.’ ”
(Mark 7:22-23 (NIV))

Have you ever known someone who proclaimed a faith in Jesus, but expected everything to be given to them? This is arrogance. We are all sinners. No one deserves anything that is given to us. It is given to us out of grace. Those who expect things to be given to them do not understand God’s grace. They see God as the provider of all that they ask, not as a loving Father who desires spiritual maturity for His creation.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV))

Paul was the author of both 2 Thessalonians and 2 Timothy. God used Paul to show us that even the “hard passages” must be applied in our lives. It is the hard passages that define those who earnestly seek after God’s heart. We are to have compassion and feed the hungry. We are to have compassion and teach the hungry how to feed themselves. This enables us to move on to others who are hungry. It is a fine line that we must walk. We must walk it with prayer, after all, sin is sin, and not a single person alive is without sin.

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
(Matthew 18:21-22 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2009 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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