The Bible is NOT a Buffet + Worthy of the Calling Bible Study

The Bible is NOT a buffet. We don't get to pile our plates high with only the verses that satisfy our own personal tastes, and leave the rest for someone else to deal with. We don't get to pick and choose. We take it all, as it is, or we leave it all behind. There's no middle ground.

I know not everyone likes the Apostle Paul.

You don’t have to look very far to find someone complaining about his teachings regarding submission, male and female roles in the church, and a whole host of other things.

But the more I’ve gotten to know Paul’s story, the more I’ve come to believe people give Paul far too much credit.

It’s not like he came up with all this stuff on his own. My goodness!

If we believe the Bible is the infallible and inspired Word of God, we must also receive all the teaching in the Bible as coming directly from God, not man.

Including the epistles penned by the Apostle Paul.

If we believe the Bible is the infallible word of God, we need to stop treating it like a buffet.Click To Tweet

Peter defends the inspiration of the Bible when he says, “No prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20–21).”

We also see the infallibility of the Bible implied in 2 Timothy 3:16–17, “All Scripture is God-breathed” and has the effect of producing servants of God who are “thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

God, in His infinite wisdom and all-consuming power, used flawed men (like Paul) to pen His perfect words on parchment.

And God does not make mistakes.

Yes, Paul had his shortcomings, just like the rest of us.

But He was chosen by God to pen some of the most important spiritual truths mankind will ever know. And many of his writings ended up in our Bible.

Therefore, they are the Word of God.

Infallible. Inspired.  Irrevocable.

So our personal thoughts and opinions about Paul are somewhat irrelevant. Aren’t they?

Paul was chosen by God to pen some of the most important spiritual truths mankind will ever know. Click To Tweet

Unfortunately, many Christians focus on what they don’t like about Paul so they can justify ignoring His more “controversial” teachings in Scripture.

Things like submission, roles in marriage, and the church structure.

But the difficult truth is this: Sometimes we don’t like what God’s Word has to say on certain subjects, but that doesn’t give us the right to ignore it or twist it to fit our personal preferences.

The Bible is NOT a buffet. We don't get to pile our plates high with only the verses that satisfy our own personal tastes, and leave the rest for someone else to deal with. We don't get to pick and choose. We take it all, as it is, or we leave it all behind. There's not middle ground.

The Bible is NOT a buffet.

We don’t get to pile our plates high with all the verses that satisfy our own personal tastes, and leave the rest for someone else to deal with.

We don’t get to pick and choose.
We take it all, as it is, or we leave it all behind.
There’s no middle ground.

The Bible is not a buffet. We take it all, as it is, or we leave it all behind.Click To Tweet

For those of you who have been following along, you know I recently released a Bible study on the book of Ephesians.

And Ephesians, like many epistles in the New Testament, was written by the Apostle Paul.

Now, if I’m being completely honest, I did have some preconceived notions about Paul when I began working on this study—and they weren’t all positive.

And there were a few verses in this book that tasted like the gristle on the outer edges of a T-bone steak.

Oh how I longed to cut them off and set them aside!

They were tough, and chewy, and difficult to swallow.

But who am I to pick and choose may way through Scripture?

But who am I to pick and choose may way through Scripture?Click To Tweet

If I really believe it is the inspired Word of God, then I’ve got to take it as it comes.

Gristle and all!

The Bible is NOT a buffet. We don't get to pile our plates high with only the verses that satisfy our own personal tastes, and leave the rest for someone else to deal with. We don't get to pick and choose. We take it all, as it is, or we leave it all behind. There's not middle ground.

Since I launched my Worthy of the Calling Bible study last week, the questions have been pouring in.

Everything from, “Why did you choose Ephesians?” to “What is your personal Bible study routine?”

I’ve done my best to keep up with them on social media and via e-mail, but there’s one question I’d like to address right here on my blog today.

Here it is…

Which part of this Ephesians study was the most difficult to write and which part was the most enjoyable, and why?

That is a fantastic question!

I absolutely know which was the most difficult, so I will start there.

I really had a difficult time deciding what angle to tackle the concept of submission from (Ephesians 5:22-33).

It’s such a controversial subject in our culture, and I knew I needed to honor God’s Word while still treading carefully.

There were moments when I considered skipping over it, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.

Because, whether I like it or not, the Bible is not a buffet.

In the end, I penned these words about the subject in Days 23 & 24 of the study:

A wise woman believes in the absolute authority of the Creator to establish certain parameters for her life.

Her life is surrendered to God and she faithfully walks in submission to others.

Yes, submission is part of God’s design for you and me.

It is a willing yielding of self, a voluntary response to servant-leadership, and an essential ingredient in Paul’s recipe for holy living.

Whether we like it or not - Submission is part of God's design for you and me. Click To Tweet

Sacrificial love (husband) and submission (wife) are essential ingredients of a Godly marriage. Both require an intense dependency on Christ and a continual filling of the Holy Spirit.

Marriage needs to be less about husband and wife and more about sons and daughters of God submitting to His design.

Submission is not obedience. It’s not subordination. It’s simply a tender-hearted response to our Savior—a beautiful piece of His design.

The biblical concept of marriage (and roles in marriage) is being systematically and thoroughly dismantled by our culture.

The biblical concept of marriage is being systematically and thoroughly dismantled by our culture.Click To Tweet

We would be naivete to think worldly ideas and ideals aren’t seeping into the cracks of our own homes.

Ask God to reveal cracks in your marriage today and commit to doing everything in your power to “renovate your home” according to His design.

As for the my favorite part, well, that’s an even more difficult question to answer!

If I had to pick one verse that has had the deepest impact  on my own life, I would choose Ephesians 6:12, “For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.”

This particular verse comes right before Paul’s admonition to put on the full Armor of God, and it is one I always remind myself of when I am facing relational issues. This verse reminds me…

People are not our enemy—Satan is!
The real battle is not physical—it’s spiritual!

It’s always important to remind ourselves who our real enemy is, and it’s rarely (if ever) the person sitting across from us.

People are not our enemy—Satan is! Our battle is not physical—it's spiritual!Click To Tweet

Do you have a Worthy of the Calling question for me today? Wondering how I got started writing Bible studies or wanting to know my favorite takeaways from the book of Ephesians?  Post your question in the comments below, and I will do my best to answer it as promptly and thoughtfully as I can.

The Bible is NOT a buffet. We don't get to pile our plates high with only the verses that satisfy our own personal tastes, and leave the rest for someone else to deal with. We don't get to pick and choose. We take it all, as it is, or we leave it all behind. There's no middle ground.

Well, friends, I’m not a Biblical scholar, but I do know one thing:

Paul was tasked with one of the most controversial and complicated callings of all time.

A Jew sent to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles.

I do not envy the man…

But I have developed a deep admiration and appreciation for him.

Gristle and all.

I want to personally invite you to join me on this 31-day journey through the book of Ephesians.

Together we will learn about our identity in Christ and the spiritual wealth we have access to as daughters of God.

Join me on this 31-day journey through the book of Ephesians. It's free! Click To Tweet

We will discover God has provided all we need to walk worthy of the calling we have received.

This study was crafted with busy women in mind and can easily be completed on your mobile device or computer.

Sign Up for Sarah’s Free Online Bible Study

Register today and don’t forget to invite your friends to join us as we learn to walk Worthy of the Calling together. You will receive a welcome letter once you have confirmed your subscription and your first devotional will arrive in your inbox within 24-hours!

 

Thank you for vising my blog. I pray your time spent here has been worthwhile, and I hope you join us for the Worthy of the Calling free online Bible study.

Don’t forget to post your Worthy of the Calling questions in the comments below.

This article has been shared at my favorite Faith & Family Linkups.

Sarah Koontz

About Sarah Koontz

 
Sarah Koontz invites Christians of all ages to explore the beauty of God’s design. She is a passionate storyteller who enjoys using illustrations to communicate deep spiritual truths. Sarah lives on 13-acres in South Dakota with her husband, two daughters and a rowdy flock of 30 chickens. She revels in their simple, uncluttered life.

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Read Sarah’s full Bio Here.

36 thoughts on “The Bible is NOT a Buffet + Worthy of the Calling Bible Study

    1. Hi Karen, thanks for swinging by. I’m so glad to know the illustration hit the mark. God’s word is a delightful feast, but we must remember not to pick and choose our way through it.

  1. I’m so glad to be apart of the launch team for this beautiful bible study! Such a great post! We certainly are not supposed to pick and choose what aspects of the bible look appealing to us and then leave behind the things that are good for us! God bless!

    1. And I am so happy to partner with you, Melissa. It has been a joy to get to know you a bit better through this process. It is difficult to take the Bible as it is sometimes, but is for our good.

  2. Hi Sarah! I really love this reminder that the entire word of God is given for our edification…we can’t pick and choose what we want to obey. Well said! Thanks for sharing!

  3. I love this concept (and truth): The Bible is not a Buffet. Your post invites us to take an honest look at how we view the totality and authority of Scripture. Thanks Sarah!

  4. Your title at LMM caught my eye, so I had to come over and read. And I can echo a hearty amen! I’m so thankful I had encouragement very early in my Christian life to read the whole Bible.

  5. It is amazing how God is giving me exactly everything I need!!! It just I am in awe right now. My husband had been sharing with me the other day some views he had on the Bible and how the Mormon faith was very appealing to him. I remember saying yes but what about the verse in relvalations do not add to this book. His response was something to the effect which left me feeling that he didn’t have much trust in all the Bible said. That because it had been translated so many times. That there is no expert on the Bible. He also has a lot of anger towards church. Today I stumble on this extra on this blog about how Everything in the Bible is not from man but from God. I wrote in my journal in big letter because all the sudden my anxiety of him not trusting in the Bible fell away. For I now has the answers where as I didn’t before. The answer is the only expert on the Bible IS God!!! Then the verse 2 Timothy 3:16-17 confirmed it even more. That even though it has been translated many many times if we trust and believe in god that what it says today is how God means for it to be! God’s hand is a part of the word. It was an awesome answer to prayer. Because after my Bible study I stepped out and saught out bibleical counsle for what I was going through with my husband and it amazes me to see what god has placed at my lap!!

    1. Oh, God is so good, Kimberly. Thank you for sharing your testimony with me. What a blessing when God provides exactly what we need. He is so faithful to us! I highly recommend you look into Josh McDowell’s materials. Especially his book, Evidence that Demands a Verdict. I read it when I was young, and questioning all sorts of things about the faith, and he helped me find the answers I was searching for (with solid logic, and historical evidence). Here’s a link to his online apologetic resources: https://www.josh.org/resources/apologetics/answering-skeptics/

      Saying a prayer for you and your husband right now. Trusting God will continue to guide and provide!

      1. God had already told me he had it but I was just in awe when he backed it up with his word right plainly out for me to see. just continue to be in awe of him daily!

  6. I love Paul because he is not perfect. Oh, my goodness if I had put the Bible together I would have made a mess of it. I would have included only perfect people and so unrelatable that no one would want to read it. I agree the Bible is not a buffet. Great words of wisdom.

  7. Hi Sarah! Thank you for writing this beautiful truth. There have been many times in my life that God has told me something I didn’t want to hear, either through scripture or an answer to prayer. But the harder the truth God gives me, the more I need to hear it. May God bless you!

  8. THE BIBLE MOST CERTAINLY IS NOT A BUFFET, I DECLARE IT TO BE A “ONE MEAL SUFFICE ALL”. SIMPLY PUT “THE SOUL SUSTAINING TRUTH”. SARAH, I HAVEN’T PARTICIPATED IN A LOT OF POSTINGS, HOWEVER I HAVE SHARED THE STUDY OF EPHESIANS ON MY FB PAGE. I ALSO WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT THIS STUDY IS SO GREATLY ENHANCING MY SPIRITUAL GROWTH. PLEASE BE ENCOURAGED MY SISTER FOR EVERYONE WHO PARTICIPATES IN YOUR STUDIES AND GLEAN FROM YOUR MINISTRY, ARE ADDED AS JEWELS IN YOUR CROWN

    1. Annie, I love your enthusiasm and wholeheartedly agree with your conclusions. Soul Sustaining Truth…and such a gift! I’m so happy you joined me for this launch, and appreciative of any support and encouragement you’ve been able to offer. Thank you for your kind words. I’m so glad to know you are enjoying the study.

  9. Our Pastor always talks about people in today’s world, picking and choosing what they want to believe. Your post goes directly with that and has so much great information. I pray that people will understand that even the parts that aren’t comfortable for them, are so important!

  10. Way to go. I think you did an incredible job tackling the subject of submission. I especially love the reminder that “man is not our enemy, satan is.”

    Thank you for your encouragement and a reminder to love my husband well today.

  11. Awesome post! I’ve been studying the epistles of Paul very thoroughly. I started with Ephesians on my own and with resources but I’m signed up for yours too as you can never learn too much.

    The guy I’m watching videos of online talks a lot about Paul and how many people want to forget about him or say he’s not a real apostle and that we should be following Peter but he makes a good case for Paul. Peter and the other apostles preached to the Jews but Paul preached to the Gentiles which was most of us. Also he points out many places where what Paul teaches is a little different than Peter and how God shows us in the bible that we should be following Paul.

    1. Kathleen, I’ve heard similar teachings and they are quite scary. Do we believe God was the author of the Bible or not? If so, then we need to take the full counsel of His Word into account. Sure there are different personalities, different stories, different approaches. But only one God. And He makes no mistakes and no contradictions.

  12. Sarah, I like how you point out that God, not Paul came up with biblical teachings. I think our culture has elevated some verses over others and that makes them distasteful. When Scripture is read in context it makes so much more sense. Even the verse on a wife submitting to her husband is in the context of both submitting to the Holy Spirit and to each other. God knows the best way for us to become one flesh and only that makes a satisfying marriage.

    1. We do tend to focus on the teachings in the Bible that make us feel good, don’t we Debbie? I agree, context is so important! What people fail to realize is although Paul is talking about marriage when he covers submission, his true point is to let us know that marriage is meant to be an earthly example of Christ’s relationship with the church. Also, Paul encourages us to submit to one another (not just in marriage), just like you said. Such important details that are often left out.

    1. That’s awesome, Mary. Thanks for letting me know. No Facebook group for this study. Since it’s an on-demand study and I’ve got new people joining each day, it would be very difficult to manage a FB group for it. Maybe in the future we can figure something out, as the community would be great!

  13. Love this! So true. What a great analogy. It is all too easy to pick up what we love and what is comfortable and leave the unpleasant things on the table. But God put it all their for our best. Thanks for the reminder!

  14. Great post Sarah! I would agree that today many tend to pick and choose the words of God. I also find it somewhat discouraging when writers and speakers dilute the word of God. I am so thankful for those who share God’s word, His truth. Thank you for being the Salt and Light!

    1. I couldn’t agree more, Robin. Many dilute the Bible, or cherry-pick it. So sad! I was just talking with my husband about it last night, and we both agree it simply takes more work to study the Bible in an exegetical manner.

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