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Can We Have God AND Reject His Word?

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I often receive comments from people who say they are Christians. They go to church. They may even tithe.  They believe in God. They say they believe in Jesus. But then they say,

“The Bible is not supposed to be taken literally. It doesn’t apply to anyone today. You can’t live by the Bible! You have been brainwashed if you believe that the Bible is true!”

I believe with everything that is in me that the Bible is the Word of God, the only source of absolute truth. I am completely heartbroken that anyone might teach that the Bible  is meaningless and irrelevant to people today. They say we can live however we want to, we don’t have to pay any attention to the Bible. The Word of God is irrelevant!?!? No!!!! May it never be!

I  just want to weep over each one who has been caught in this idea. How incredibly dangerous! To think you belong to Christ and think you are going to heaven because you said a prayer one time or because you went to church most Sundays or walked down an aisle and filled out a piece of paper – but to have completely missed who He is and a real relationship with Him – to have never yielded your life to Him as LORD of all in your life. This is what Jesus calls His followers to do. All of us. He is completely worthy of our giving ALL of ourselves to Him in full submission – as a response to all that He has done to provide salvation for us. Our obedience doesn’t earn us heaven. Only Jesus’ death on our behalf and His resurrection can secure heaven for us as we put all of our faith and trust in Him. Our obedience comes out of our thankfulness for all Jesus did for us and by the power of God’s Spirit flooding our souls to empower us to walk in obedience.

This is the kind of  critical misunderstanding that could easily end up causing someone to face condemnation when they stand before God rather than life in heaven through Christ Jesus. It is vital that we understand the importance of God’s Word, the Bible, today! The Bible is the primary way we get to know who Jesus and God are and it is where we learn how to have a real relationship with God. I want EVERYONE to come to know Christ and to have the eternal Life He offers to us all!

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began. John 17:1-5

Can we possess Christ Jesus and simultaneously reject His Word and refuse to obey Him in areas where we disagree with the Bible? Is He really our LORD if we do this?

Let’s look at what Jesus had to say about that…

  • “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law. Matthew 7:21-28


  • If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” Mark 8:38


  • In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:1-5 (God’s Words are so important that Jesus is literally called “the Word.” God speaks and BIG things happen. His Words are very important!)


  • If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”… Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. John 14:15-24


  • “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other. John 15:5-17
  • All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. II Timothy 3:16-17

There are some who will do all that they can to undermine the things of God. These people do not know God. Because if they knew God, they would love God, people and the things of God.

“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. Matthew 12:30

But we are to be very different, my precious sisters! The world has a culture of hatred. Believers in Christ are to have a culture of love. In fact, Jesus says that the world will know that we are His disciples because we love one another. John 13:35

God calls us to submit to Christ as LORD. That is in EVERYTHING. There is no area of our lives where we are to be autonomous or where we are not to bow to the wisdom and Headship of Christ in our lives.



There are several primary ways we have knowledge of God:

  • Creation tells us that there is a mighty, powerful, wise Creator
  • God has put a longing for relationship with Him in our souls
  • God’s Word, the Bible
  • God’s Spirit speaking to us in agreement with His Word
  • Other people sharing God’s Word with us and what He has done in their lives.

God has revealed Himself to us by the Bible. That is the best way we can get to know who He is, what He is like, what He wants, what He has done for us and His will. If the Bible is not true, we have nothing of value at all as believers in Christ! The Words of Christ are a treasure for us. They are life, power, joy and peace! They are living and active, sharper than any sword or scalpel. God uses the Bible to teach, prune, refine, love and shape us into the image of Christ.

How I pray that we might hold up the authority of God’s Word in our churches today! The oldest temptation in the world is the serpent’s temptation to Eve, “Did God really say…?” “Can you really trust God’s Word? Or maybe there is something much better for you in the world!”

We are hearing that same temptation now:

  • The Bible isn’t really God’s Word.
  • Only parts of the Bible are true.
  • Those verses don’t apply to us today.
  • The Bible isn’t meant to be taken literally.
  • The Bible is no longer culturally relevant.

One of the reasons the church is in the dismal, comatose, worldly, sinful, miserable, dead state that it is in today is that we have absorbed the lies of our culture that undermine God and the authority of His Word. We have embraced lies and sin and we have abandoned the Bible. We have forfeited the power of God’s Spirit because we have grieved Him with our disobedience. 🙁 How I pray we will hold fast to the Bible and cling to the Jesus of the Bible as He presents Himself there – not some made up Jesus that fits our desires and is politically correct. He is our only hope and salvation! We have veered VERY far away from the truth of God as a nation, as a culture and even as Christians. We are going to have to make some very significant and painful course corrections to get back to the narrow path that leads to Life. It will be politically incorrect. It will go against our sinful natures. The world will not understand.

That is ok.

I pray for a massive movement of God’s Spirit to awaken us to Himself, to His Word and to His Spirit’s power – that this generation might become a generation that loves God far more than anything in the world and who loves His Word and who live in the power of God’s Spirit filling us. That is the only way to have the joy and power of Christ – to trust Him and to obey Him.

I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ or of Jesus’ Words. Through His Words and His Spirit He has completely transformed my life and my soul.  I have seen Him do so many miracles in so many marriages, I can’t even count them all! Praise God! His Word is true and we can depend on and trust both His Word  and  Him. How I pray we will rightly handle the Word of God and pass on a godly legacy to those who come behind us!


Please check out the discussion in the comments! I wish I could address all of these issues in the post, too, but it is already way too long!


RELATED – Here are a few of the topics in the New Testament that we have been told are culturally irrelevant today – basically all of the topics pertaining to women in the New Testament. (Of course there are many others, as well, some of which are probably a lot more important.) These are not central doctrines that are necessary for our salvation. They are side issues. But God has used these passages of scripture to richly bless my life and deepen my walk with him and deepen the strength of our marriage.

What if  God DID intend for those passages to be in the Bible and what if they are a treasure for us?

I invite you to check out these passages that have been so often ignored in our churches and prayerfully consider them yourself.  Don’t just take my word for these things. Wrestle with them. Take your time and read them over and over and pray for God’s wisdom. Talk with your husband about them if he is a believer. Seek God’s will and seek to walk in obedience to Him. Hash these things out in your quiet time and in your journal. Share your concerns here. You are always welcome to comment. 🙂 I don’t judge anyone about what she decides on these things. We will all answer to God. No one will ever answer to me! That is for sure. I am not the authority here. God is. And I don’t claim to understand everything perfectly. I only desire to point women to Jesus and His Word. – Jeremy has some excellent videos that go through the various arguments about how to interpret I Corinthians 11:3-16 and what it means for Christian women to cover our heads when we pray. My story is there, too! Here is a link to the video page which is a great place to start.


My story about how I decided to cover my head when I pray, My Youtube video about why I cover my head when I pray.

My Journey into Femininity and Modesty (you can also search “modest” and “modesty” on my home page search bar for many more posts about this topic)

Spiritual Authority

Biblical Submission (you can also search my home page for “submission” for many more posts about this topic)

Respecting Our Husbands (you can search my home page for “respect” for lots of posts about this topic)

The Bible and Divorce

One last topic I don’t seem to have a post about, although I have talked about it often, is the principle that women are not to have authority over men in the church.  I Corinthians 14:34-35 and I Timothy 2:11-15. This is why I don’t write for men, telling them “what to do” as if I were in authority over them because I am seeking to honor these passages of Scripture. But, I do have a good friend who actually was a woman pastor, until God called upon her to repent and step down. You can find her story here – They Called Me Pastor

52 thoughts on “Can We Have God AND Reject His Word?

  1. This is what has upset me so much in the past few weeks. How can any scripture in the New Testament that applies to women keeping silent in churches , modesty, and head covering just a cultural issue that was being addressed at that time and doesn’t apply today.

    1. Kimberly,

      I was raised In the Southern Baptist church. And I realized a few years ago, that although all the preachers I have ever had were adamant about the entire Bible being true, there were some passages that were never talked about. When I would ask about the passages that pertain to women, it was always the same answer, “Oh, those passages aren’t culturally relevant today.”

      Every single passage pertaining to women in the entire New Testament is no longer culturally relevant? How is that possible??

      What I realized was that our culture abandoned the authority of God’s Word and respect for all God-given authorize decades ago. So, the symbol of headcovering, for instance, is “no longer culturally necessary.” The reason the symbol is no longer relevant is that we ditched the idea of the headship of husbands over their wives and families. Who needs a symbol when the thing that is being symbolized has been trashed?

      All of the Scripture in the New Testament was relevant for 1900 years in the church, and it was all relevant and is still all relevant in many cultures today. What happened was that we in our culture have been so influenced by feminism, that we chose to exalt feminism, secular humanism and being politically correct over the Word of God, to our great detriment.

      It is my prayer that even though the past few generations dropped the ball among believers, that our generation might rise to become a godly generation of women who embrace all of God’s Word and who delight in obeying God and in becoming the women He desires us to be. That includes us embracing modesty, not having positions of authority over men in the church or at home, honoring and respecting our husbands’ leadership in our marriages and seeking to be women who have gentle, peaceful spirits who do what is right and do not give say to fear.

      Thank you so much for the comment!

      1. The straw that broke the camels back was two weeks ago preacher used acts 21:9 about Phillips four virgin daughters prophesying to preach that proves women can be preachers. Of course that caused sn overwhelming loud amen from most of the women in the church Also women show up in mini skirts five inch heels and strapless dresses. Nothing is ever said. Every woman in church has hair shorter than their husbands.

        1. You mentioned covering hair as a symbol to show her husbands authority.
          Does that mean a single lady is free from that? I am just curious as a single woman.

          1. Vira,

            That is a great question! There are some single women who cover their heads to show that they are under their father’s authority. Some single women cover their heads during prayer to show they are under God’s authority and that they will honor any God-given authority in their lives. Some wait until marriage to cover their heads.

            I would suggest researching the topic, praying about it and seeking God’s wisdom for you at this stage in your life, being open to whatever He may show you. 🙂

        2. April,
          I teach a Sunday school class for college students at my church. It has males and females. Do you believe this is unscriptural?

          Our church is very small and we wouldn’t have an adult Sunday school program if women didn’t volunteer to teach.

          1. Lisamc46,

            There are plenty of people who have no problem with an arrangement like that. But, you won’t answer to them. And you won’t answer to me. We will all answer to God. My opinion is worth very little here. But God’s Word does speak very clearly.

            When scripture says, a woman is not to have authority over a man in the church, I want to tread very, very carefully knowing what I know now about what a big deal the concept of spiritual authority is to God.

            I have had people ask me to speak at their churches. But I always say that I only teach women. Does that mean I cannot share the gospel with a man? No. I see no prohibition to that. I can witness to men. I can share things God has shown me. Just not as their “teacher,” “mentor” or something similar – an official capacity.

            I believe one of the reasons that there are so many men leaving the church today is because of the church becoming so feminized as women take over teaching and preaching positions. I don’t know all of the reasons why a God has this passage of scripture there for us. I don’t know all of the consequences if we choose to disobey what God has clearly outlined. I know that the church did not allow women to teach or preach until basically the last century. And the reason the church changed its’ position was largely because of the first wave of the women’s movement. One of their platforms was to open all levels of ministry in the church to women. They knew what the Bible said. They rebelled against God’s Word very purposefully. I know that I ignored this instruction to my own detriment for a time and things got very complicated for me personally in ministry.

            I think it would be worth praying about and talking to your husband about. You could even share your concerns with your pastor and suggest that you would be glad to teach the women, but that you are hesitant to continue teaching the men. I have a feeling that God will provide resources as you seek to obey and honor His Word.

            I will pray for clear wisdom and direction for you, that you might be sensitive to God’s Word and His Spirit. I believe that there are blessings for us and for the body of Christ as we seek to obey Him.

            I don’t judge you if you decide to continue teaching. That will have to be your decision and your own conviction. May God richly bless your walk with Christ!

          2. Lisamc,

            One thing I did, was read some commentaries and I tried to study the original language as much as I could. These passages have given theologians difficulty. So, I recommend taking your time and reading through some trusted commentaries and word studies. That was helpful for me.

          3. lisamc46,

            Greg’s dad used to be the pastor at a smaller church. He had a really great idea, in my opinion, for Sunday School. He had a class called the ABC class “Anybody’s Bible Class.” It started with about 5 adults, but grew to over 120 people in about 10 years. Anyone of any age could come, even children, if they wanted to.

            It was one of our favorite classes ever. And it meant that there didn’t have to be a teacher for every little age group of adults.

            It was fun getting to be with people from many different ages and walks of life and hearing their perspectives. Greg’s dad used people’s names frequently in illustrations, so we got to know everyone. And if you wanted to invite someone from work that wasn’t your exact age, it was no problem at all.

            That was one concept that I have seen work very well that may be a good fit for smaller churches, an idea to think about, at least. 🙂

      2. This post, your comment above and even this ENTIRE BLOG really resonates with me. I too was raised Southern Baptist and was told . . . oh. . . don’t worry about these passages. They don’t really apply today. But when I read the Bible, I mean, when I REALLY read the Bible and look at everything as a whole how can we say they do NOT apply today? Much of I Corinthians 11 is about the Lord’s Supper. Is the practice of the Lord’s Supper cultural ? Certainly not!
        So here I am. I am convicted about things like prayer and headcovering and modesty and submission and everyone around me (even my husband, a Southern Baptist youth minister type) thinks I have LOST my MARBLES. I try to submit to him. Yet, its difficult when you have such different ideas with one another and I am only trying to be scriptural.
        I thank God for this blog. It has taught me. It has encouraged me. And I need it ! 🙁

        1. Genet,
          By the way, you may want to check out my post about how I started covering my head during prayer and how I talked with my husband about it and we came to a solution together that we could both be happy with. Maybe it would help?

          1. I don’t think he really cares about what I wear. He hasn’t said a lot about it except to say that I should wear what pleases me. I get lots of comments from other people.
            As far as the other “different” ideas and beliefs, he just thinks I should keep my mouth shut and “play along” at the baptist church with everyone and be agreeable. I am pretty quiet, even by my own nature. It is getting harder to do though.
            I really don’t know how to explain where I am.
            It’s complicated. 🙁
            The very sad thing this week has been the dear Christian friends, who I have been friends with (on facebook mostly, they don’t live locally to me) for about 5 years. They have cried with me and prayed for me and with me about many things. I think of this man and his wife as like my spiritual mentors and parents. This week he told me that he did not want me talking to them, emailing, phone calling or any other contact. He believes they are members of some dangerous cult! When I told my friends, they were sad, but said above all I should obey and be submissive to my husband in this way. So I am. I feel very lost and alone though. 🙁
            I have learned a lot reading your blog this week though.
            Apparently I have not been totally without fault in our strained relationship. 🙁

            1. Genet,
              I am impressed that your friends encouraged you to submit to your husband. That is wonderful!

              God is able to lead you through him.

              Where are you feeling confused? I’m here if you want to talk about it if you believe your husband is ok with it, of course.

              It is ok to slow down and seek God and be still and wait if your husband feels you are getting into questionable territory.

              Do you know what his concerns were with your friends?

            2. Genet,
              I understand you not wanting to discuss things in public. That is very respectful of you!!! Great job!

              It is hard for husbands to understand why a wife would share private things with others. Most husbands do not feel any kind of need to do that, and it can feel like a betrayal to husbands at times.

              If there are general issues you want to ask about, maybe I can direct you to some of my posts?

              Praying for wisdom for you! 🙂

  2. I very much agree, April. This is the way I was raised as well (to accept the Bible as the literal word of God). I’ve even heard a wife say (an unbeliever) that she wouldn’t mind if her husband ever became a Christian as long as he didn’t take it too seriously. In that case, she’d probably divorce him! There’s absolutely no point, imo, in becoming a Christian if you’re not to going take it seriously and live obediently to the Word. And obedience, btw, is not the same as legalism (as some might say).

    Having said all that, the older I get, the more I realize that not all Christians interpret the Bible the same way. They may be totally convicted of what they believe and I may totally disagree with their interpretation. I also realize that for some Christians, because they feel their way is the right way, they assume that all other ways are wrong. I’m not saying that God is wishy washy at all. I just think we all see through a glass darkly so while my husband and I are probably more conservative than many, I just try to show grace to those who do interpret the Scriptures differently by not talking about it if it would bring disharmony and definitely not arguing about it if discussed. My husband always says that we should just build our corner of the wall and trust God to work with everyone else in building their corner of the wall. I agree. Someone who may drastically disagree with me still has God’s spirit and I do believe if they’re in error, one day they’ll see clearly. That applies to me as well. OTOH, if their fruits don’t show a Christian life at all, then I can pray for them and try not to judge too harshly.

    1. Elena,

      I love this!

      Yes, obedience is not the same as legalism. It seems that many people want to lump the two together today. But, we are required to obey God and His Word as believers. Not for salvation. Not so that we can be good enough to have salvation (that is legalism) – but out of love, joy and a desire to delight the heart of God.

      And, you bring up a fantastic point. There are places where interpretations are different and where genuine believers do not agree. I love what your husband said. I think that fits in beautifully with what Paul talks about in Romans 14. (I will list that passage below.) There are some things that we will have different convictions about- where there is latitude for differing convictions and room for us to extend grace, mercy and tolerance. Then there are principles of Scripture that we cannot alter.

      But yes, God is able to work in each believer’s heart and correct us where we are wrong. THANKFULLY! He has done that with me, and I know He will continue to do so. I have so much to learn! Yes, let’s build our corner and trust God to take care of our brothers and sisters if there are differing convictions in the gray areas. They will ultimately answer to Him, not to us.

      Much love to you!

      Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. 2 One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.

      5 One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. 6 Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. 8 If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.

      10 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister[a]? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written:

      “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
      ‘every knee will bow before me;
      every tongue will acknowledge God.’”[b]
      12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.

      13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. 14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. 15 If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.

      19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.

      22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.[c]

      1. My Husband and i were discussing this very topic this morning!!!! We recently began attending a church where they believe the word of God is true and it is preached and not watered down. This delighted us because it is sad to say this but it has been very hard for us to find a church in our area where the truth is taught.
        But as we went to more services my husband began to notice that their interpretation of scripture is different then ours. They teach that women wearing pants is sin according to duet 22:5. and that according to 1 timothy 2:9 and 1 peter 3 that women shouldnt wear jewelry or make up, and they had many more standards that they whole heartedly believe are supported by scripture and anyone that fails to submit to these standards is in disobedience to God. I believe that women should dress feminine and modest but i cant for the life of me believe that every woman that puts on a pair of pants no matter how much she loves Jesus is deceived and going to hell. I know that God calls me to submit to the leadership of my husband so im trusting God to lead Him to lead our family to a place of worship where sound doctrine is taught. Please keep us in prayer ladies.

        1. His daughter,
          Now this is where sometimes churches go too far the other way and add to what the Bible said or try to take something that is really in the area of personal conviction and attempt to turn it into a biblical principle. That can get a bit oppressive at times.

          We tend, as people, to like rules. Some things in scripture are very much a matter of the heart. But we can’t control the hearts of others. So, this type of thing can quickly head into legalism, in my view.

          I understand that there is a need for some level of modesty in the corporate worship environment. So, I do understand if churches feel they need to have some minimum level of modesty. We don’t want to cause others to stumble. Yet, we can turn principles about modesty and not having elaborate jewelry, hair and clothing into rules made by men. Without God’s Spirit empowering us, we tend toward either legalism or licentiousness.

          A woman dressing modestly ought to be so etching she does out of personal reverence and respect for God, herself and others. Thankfully, we go to heaven based on what Jesus did for us, not the clothing we wear.

          There are churches that are quite legalistic, that seem to lose sight of grace.

          There is a delicate balance needed here. And it only comes by the power of God’s Spirit and His wisdom.

  3. So if someone wanted to “test” their church (for lack of a better term) to determine what they believe about each of these passages and Jesus’ instructions, what do you think is the most appropriate way to do that? Send an email to the pastor asking his interpretation and application of each verse? Make an appointment to speak with him? It can’t necessarily be based on the views of individual congregation members, right? You wouldn’t walk into a church and notice that the women don’t have their heads covered or they dress immodestly and decide that isn’t the church for you.

    (Reading this back to myself, it sounds a little snarky, but April, you know my heart and questions are sincere.)

      1. M.,
        PS, you can share any concerns you have with your husband if he is a believer. And ultimately, the choice about what church to attend would be up to him as the head of your home.

        I don’t think it is necessary to interview pastors about these passages. I think that the main thing is that we pray about them and seek to obey God to the best of our understanding. And we can certainly discuss these things with our husbands and seek to honor them about how exactly to implement obedience. Does that make sense?

        There is not going to be a perfect church that perfectly follows and teaches every single facet of Scripture correctly. And there will be different legitimate interpretations, as well. These passages are not pertaining to salvation. I don’t think that they should be the primary reason we choose a church.

        1. That makes perfect sense. My husband and I met at this church, so I know he’s perfectly happy with it. We are considering moving out of our current city though, in which case it will be an opportunity for me to submit to him in finding a new home church. 🙂

  4. I am trying so hard to understand the head covering.. Because if it is Gods will for me to do this, I want to understand and obey. I do not feel a conviction to this though. I believe the Bible is the living word of God as well! It is all true, and all right. But as far as it all applying im not sure… because you do always have to take in to account who exactly it was originally written for. please see
    I believe this is the one article I have seen it best explained. Paul wrote 1 Cor. in AD 55, during that jewish culture women with uncovered heads were considered sexually loose, some think Paul meant to protect the honor of the church by restraining Corinthian women, newly liberated by the gospel, from rashly abandoning their head coverings. The underlying issue is male headship as related to God’s and Christ’s headship, so I can see where this would make you remember, “hey I am under my husband, who is under Christ” – to maybe help you remember to respect. But I do not think Paul was directly talking to you, a women in the 21st century, where 99% of women do not wear head coverings, and the first man to see your hair is not your husband, culture is very different. Now Paul (& this is just a guess/my own opinion) might say today, out of respect for your husband please don’t wear head coverings, especially if they become objects of attention or attraction. If we take every single little word, written to a certain person in the bible, or written to a certain group of people in a certain culture, we would have to argue things like 1 Tim 5:23 where Paul is telling Timothy who could have possibly had stomach problems “stop drinking only water, start drinking a little wine” because there was a wide spread medicinal use of wine in both Jewish and Greek circles at that time, and Paul may have believed wine would calm his stomach. We are not then to tell others to stop drinking water and drink wine! because it was just specific to Timothy at that time. So that is just one example where there is a verse we are not to take literally to OUR specific life or situation.

    I had to look into this because before I just did something because every one who I respect and follow on this site does it, I need to feel a conviction from the Holy Spirit, on the contrary if you or other ladies DO feel a conviction from the Holy Spirit to cover your head I would never want to undermine or say that’s wrong! I pray God will reveal this to me more clearly as I look closely into his word and into the context in which His word is written.

    This morning I studied Matthew 7 and really had a conviction to remember to ALWAYS PRACTICE what the bible is teaching. Don’t just make reading your bible a checklist, but instead watch and read about Jesus, let him be your example so you can grow spiritually which ultimately will grow you closer to God! When we act more like Jesus we start having the fruits of the Spirit! 🙂 & a longing to obey God, and be like God! So if I am wrong in anything or anyway I am living (which I know and am sure I am) I do trust the Lord will work it out in me for His Glory.

    I do pray my heart will show through this, I am not trying to change your thoughts but just trying to understand it myself as well.

    Ultimately- we will never understand all doctrines correctly, brilliant minds have debated all different kinds of issues in the bible for centuries without resolving all dilemmas. Anyone who professes to understand all doctrine correctly does not understand the doctrine of humility. But as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another(Pr 27:17) so we must work together in figuring things out 🙂 Us all having common core beliefs that are essential to Christianity should be guarded, faith, repentance and submission to God, anything less significant is not worth fighting about so I pray no one will take what I am saying as an argument but just more of a questioning of someone who understands 1 Cor 11 a little less than others 🙂

    I would love to hear your thoughts to what I have written and thank you for taking the time to read!

    God Bless

    1. Prov31wife,

      This is a difficult issue for many of us, especially since most women don’t practice it anymore.

      I invite you to read what I have written about this topic and why I choose to cover my head when I pray. 🙂

      I don’t expect us all to have all of the same convictions at the same time. I know that there will be things we will wrestle with and come to different conclusions about. Ultimately, we will all answer to God, not to one another. But I am thankful we can sharpen one another. 🙂

      Thanks for sharing your concerns. I go over all of these issues in my post and my Youtube video on this topic. And, you can also watch the two head covering movement videos, they go into even more detail.

      I love your heart for God and your desire to obey Him! That is beautiful!!!!

      Much love,

      My blog post

      My youtube video

      I don’t judge anyone who does not cover her head. This doctrine is not as essential as the doctrines about salvation. It is a minor issue. But I believe this issue is important enough to be worth our time and effort to study and seek God’s will about. 🙂

  5. I have heard this many times that the Bible doesn’t pertain to today’s world it’s just that no one wants to follow Gods word in today’s world… Great post!

    I’m not sure if you have already done a post on your thoughts on head coverings but I have always thought that my long hair was my covering but I know other women who wear (veils,headbands,hats) all the time and some that wear them just during church services… So what your thoughts?

    1. Meg,

      God’s Word is not popular today – but it is still powerful!!!!

      I have the link to my post on head covering and my Youtube video about it in the links at the bottom of the post today. 🙂 You are welcome to check it out!

      1. There is a book that is now available as an ebook for $.99 on Amazon called The History Of Christian Headcovering. It is really interesting to look back over all two thousand years of the church and to hear direct quotes from very respected pastors and theologians throughout the centuries talk about this topic. It was not until feminism was introduced that the practice began to be set aside in our culture.

        You can find a link to the book and an interview with the author at 🙂

  6. Hi!
    What about when someone sins and they know its wrong, but they do it anyway. They say they hope God will forgive them one day. They go along in life praying and singing Christian songs and discussing Jesus when it comes up. They believe in Him, but are not following what the Word says.
    God WILL forgive so its a win-win for them, right?
    They ignore any possible consequences that show up in their life and make an excuse for it.

    So, we can sin on purpose and know we will be forgiven some day.

    I don’t understand.

    1. PLM,
      THAT is an excellent question! I have met a number of people who ascribe to this type of theology. But I can’t see where it is biblical at all.

      ROMANS 6 addresses it:

      1What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

      5For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with,a that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.

      8Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

      11In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

      15What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! 16Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

      19I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. 20When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life inb Christ Jesus our Lord.

      Jude 1 also addresses this important issue:

      For certain individuals whose condemnation was written aboutb long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.

      5Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lordc at one time delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. 6And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. 7In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.

      8In the very same way, on the strength of their dreams these ungodly people pollute their own bodies, reject authority and heap abuse on celestial beings. 9But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”d 10Yet these people slander whatever they do not understand, and the very things they do understand by instinct—as irrational animals do—will destroy them.

      11Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.

      12These people are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead. 13They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.

      14Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones 15to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”e 16These people are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.

      17But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” 19These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.

      20But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

      22Be merciful to those who doubt; 23save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.f

      Hebrews 10 is possibly the most compelling:

      26If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”d and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”e 31It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

      I John 3:4-10 talks about living in continual/habitual sin being impossible for one who belongs to Christ

      4Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. 5But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. 6No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.

      7Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. 8The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. 9No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. 10This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.

      So, I hope it is plain that if someone purposely sins, expecting God to forgive them, making light of the sacrifice of Christ, they are in a very perilous place before God. We are not to take advantage of the grace, mercy and forgiveness of Christ, but to respond humbly and obediently to God, seeking to walk in righteousness and desiring to avoid sin. If I can sin and be totally comfortable with that and it doesn’t hurt my conscience at all, something is SERIOUSLY wrong with me spiritually. Either I am spiritually dead (meaning I don’t have Christ), or I am VERY, VERY far from Christ and my conscience has been so seared that I cannot hear the Holy Spirit at all.

      1. I think it might be the last one. Or not getting the big picture. It cheapens Gods grace. They believe as long as they believe in God, He will forgive anything. I struggle here because if you have given your life to Christ, it says nothing can seperate us from Him. So, what happens when we do this? Especially in marriage?
        I’m going to go mark those scriptures in my Bible.
        Thanks!! 🙂

        1. PLM,

          If we are talking about someone else, not you, you can’t really know their heart and it can be difficult sometimes to know if someone has really given his/her heart to Christ. All you can really see is the fruit.

          If the someone is our husband, God gives us our most powerful approach to influence them for Christ, if they are far from Him in I Peter 3:1-6.

          Ultimately, each person will stand before God and be judged by Him.

          He will always judge rightly.

          Much love!

  7. Hi April! i love your blog!! I do although have to say that i personally believe that if you want to follow the bible, you should observe the Sabbath as well, and keep it holy- as its the only commandment that sais “remember”. I just find that very interesting. Thank you so much for the time and energy you invest in this blog! It blesses so many peoples lives!

    1. April,
      I know I’m WAY late to this discussion, but I feel lead to ask you to please do a further study and prayer session re: Romans 14. I do not believe at all that these verses negate the COMMANDMENT to observe the Sabbath. I believe Paul was talking about dietary orders and other “disputable matters” in reference to feasts and/or holidays and/or fasting days here, not the weekly Sabbath.

      Commandments are always true for everyone. I believe The Bible is very clear on the weekly Sabbath. Just because we haven’t done a very good job of it in our culture, that doesn’t make it no longer true.

      And I want to make the distinction that I am not in any way judging your family for keeping or not keeping the Sabbath. As the scriptures say, that is between you and your Lord. To be clear, I only feel it necessary to mention, so you don’t cause any one of your thousands of readers to misunderstand (stumble over) the clear teachings of the scriptures on this issue.

      Hugs to you, sister.

    2. Christy,

      I am going to do a deeper study about the Romans 14 passage. But my preliminary study seems to show that Romans 14 may not be talking about the Sabbath, but about feasts. So, I believe I owe you an apology!!!!

      Thank you so much for your point!

  8. Thanks for this post.
    I feel lonely in my church as far as I know I am the only one who believes that the bible is the word of God and I should obey its teachings. I am in the swedish lutheran church and it is a truly secular church. Preaching is more and more a caller for social work, in itselve not wrong but I need the thruth of Krist.
    Salvation and sanctification by believing and worship.
    The sacraments are there though, but the people rarely.

    Yet it was this church that helped me turn back to God.
    I try not to judge but it is difficult for sometimes I think can you not read the the bible and so become judgemental where I should show love
    Submitting as a conviction is very rare.
    But though I am convinced I still lack myselve in true submission and respect. I lack discipline as soon as left to myselve. So I should work on that first.
    But one question I wrestle is. Should I stay in a church that has female bishops and priests, bless samesex marriages and is standing on a ground of textcritical teaching.
    In my parish the preaching was still sound but now I see small changes creeping in wich truly alarm me.
    Yet the most nearby sound church is two hours by car. And even that one is in some ways compromised.
    It seems hard to find a church that is founded on the bible and not flawed in one way or another.
    It makes me sad, though I know I am save in Gods care and maybe have to live withouth a congregation.
    Nee comforts me for I learn there that a true conviction will stand even if I have to stand alone here.

    1. Tabitha,

      This makes me SO SO SO SAD!!!!!!!

      I can understand why you have concerns about being there. It is possible that God may use you to “be a missionary” in that church. But, it is also possible that you could be too influenced by the church’s worldliness.

      You are married, if I remember correctly, right? What does your husband think?

      There will not be a perfect church here in this life time. True. But, there are some churches that have become so worldly, they are not remotely teaching sound doctrine. Yuck. That is dangerous.

      I am praying for wisdom for you!!!!!!!

  9. God’s Word is simple. It does not matter how our culture changes. God’s Word is Eternal. The Word and God does not change no matter what. Jesus is the Word. Jesus is the Truth. The Word is the Truth and Eternal.

  10. April, thank you for this wonderful post. I feel so much the same as you do! When studying the Word, I really try to keep my eyes open for what God is saying to us about the way He wishes us to live our lives, and of course that often results in a lot of thinking and wrestling! But that is probably all part of normal Christian life, and what He wants us to do. I want to obey, though God knows I sure fail there a lot. *sigh*

    I will not repeat what many other commenters have already said, about how so many professing believers don’t seem to take God’s word seriously, or understand that this is God’s means of communicating to us…One thing I run into a lot, though, that I find really distressing (and frustrating) is that when you try to talk to someone about something—anything—and use Scripture or quote the Bible and they become *very* upset. Nor am I talking about the lost, but professing believers! As you know, I’ve run into something of a situation with professing believers and divorce and the mother telling her daughter how to manipulate her husband and even hinting she should divorce him. It’s awful, awful! It came up again just the other day, when someone said they know I and so-and-so “have differences in opinion”. But…it’s *God’s* opinion about divorce, not (just, because I agree with Him!) my opinion! I did not even know how to respond at the time, though I think I’m getting there. This is not a matter of opinion, but God’s law, but people find so many ways to rationalize their way out of obedience…and attacking the one just innocently trying to obey God and even explaining God’s expectations as a “Pharisee” or even (often bizarrely) “hypocrite”, and that old favourite, “judgemental” (this is now slung when one lives the truth without even talking about it).

    You are right, the church has much work to do. It is no wonder our culture is falling apart when we can’t even take seriously what it is God has given us to live our lives by. 🙁

    Thank you, though, because this was an encouraging post nonetheless!

    1. Jen,

      Sometimes there are passages that are difficult to interpret and things that can be unclear in God’s Word. But sometimes, things are very clear and we just don’t like what God’s Word says. So true! And we want to justify what we want to do so we try to make God’s Word be subjective. That makes me so sad!

      We will pray together for God to work powerfully among His people. 🙂

  11. Peaceful wife,

    I accept your belief in the bible as the word of God. I respect that your belief is deeply held and deeply considered. But I do not share it. My understanding of the bible is that it is entirely the work of men, that it was written and copied and altered and debated and added to for at least 300 years after Jesus’s death. I came to that understanding as an enquirer and as a believer, as a student of the bible, of history and of the bible’s history. That I understand the bible as a book written by men takes nothing away from my understanding of Jesus, nor yet of God.

    I entirely respect your decision to submit to your husband and I admire the blessings that submission has brought to your relationship. But, personally, I don’t think you need to base that decision on the writings of Paul. Paul’s writings have undoubtedly inspired you to search your own heart but I believe you would be quite unable to submit to your husband if God had not first written his own scripture in your heart. What God has written in your heart may not be what is written in the hearts of others and it is for each of us to come to our own relationship with God. And if we follow Jesus’s teaching, it is not for any of us to judge one another on the nature of that relationship.

    For me, there are ultimately only two commandments that matter, to love the Lord with all my heart and mind and soul and to love my neighbours as myself. If I do that, then I have God in my heart and in my home, in my work and in my rest, in my family and in my community. The rest of the bible is interesting, at times historical, at times inspiring, at times awful. But I don’t fear damnation for not believing that every word was chosen by God. When I want to reflect on the teachings of Jesus or the writings of the early Christians, I turn to my bible. And I do, often. But when I want to hear God, I go out into his world, or I go into my heart. In both places he writes with indescribable beauty for which there are simply no words.

    I began by saying that I respect your belief and I do. It brings you comfort and hope and delight and I would never seek to take that away from you. But I would hope that you and your readers would also respect mine and those of others like me. Please do not fear for me for I am not afraid. I have God in my heart and I am absolutely at peace.


    1. Nicola,
      Thank you for sharing your perspective. 🙂

      I respect the fact that God has given each person a free will with the ability to determine what he/she believes. I am glad that you love God and Jesus.

      However, I do have some very grave concerns about this idea. If the Bible is not true and is not of God, then it seems to me that it would be very difficult to get to know God. God’s Spirit can and does speak to us, and nature does pour forth speech about the sovereignty and eternal nature and omnipotence of God – but we know Him most intimately through His Word.

      Jesus says that if we love Him we will obey His commands. How do we know what His commands are if not for His Word? And He says “If you abide in Me and My Words abide in You…” that is the prerequisite for answered prayer. If we take the entire Bible off the table – what do we have and what do we know about God? Not very much.

      It seems to me that the view that the Bible is just manmade, is extremely dangerous theology and lends itself to anything being true. It precludes absolute truth and gives every individual the power to make anything true that they feel like should be true – which is certainly popular in our culture today, but I don’t believe will hold water when we stand accountable before God. So, this philosophy is quite problematic for me. It reminds me of Satan’s original temptation to Eve to question God’s Word, “Did God really say…?”

      If we can get rid of the authority and power of God’s Word, then we can live however we want, do whatever we want – we don’t have to obey God. This opens the door for every possible false teaching and justification of any sin.

      I thank you for sharing your views and the respectful spirit with which you shared. You are welcome to be here. I pray that God might draw you closer to His heart and that He might empower you to be found faithful when you stand before Him.

      Much love to you!

    2. God word says in 2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

      In 2 Peter 1:20-21 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

  12. I love Jesus!Therefore I will obey out of love for Him!This is my first official day with the head covering!My husband said yes!Praise Jesus!I was just so amazed at how God worked it out.I had been wrestling with this issue like you.And when I read this article and clicked on the head covering link.God gave me the courage to approach my husband with it.He was so understanding and thought it would be OK.Please pray as I embark on this journey into obeying the word of God on the issue of head covering.That I will be faithful to keep the word of God to me.Thank you for being obedient to teaching women about this important issue!Thank You Jesus for Your word and Your Holy Spirit. And leading me to be obedient to Your word.

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