be·ware: be cautious and alert to the dangers of.
Why in the world am I telling you to be cautious of the Bible on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook (or any other social media site)?
Isn’t reading the Bible a good thing? You may ask.
Absolutely! But I don’t think this is the way God intended us to read His Word.
Now, don’t get your feathers ruffled just yet. Let me explain.
Usually, the scriptures we read on social media sites are individual verses or snippets, or even paraphrases. Many times they are presented with a photo with a verse overlay. This is called a meme. I enjoy seeing memes on my newsfeed. You probably do too.
So what’s the problem?
Jesus refers to Himself and His Word as the “bread of life”. He also refers to our daily food as “daily bread”. Is Jesus telling us He is actually bread? Is He saying we should pray only for bread to eat? Of course not! Without the context, we are missing some vital information in order to fully understand what Jesus is telling us. The same can be true when reading only snippets of scripture.
Just as eating only bread is not a complete diet, neither is reading one scripture enough to grow in a healthy relationship with God. A person can survive a long time eating only bread. However, eventually, their health will begin to suffer from a lack of key nutrients.
We cannot survive spiritually on memes alone!
Comfort Without Conviction
I like the warm fuzzies I get from a really good meme. However, it’s rare that I read one that convicts me. This is a necessary purpose of scripture.
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” 2 Timothy 3:16
If all we are reading are things like, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.” Will we recognize when our broken heart is due to the separation from God that our sin has caused? Often, the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin through the Word. If we are only reading “feel good” verses on our phones, we aren’t allowing Him to speak freely and fully to us.
I’m not knocking technology, mind you. I love my You Version Bible and First Five apps. I see a problem when memes turn Holy Scripture into an aphorism or a vague prophecy like a fortune from a fortune cookie.
So, my dear readers, let’s keep reading and posting those scripture memes because they can be fun and helpful. But beware that they do not take the place of spending quality time in the Bible and prayer every day.
Oh, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one!
Please join the conversation in the comments below.
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