Don’t Take it Personal

By Justin Johnson

Have you ever heard a Christian teacher tell you to insert your name into the Bible? There is now a business that will print a personalized Bible with your name inserted in it more than 7000 times.

Instead of reading “God so loved the world” you can now read in black and white:

“God so loved Joe the Plumber, that he gave his only begotten Son…”

Or, maybe…

“The Lord is little orphan Annie’s shepherd; little orphan Annie shall not want.”

How cute. How personal. How evil! This is a corruption of the Bible!

If you ever hear this happen in your church, cry “foul”, throw the communion wafer at the stage, wrangle up the children, and exercise your freedom to leave the building.

Go have a picnic, enjoy the weather, and remind your family that the Bible need not be changed. This would be far better than trying to take the Bible personally in every place.

The Danger of Personalizing

The idea of inserting anyone’s name into any and every place and promise of the scripture is not only wrong, but is extremely dangerous, and destroys the foundation of dispensational Bible study.

In one place, God made the earth swallow men who tried to claim privileges, positions, and promises that were not theirs (Numbers 16).

But who reads Numbers, right? It was a different time, place, and people; but not according to those who take the Bible personally in every place.

Imagine, if I was reading through the deed of your house and I replaced your name with mine. I would be a thief!

What if the electric company replaced the name on my bill with your name. Unjust!

Typically, when a promise to one person is suddenly changed by inserting another person’s name, that person is called a liar, and is in breach of contract.

Then, why would someone treat God’s words so flippantly?

Every Promise Cannot Be Claimed

False teachers have long taught that you can name and claim your promise from God by inserting your name into all God’s promises in the Bible.

They think every page in the Bible is speaking to them, and they want to claim every promise of the book as theirs! This is not so.

The truth is that not every promise in the book is yours. If that were true, would not all the promises of condemnation in the Bible yours, too?

“Death has come up into little orphan Annie’s windows…” does not have the same fuzzy feeling as the promises of blessing (promise corrupted from Jer 9:21).

Why would someone who magnifies God’s word above his name sell such an aberration for $19.95? Worse yet, why would people buy them?!

Of course, the reason is clear. They are not magnifying God’s word or his good name, but impugning it for the sake of the personal comfort they receive from claiming the good parts of the Bible for themselves and leaving the bad parts for others.

Dispensationalism: Identifying the Audience

Dispensational Bible study teaches identifying the the audience before assuming it is talking to us. This process of identifying the right audience and context separates the instructions and operation of God into dispensations. It is called rightly dividing the Bible.

You cannot insert yourself into Jeremiah 29:11 which is speaking to remnant Israel in captivity in Babylon.

You cannot insert yourself into the prayer of Jabez as if God would answer for you, too. Jabez lived under God’s covenant with Israel, not you.

Psalm 23 is speaking about physical blessing to tribulation Israel. Psalms speaks of promises made exclusively with Israel (Psalm 147:19-20).

You cannot insert yourself into Jesus’ words, “he that hath seen Tim Tebow hath seen the Father” (John 14:9). This is heresy (as well as a textbook definition of a Messiah complex.)

You cannot insert “the whole church of Jew and Gentile” into James 1:1 when he identifies his audience as the “twelve tribes of Israel.”

Don’t Take it Personal

God does not like it when people speak for him things he did not say (Jer 14:15). Thank God we live in the dispensation of God’s grace today, but then again, that is only understood by rightly dividing the word of truth.

Not every promise in the Bible is yours. I speak out of care for right doctrine, please don’t take it personally. It may not be speaking to you.

But I know some will, and they would rather pay $39.95 to get a personalized Bible than freely study the book God wrote rightly divided.

Personalized Bibles are literal physical products of a failure to rightly divide the Bible, believing every word – even the pronouns.

Never replace one word in the Bible with your name.

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Published: July 9, 2016
Last Modified: September 1, 2018
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