Growing up in Virginia, I learned a lot about Thomas Jefferson. You can say a lot of things about Jefferson, but I always thought eccentric was an apt description. Did you know that he believed the Bible would benefit from his editing? As a deist, Jefferson thought of Jesus as a great teacher, but did not believe in miracles and other parts of scripture…. so he just edited them out. The resulting “Thomas Jefferson Bible” is a thin volume that totally changes how one would view Jesus, his authority and his commands.
Many Christians, when they first hear about Jefferson’s “Bible”, probably assume he was an arrogant man to think he should even consider editing the inspired Word of God. Yet, your very own children may one day grow up to write their own version of scripture. They may not be as overt about it as Jefferson. They will even deny they are changing anything at all. Rather, they will explain that their advanced knowledge has given them a better understanding of what the scriptures they are targeting “really” mean.
While the meaning of some scriptures may very well be debated until Jesus returns, the motivation for reinterpreting many scriptures is often suspect. It is especially concerning when a verse that clearly states “do not” do something in very clear language is taken through a series of supposedly logical loops that turns it into “absolutely do” the thing that is clearly forbidden.
Even more concerning is the underlying attitude. Someone recently asked a very important question, “When we attempt to reimagine scripture, are we more concerned about becoming who God wants us to be or is the greater concern finding a way around a verse so that we have the freedom to do what we want to do with no consequences?”
I suspect, that even if your children are correct about their new interpretation of scripture, a Thomas Jefferson attitude does not please God. Teaching our kids what it really means to make God the Lord of our life can help them avoid the temptation to write their own version of the Jefferson Bible.