I would not vote before I would vote for Donald Trump to be president of the country I love.
I am no Trump fan and find both his politics and his personality offensive. For less than a minute, though, an interview with the person who would be president went from politics that offend me to piety that fascinates me. You can watch all 42 seconds of the interview here.
In the interview, the reporter asks, “You mentioned the Bible and talked about how it was your favorite book and you said, I think last night in Iowa, some people are surprised you say that. I am wondering what one or two of your most favorite Bible verses are and why?”
Trump answers, “I wouldn’t want to get into it because to me that’s very personal. You know when I talk about the Bible it’s very personal. I don’t want to get into it.”
The reporter presses, “There are no verse that means a lot to you that you think about or cite?”
Trump continues, “The Bible means a lot to me but I don’t want to get into specifics.”
A second reporter asks, “Are you an Old Testament guy or a New Testament guy?”
Trump says, “Probably equal — I think it’s just incredible – the whole Bible is incredible.”
Yikes! I think I agree with Trump. Mostly.
Like Donald Trump, the Bible means a lot to me. Trump thinks the Bible is just incredible, however, and I don’t. I’m not sure what Trump means by the word incredible. Apparently he uses it a lot. But here is where I most disagree with the candidate. I think the Bible is just credible, not incredible; that is, it is believable. It is trustworthy as God’s Word revealed to us. I’ll take a credible Bible over an incredible Bible any day.
When asked whether he is an Old Testament guy or a New Testament guy, Trump answers, “Probably equal.” Good. I wouldn’t want a Marcionite president (Marcionism was an early heresy that rejected the Old Testament’s authority in the church). We Presbyterians (and, yes, Trump claims to be one of us) have always insisted that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the “whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for God’s own glory, and our salvation, faith, and life.” We are Old and New Testament guys.
Finally and frankly, like Mr. Trump, I can’t tell you what most my favorite Bible verses are. But, unlike Trump, I don’t mind getting into it. It’s not that it’s too personal; it’s just that I don’t have any “most favorite” Bible verses.
Every year biblegateway.com, the widely-used Bible search engine, reports on the verses most commonly sought by its 150 million users. Last year the top five were John 3:16, Jeremiah 29:11, Philippians 4:13, Romans 8:28, and Psalm 23:4. Here’s the Top 100 list. I like them all. I suppose I like some of them more than others, but no most favorites. Why I have no favorites is that, well, the Bible, Old and New Testament, is credible. The whole thing is believable, trustworthy.
All 31,102 verses of the Bible are credible, and on any given day I may be called to believe the truth that one of those verses holds. On any given day, God the Holy Spirit may be speak to me through one of those 31,102 verses. On any given day, God may comfort, challenge, exhort, call, reprimand, discipline, encourage, or support me through one of those verses. On any given day, one of those 31,102 verses may be the blade of that sharp two-edged sword that pierces the division of soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and discerns the intent of my heart.
Maybe Hebrews 4:12 is my most favorite verse today, but it will probably be something else tomorrow.
Donald Trump could be on to something. It might be that none of us should have “most favorite” Bible verses. But not because it’s so very personal. Having just one or two most favorite verses is so very limiting. God speaks to us through the Bible. His is not a two-verse or a 100-verse vocabulary. God’s is a 31,102-verse vocabulary, and he means to use every word in his wonderfully credible vocabulary as he speaks to us.
The next time a presidential candidate talks about his or her high regard for the Bible, I would suggest that a reporter follow up by asking, “And how has God spoken to you through the Bible today?”
I don’t have a most favorite Bible verse. In fact, though, I think the whole Bible is just credible. I think I want to get into it.
If you are an LPC person, please take some time to consider the wide variety of Bible study options that will be available to you this fall, and then let’s get into it.