If you want to use the Bible to prove your political point of view, at least have the respect for that book to understand any passage in its entirety, not taking quotes out of context or picking the ones to prove your point and ignoring all the rest. I find those of all political persuasions doing so, using the Bible as a tool to hammer others while not, as Jesus once said, looking at themselves before judging others.
In the last week I have heard people using the Bible to argue that people have the right to use guns in self-defense, to argue against abortion or for the right of choice, to go to war or to seek peace, to advocate for the poor or against them, to say homosexuality is a sin but forgetting all the other prohibitions cited in the same passages of scripture.
Those who nitpick biblical passages often miss the spirit of the text. Jesus often reserved his most harsh criticism for those whose words and deeds missed the spirit of what the text was saying.
The Bible which contains both the Jewish scripture (sometimes mistakenly called the “Old Testament”) and the Christian scripture (also mistaken for the “New Testament,” as if it replaced the old), is a record which covers thousands of years and many writers and history. A biblical scholar once said to his class to avoid reading into the scriptures what you want to find, and instead let it speak to your condition. He said that you can tell that happens when the text may confront your own opinion.
My grandfather, G. Campbell Morgan, considered by many to be one of the great preachers of the Twentieth Century and a biblical scholar, used to complain of people who took scripture out of context to confirm their own prejudices. One of the parishioners of his church in London often did so, often correcting everyone in public. My grandfather, I am told, was a patient and kind man (you have to be to be a minister), but could take it no longer after years of seeing this man abuse others. One Sunday after the service he gave this parishioner two biblical passages to look up during the week. One was “…and Judas went and hung himself….” And the other: “Go thou and do likewise.”
Harsh? Yes. Out of character for my grandfather? Yes. But perhaps no more harsh than the words Jesus used to criticize the Scribes and Pharisees of his time who knew how to quote scripture but used it to punish others while never applying it to themselves, calling them hypocrites who knew the scriptures but whose hearts were far from what scripture required of them.
There’s a great deal of wisdom for living in the Bible and in many world spiritual teachings. It is wise, therefore, to understand what the text is saying, not what you are saying by taking it out of context.