Peter makes a remarkable matter-of-fact statement near the beginning of his second epistle, namely this: “His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness” (II Pet. 1:3a). Given the fact that the “everything” Peter alludes to is revealed between the covers of our Bible, the typical (and certainly proper) focus when considering that text is to examine those “everythings.” But Peter’s words provoke another direction of thought as well, which is, what are some of the subjects the Bible addresses little or not at all? For if God has provided everything pertaining to life and godliness, then topics on which the Bible is silent must be insignificant, utterly worthless, or positively destructive regarding life and godliness. Consider the list of categories below that consume the thoughts, time, energy, wealth, and conversations of Christians. How much of your life is devoted to items on this list?
Government/politics. Many believers become consumed with the vagaries of politics. Whether their party is in power, their man in office, whether their political agendas are being advanced or strangled becomes the chief focus of their lives and the prime topic of conversation. And the more oppressive or antagonistic the government becomes, the more attention is focused on those things. The Lord Jesus certainly had cause to be consumed with the government since He was dismissed by Herod and railroaded by Pilate. Similarly, Paul’s fate was determined by Nero, one of the wickedest and most corrupt of Caesars ever to rule in Rome. Yet apart from telling us that the powers that be are ordained by God and that believers are to submit to governmental authority, the Bible has little to say regarding politics.
Work. Given the fact that we all must earn a living, it is understandable that a significant amount of thought and conversation are devoted to work. But when we consider how little, in the scope of things, the Bible has to say about work, is the place we give it commensurate with the attention it receives in Scripture? Looking to God’s Word, we discover two major themes regarding work: first, the Bible gives a dozen or so financial reasons for working; second, it warns masters to treat their servants well and servants to obey their masters. Following those simple instructions eliminates a good portion of the thought and conversation prompted by our jobs.
Possessions. What we have, what we need, and what we want are topics that consume far too many of us. Add to that the burden of maintaining and improving them and the discussions and thoughts that involves, and many believers will discover that they have little time for anything else. The Lord gave a simple command in this regard: “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions” (Lk. 12:15).
Leisure/recreation/hobbies/sports. Should these subjects be declared verboten, many believers would find themselves with little to think or talk about. Except for commands to “redeem the time” and metaphoric allusions to sporting activities such as wrestling or racing, the Scripture is virtually silent on a subject that dominates the lives of far too many of us.
Culture. The arts, the activities, interests, and values of society and the people involved in such make for conversation around many a water cooler. Even believers are prone to engage in gossip about sports figures, Hollywood stars, popular music idols, etc. We know from extant graffiti that ancient cultures were not above devoting attention to worthless gossip. But despite the fascinating and scandalous lives of many individuals living in New Testament times, the Bible expends no time on exposing juicy tidbits about their lives. It does, however, warn against gossip. And except as the general culture affected the propagation of the gospel, the Word of God is silent on it.
It is true that we live in this world and that we must engage with it to some extent in order to survive. It is equally true that the Bible never advocates a reclusive, monkish lifestyle of self-abnegation. In fact, Paul condemns the legalistic philosophy of “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” (Col. 2:21). That having been said, the Word of God places a premium on eternal things, on holiness, righteousness, and godliness. And the one who lives in the realm of things listed above is, at best, disregarding the faith. May we emphasize what the Word of God emphasizes and neglect what it neglects.
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