We are told that Thomas Jefferson had a profound appreciation for the teachings of Jesus, but Jefferson was also a product of The Enlightenment! In his mind reason and logic were king and he had no room in his thinking for miracles and the supernatural. Thus in February of 1804, Jefferson went to work on his Bible with a razor.
He clipped his favorite passages out of his Bible and pasted them in double columns on forty-six octavo sheets. Jefferson included the teachings of Jesus but excluded the miracles. He deleted the virgin birth, the resurrection, and every supernatural event in between. In the words of historian Edwin Gaustad, “If a moral lesson was embedded in a miracle, the lesson survived in Jeffersonian scripture, but the miracle did not. Even when this took careful cutting with scissors.” The story of the man with the withered hand is a classic example. In Jefferson’s Bible, Jesus still offers commentary on the Sabbath, but the man’s hand is left unhealed. When Jefferson got to John’s Gospel, Gaustad notes, he “kept his blade busy”. Jefferson’s version of the Gospels ends with the stone rolled in front of the tomb. Jesus died on the cross but never rose from the dead.
Jefferson isn’t the first man to try and edit God’s Word. In the 36th chapter of Jeremiah, a king named Jehoiakim does the same thing. The prophet sends Jehoiakim a scroll containing the Word of the Lord concerning Judah and Israel. As it is read to the king he takes a knife and cuts off what he doesn’t like and throws it in a fire pot. Yet, his efforts to change God’s Word doesn’t work. Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon still attacks and Jehoiakim is carried off to Babylon shackled in bronze chains never to be heard from again.
We can ignore, cut, burn up or try to change God’s Word, but it remains forever. It is unchanging. The prophet Isaiah says it this way, “The grass withes and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” (Isaiah 48:9) How foolish to think that we can alter God’s truth to fit our ever changing culture. Regardless of what Hollywood, or the media or he progressive thinkers of our day may try to tell us, there is only one source of reliable truth. Dig into God’s Word and let it be your guide. It will never lead you astray.
Have a great week!
P.S. Vacation Bible School “A Mighty Fortress” beginning Sunday, June 11- Thursday June 15th. Pre-register on line at parkwaywesleyanstaunton.org. Be praying and inviting children
If you would like to comment or if you have questions for Pastor Barry you may direct those to firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear from you.