Bad T-Shirt Theology 101

I saw a picture of a guy with a t-shirt that read: Love over Verses.

Makes sense Love over everything. It sounds right. God is love (1 John 4:8). Jesus calls us to love one another (John 13:34). Jesus told us that the greatest commandment is: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. ’This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Matthew 22:37-38). Jesus also said we are to “Love our enemies” (Luke 6:27). It seems wherever one turns in scripture we are told to love. Love. Love. Love. Love over everything!

But wait a minute. I just gave verses to “prove” that “Love over verses” is valid. Umm… I think that disproves my point. The t-shirt is advertising a false dichotomy. I don’t have to choose love over verses. “Love” and “verses” are not mutually exclusive. 

We need to love. Of course. we need to love everybody. Without exception, we need to love. Anyone who has read the verses knows our mandate is to love. But let’s not discount that it is “the verses” which informs us of God’s love. It’s the verses that proclaim God’s love, mercy and grace. Let’s not throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater. 

We believe that the Bible is God’s word. The Inspired Word of God. It contains everything we need for salvation. One need not toss it aside in an effort to be more loving. Let’s allow the verses to inform our loving. Without the verses, how would we know how to love or who is deserving of our love (everybody)? 

Maybe his t-shirt should have read “Love over “cherry-picked” verses.”  One can prove or disprove just about anything in the Bible if one cherry picks verses here and there. When reading the whole of scripture, all the verses, it calls for us to love. We need not set up an artificial (and possibly damaging) argument that somehow the “verses” are against love. They are not. Love is what the verses proclaim. Let’s read the verses and then do what those verses say, that is, love everyone.