|What's up with this photo?|
A few months ago (after writing the opening lines to no less that fifteen dozen books over the course of nearly three decades) I published my first title, A Boy Named Silas. Just a couple weeks later, I signed a book contract with a company that publishes great fiction for contemporary homeschoolers. Now that I'm an actual, bona fide author I've started thinking about my next project. I like the idea of doing a Bible study, but God has so many demands in Scripture that I'm not it would sell very well.
I mean, how many times have you picked up a Bible study about being a better Christian, then realized you'll never match up to the Lord's expectations? It can be pretty discouraging, right? It seems like these books that spell out God's commands verse by verse just won't ever top the charts. And since I'm in this whole writing thing for fame, fortune and glamor, topping the charts is exactly what I've set out to do.
That's why my first Bible study book will feature my ten favorite "Off-The-Hook" Bible verses. I'm so excited about this project, I've even written up the first five chapter summaries! I'm really crossing my fingers that this book is going to fling me rear-end first into the world of inspirational Christian teaching and writing, and since you readers were with me from my humble beginnings, I'll let you have a sneak peak at a few of my featured chapter headings:
"God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Corinthians 9:7) For all of you out there who struggling with tithing, this is the verse for you! God wants you to be cheerful when you offer him your money. Logical conclusion: if you're not cheerful about it, don't do it! You're off the hook! (See how easy this is?)
"Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband." (Ephesians 5:33) If you squint your eyes really hard, you'll see that this passage teaches all you wives out there that you only have to respect your husband if he is holding up to his half of the bargain. Are you having a hard time respecting a man who's not loving you like he should? There's good news for you, wives! You're off the hook! (Husbands, you should also feel free to use this verse to justify ignoring, depreciating, or insulting your wife on a regular basis if she refuses to respect you.)
"God works for the good of those who love him." (Romans 8:28) I find it too emotionally draining for me to really, truly grieve with those who are mourning. I feel uncomfortable when my loved ones are suffering because their pain seems so overwhelming and I don't know what to say. Thankfully, I have a simple cop-out. I just quote Romans 8:28 to them and I'm off the hook!
"For those God foreknew he also predestined." (Romans 8:29) While we're in Romans 8, let's just hop on verse farther. Romans 8:29 tells us that God has already predestined those who are going to be saved. Do you have a hard time sharing the gospel? Does it make you feel uncomfortable telling people they need Jesus' forgiveness? No problem! God already knows who is and isn't going to be saved, so you're ... (you guessed it) ... off the hook!
"Your Father knows what you need before you ask him." (Matthew 6:8) Nothing should alleviate your guilt over a ho-hum prayer life like this verse. God already knows what you need ... even before you pray! Take it one step further and you can obviously conclude that there is no reason to pray at all. You are, once more, off the hook!
These are the first five verses I've picked out for my "Off The Hook" Bible study. Believe me, there are plenty more good ones out there. So many, that after I write my initial ten-chapter book, I just may need to come out with a sequel. All I need to do now is send my chapter summary off to the publishers and see if they start a bidding war over my title.
I'd probably do it too ... if I wasn't just a little bit scared that someone actually would decide to put this title in print. And if a book like this every became a best-seller ... well, that would speak volumes about the state of American Christianity now, wouldn't it?
What about you? Do you have a verse you'd like to add to my Off-The-Hook Bible study? Or a verse you feel is often misquoted or pulled out of context? (Feel free to leave your comment below.)