Is it OK for Christians to cherry pick from the Bible in order to win non-believers to Christ?
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. For it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith. As it is written, "The just shall live by faith."" – Romans 1:16-17 (MEV)
The Lord Jesus Christ has commanded all of His disciples – all who profess to follow Him – to preach the Gospel to all creatures in all nations (see Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15). Obeying this command requires more than just passion and zeal for reaching out to people. It also requires preparation on the part of those who will preach, too.
One such area that requires much preparation is the actual message that will be preached itself. Those who desire to win non-believers to Christ must be prepared to communicate the Gospel accurately and without missing any important detail. Failing to do this will produce dangerous results.
Are you excited to preach the Gospel of Christ? If you are, there's one thing you need to know: We need to preach the whole, unfiltered and uncut Gospel of Jesus Christ.
This brings me to the question raised by this article's title. Many unprepared Christians end up cherry-picking verses from the Bible when they preach so that the message they give will sound cool, loving, even inviting to those who will hear it. But in reality it's a powerless message.
Cherry-picking the Bible makes for religious messages that have no power to change lives.
- Many people who don't hear the gravity of sin and the importance of Christ's death become unrepentant Christians.
- Those who hear a message that centers on Christ's death alone fail to live in the hope given be resurrection of Christ.
- Those who hear a message focusing on God's love but neglecting God's justice might end up a people who think sinning is OK with God.
When we cherry-pick the Bible, we are doing something very dangerous. We are warned not to add to or subtract from the Word of God (see Deuteronomy 4:2, 12:32; Revelation 22:18).
How should I preach from the Bible?
Cherry-picking the Bible gives us a tampered Gospel devoid of its power. We must never ever cut off a portion of the Gospel that appeals to men and preach it, while neglecting the more important (and usually offensive) parts. We must preach the Gospel completely without shame (see Romans 1:16), just like what the apostle Paul did according to Acts 20:27:
"For I did not keep from declaring to you the whole counsel of God."
Cherry-picking "nice" and "pleasant" verses from the Bible teaches non-believers to put their faith in a false God. We must not do that. Keep in mind what the Lord Jesus Christ commanded us:
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen." (Matthew 28:19-20, emphasis mine)