***This is part 5 of a 6 part blog series on Racism, the World & the Bible***
THE BIBLE & RACE EXAMINED
THE OLD TESTAMENT AND RACE – The children of Israel would encounter different peoples and ethnicity’s with different customs and beliefs. The Israelite’s were to avoid making treaties or covenants with foreign people. They were forbidden to go into a marriage with non-Jewish people. (Deuteronomy 7:2-3 – And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them: Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.) – People will try to make a blanket statement about this and say “see the Bible is racist because it is against interracial marriages” – Well that is not exactly what this passage is saying, and that would be taking this verse out of it’s immediate context. The reason why God commanded them not to intermarry with the people of the land is found in the next verse Deuteronomy 7:4 “For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.” – God commanded the Israelite’s not to enter into marriages with non-Jews to protect them from idolatry and to keep them from the influence of pagan beliefs. Basically it was a command to not marry an unbeliever. We have this same command today in the New Testament and in no way is this command racist. (II Corinthians 6:14 – Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?) – There is a danger in picking one verse and trying to interpret it outside of its contextual basis. This is how false beliefs and cults get their beginning. When reading, studying and interpreting what the Bible says, always look at verses in their context and use other scripture to help interpret scripture. Dr. C.I. Scofield had this to say about Scriptures and context “Never use a doubtful or obscure passage to contradict a clear and positive one; and never use an (if) to contradict a (verily).”
THE NEW TESTAMENT AND RACE (Matthew 28:19-20 –Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.) – The Great Commission clearly teaches what the New Testament and Christ is trying to convey, and that is all peoples of the earth are equally valued by God, equally loved by God and equally died for by Jesus on the cross.
Pentecost in Acts 2 shows us the worldwide, multi-ethnically, multi-cultural scope of the gospel of Christ. It is equally for all tribes and nations of the world. Peter in Acts 10 with his vision to go to the Gentiles with the Gospel, shows that God was making no distinction between Jew and Gentile. Jesus wanted all to believe on Him and accept His payment of their sin with His shed blood so they could go to Heaven one day. (Colossians 1:14 – In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins). Phillip preached to the Samaritans and opened the Scriptures with a man from Ethiopia (Acts 8:27a – And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia…). Paul in I Corinthians 12 describes a very diverse first century church. While Jesus wants all peoples from all cultures to be saved. One must recognize if there are things in ones culture that are unbiblical, and then to get those aspects of your culture out of your life. We need to go by what God says and use His word as our supreme authority in our life; other cultural concerns should be secondary to Biblical truths and teachings. To God and the Bible all races, all ethnicity’s, all cultures, all colors, and all lives matter equally.