You have asked if you must believe what you read in the Bible in order to be a viable Christian. I am going to help you answer this question on your own.
The Apostle Paul wrote, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work (II Timothy 3:16, 17 NASB).” Please note that the Apostle Paul stated all Scripture is inspired by God. If we are to believe Paul, then we must conclude that every passage in both the Old Testament and New Testament has God’s stamp of approval. If you, on the other hand, are asking for the right to discard verses that do not suit your liking, are you not overriding God’s authority? And are you not placing yourself in opposition to the Apostle Paul who was handpicked by God to reveal His holy truths?
By the by, many biblical scholars believe that Paul ranks among the greatest intellects ever. As for me, I would certainly not want to match wits with such a great mind, but perhaps you are wiser and deeper than Paul. And so you would, if given the opportunity, stand face to face with Paul and say accusingly, “No, Paul, you are wrong. All Scripture is not inspired by God. The Bible is riddled with error. Some passages are sheer nonsense. Other passages are bald-faced lies. You are ignorant to believe that the Bible is without error. I know better. Paul, you would do well to listen to me.”
If you cheery-pick from the pages of the Bible, you are, in essence, acting as God’s judge. Are you qualified to correct God? Do you possess such wisdom? If you do, then please enlighten the rest of us as to where God has blundered. If you are so enlightened, shall the rest of the church sit at your feet? Will you teach us? Shall we give ear to your greater wisdom?
Every cult and every ism was founded by a so-called enlightened individual who believed he or she possessed greater understanding and deeper knowledge. If you look at the history of the world’s most diabolical religious cults, you will find false prophets who denied God’s truths. Would you want to be numbered among such people as Joseph Smith and Charles Taze Russell? Is this the brand of company you would keep?
Hitler sneered at the Bible calling it the “Jew’s book of lies.” Josef Stalin, who murdered 15 million of his countrymen, had once been a seminarian. After abandoning God’s truths, Stalin became one of the most brutal tyrants in history. Hitler and Stalin denied the infallibility of the Bible. Would you stand in their company? Were these men, who denied God’s truths, correct in their distrust of the Bible?
Do you know who else denies the infallibility of Scripture? Satan. And if you were to bring your question to Satan, he would encourage your policy of picking and choosing what to believe and what not to believe from the Bible. He would tell you to maintain your particular brand of theology. Yes, he would certainly commend you and urge you to stay on this path.
I am asking you to think long and hard on this matter, for thoughts have consequences. I work with seminarians from a number of faith backgrounds. I had one seminarian who, like you, sat in judgment of the Bible. At the risk of sounding cruel, she was the most useless student who has ever served under me. You see, instead of dispensing God’s truths, she was a purveyor of her own opinions. She had no authority other than her own. She was spiritually anemic. She was of no use in my ministry. When I speak to prisoners or heroin addicts, I speak with God’s authority. God’s word is powerful. I have seen God’s words change lives for the better.
But you know more than God, right? I don’t think so.
It is not my intention to belittle you. You are likely a very pleasant individual. But I care enough about you to speak the truth—and the truth is this: You have no business sitting in judgment of the Bible. Let the Bible judge you.
I have never, ever met a powerful Christian who took God’s word lightly. If you want to play fast and loose with God’s truths, you will never have a powerful, life-altering testimony and your works, I fear, will be as wood, hay, and stubble. Would you become just another muddle-minded Christian? I hope not. We have too many lightweights as it is.
Only a person with colossal pride will stand in judgment of God’s written word. Perhaps a measure of pride is in order. Humble yourself before the Lord. Be assured that neither He nor His word will ever bow to you.