I couldn’t resist clicking on a recent tweet that encouraged me to test my “Bible IQ.” After all, I have been teaching Bible studies for a lot of years and I’m married to a walking seminary! Before you finish reading this blog post, take the Bible quiz for yourself. (I would LOVE for you to share your results in the comments section!)
When I took the test I checked the box marked “Highly knowledgeable” for the aforementioned reasons. After receiving the results it said I should have chosen the more humble, “Moderately knowledgeable” selection. But then I took some time to read some of the comments on the Bible IQ test. Apparently, there was one question that most of us missed. Many commented that they felt the test was wrong, so I thought I would see what my theologian husband scored.
I sent the link to Jim hoping my own test results would be vindicated. When he got to the question “Do you believe the Bible encourages, discourages or is silent about racism?” Jim said, “A lot of people will probably say that Scripture encourages racism, but it doesn’t.” At that moment I knew I was hopelessly doomed to the “moderately knowledgeable” section.
I should have just left his office and admitted defeat. But, in a last ditch effort to achieve the highly knowledgeable category, I made an effective Old Testament argument. Then I asked him why he thought the Bible discouraged racism. He patiently looked at me and quoted:
I shuffled out of his office to finish writing this blog post. I had hoped to tell you all of my highly knowledgeable Bible vindication. Instead I will humbly accept my moderate status. I should have known that God could never encourage racism.
Racism is an on-going flaw of our human nature. At different times in human history the word has been attached to different types of people. I decided to look up the Oxford Dictionary‘s definition of racism. It read: “The belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.”
I thought about that definition for quite a while and compared it to Galatians 3:26-29. I found myself wondering, where all the races came from, if we were all descendants of Adam and Eve? After another trip to see my “live-in Bible commentary.” He suggested this resource.
We are all descendants of Noah and the different races came from the variations in his children and the physical adaptations that occurred as people moved to the various parts of the world. In other words, there is only one race – the human race. But there will always be differences among people.
So, speaking as a moderately knowledgeable Bible teacher – the ultimate answer to racism is the knowledge that one day in heaven we will ALL be in Christ Jesus and that will be the only race for all eternity.
Until then, every human being will be born with differences and with the weaknesses of our fallen human natures. Our hope is to remember that our strength to defeat racism and every sin will be found “in Christ Jesus.”
The apostle Paul was an infamous “racist” in Scripture, until he met Jesus on the road to Damascus. Later he wrote to the church in Corinth with this message:
What does the Bible teach about racism? Scripture reveals that racism has existed in every generation because it is a “worldly point of view.” We need to see things from God’s point of view. There are only two types of people; those who have received Christ as their Lord, and those who still need to.
For those of us who have been made a “new creation” we should live gratefully humble and walk “in” his strength. Racism will be an ongoing battle for every human being. But for those of us who want to be Christ’s ambassadors, we need to continue his ministry of reconciliation in our world through his strength.