The Whole Counsel of God: Parts and Pieces

“Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.”  – Acts 20:26-27

Have you ever told a partial truth? You know, one where nothing you say is a lie, but you just don’t say everything you know? It is a lie of omission. It’s the art of politicians. We think that we technically haven’t told a lie because we haven’t said anything untrue.

But truth isn’t a buffet that you can pick and choose from. Two scoops of dressing and a pass on the carrots, thanks. No, truth is either “the whole truth” or a lie.

As a people who have in our hands the words of truth in the Bible, we should find delight in “the whole counsel of God.” And yet…

Perhaps, we should examine ourselves. What is your relationship with the whole counsel of God? Here are some probing questions to consider:

  • Do you neglect the Old Testament in preference for the New? Do you know the Old Testament as well as you do the New?
  • Do you tend toward a few favorite passages while leaving out ones that you dislike or are less familiar with?
  • Do you see Scripture as bits and pieces, or as one cohesive, coherent story? Could you tell someone the main storyline of the Bible?
  • Do you know who Balaam, Gideon, Jeroboam, Hezekiah, Haggai, and Agrippa are?
  • Do you park out in passages that fit comfortably with our culture (“turn the other cheek,” or “help the poor”) while tuning out passages that do not sit comfortably in our day (homosexual actions as sinful, salvation as only through Jesus), or vise versa?
  • Have you read the whole Bible? Lately?
  • Do you think the red words in your Bible (Jesus’ words) are more powerful authoritative, or significant for your life than the rest?
  • Have you wrested with Paul’s arguments in Romans, pondered David’s poetry in Psalms, traced the timeline of events in 2 Chronicles, consulted an atlas to locate the nations condemned in Isaiah, enjoyed the narrative of John and Esther, and stood in awe of the imagery of Daniel or Revelation?