Are we cherry picking the Scripture?

Are we [Christians] guilty of Cherry Picking Scripture? I think it’s probably true for all of us, each denomination, category or flavor. We know who we are, what line or verse resonates with our ideas, so we sort of…make it…Our Scripture! I even wonder sometimes if we know we are doing it!

Let’s talk about (I hope you comment and participate!) it as we go over a common example to see if we are cherry picking Scripture!

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” – 2 Timothy 2:15, KJV

What is Cherry-Picking?

Well…as good as the featured image is, we aren’t talking about getting buckets, loading up the van, driving to a field and picking some of God’s best-made fruits! Rather, we are talking about the act of avoiding or leaving behind the unwanted cherries and digging around and only accepting or taking for yourself the best-looking fruit.

In today’s article, that application is using certain Scriptures that fit your story, purpose or denomination and completely ignoring all those other Scriptures around it that are applicable but don’t help your cause. This is like statistical analysts who show you the numbers that benefit their cause but shroud the numbers that would damage their story.


Common Example: Some Old Testament Laws

In my article Men & Women’s Apparel in Ancient Days & Today we talked a little about some dress standards common (and we are not necessarily saying they are bad unto themselves as individual convictions) in more legalistic churches, using a well-known Scripture.

The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God. – Deuteronomy 22:5


Our article highlights the out of context usage of this Scripture, but we aren’t rehashing that.  What we do want to hash is how it has been cherry-picked. Some claim that if the word abomination is in the Scripture, that one word makes the topic of the Scripture a moral or unbreakable law that was to be continued, to the letter, as it was in the days of old, prior to the New Covenant of Christ and Grace.

With this example, I’ll focus on the Wesleyan style church movements that specifically spawned the Holiness movement and Apostolic Pentecostal churches. This Scripture is a hallmark to their dress standards – women can only wear skirts and dresses, men can only wear jeans/slacks, no shorts or short sleeve shirts (not sure how these are gender specific…), no makeup, jewelry, dyed hair, etc.

With the argument of moral law, let’s look at the low-hanging fruit around Deuteronomy 22:5 and ask, why aren’t we picking this moral fruit?

“But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel: Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father’s house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you.” – Deuteronomy 22:20,21 KJV

Certainly, sexual morality is much more important than pants and skirts, and most certainly we do not argue that we should be stoning people for their sins! Yet, this was an abomination, sexual immorality.

Furthermore, in Deuteronomy 14, the first half of the chapter was about what animals were abominable – you know, the good stuff, pork, shrimp, crab…

“Thou shalt not eat any abominable thing.” – Deuteronomy 14:3, KJV

Deuteronomy 17:1-7 highlights idolatry and any who worship false gods are to be stoned as it is an abomination to God. We read this as an example of how strongly God feels for these things.

Nearly 20 years ago I read the Sword of Truth books by Terry Goodkind. The very first book is called Wizards First Rule, and the wizard uttered these words:

People are stupid. They believe things mainly because they either want them to be true or fear them to be true. 

I am not implying anyone is stupid! It’s just a quote.

You see, when we cherry pick the word, and we teach it as absolute truth without regard for the rest of the story, people will believe it. They will believe it because they want to. They will believe it because they want to believe in you. Or they will believe it because the truth isn’t what they want to believe.

We must guard ourselves against picking only the cherries in Scripture we want to eat, but be led into all truths, using All Scripture to guide our beliefs and understanding. I’ll end with the Scripture we began today’s article with;

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” – 2 Timothy 2:15, KJV

God bless! I look forward to your comments.





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