Don’t Sacrifice What You Know, On the Altar of What You Don’t Know

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Young Man: “But what about some of that stuff in Leviticus, and Numbers, and Deuteronomy? It doesn’t make sense to me.”

Old Man: “Don’t sacrifice what you know, on the altar of what you don’t know.”

In Deuteronomy there’s page after page of ancient laws, rules, and regulations. Most of them make obvious sense or they’re explained in scripture. A few seem awkward and strange, and are presented without explanation.

Of course all of us have questions about certain scriptures in the Bible. But when that becomes your focus, I think you’re walking into a trap. If I become obsessed with those parts of scripture I don’t understand, I risk discounting, or even sacrificing all the rest of scripture, most of which I do understand and recognize to be true.

A convert of the great revival leader, Charles Finney, drew this analogy concerning focus on what you don’t understand in the Bible. He said of himself, before his conversion:

“It’s as if I had been called to pass judgement on some splendid piece of architecture, some magnificent temple; and that as soon as I came in view of one corner of the structure, I fell into disgust, and turned away and refused to inspect it farther. I condemned the whole, without at all regarding its proportions.”

Give regard to the whole of scripture. Give regard to its proportions. Focus on what you do know. Live out what you know to be true. Give thanks for the scriptures God uses to reach you.

At the regular weekly Bible study I attend, we’re in Deuteronomy right now. And speaking of these matters our pastor made the wise statement: “Don’t sacrifice what you know, on the altar of what you don’t know.” (see Wednesday, May 16, 2012 teaching at

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.”

-Jesus Christ, Matthew 5:17-18

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