A Partial Bible
A devotional thought from Geoff Ashley for “Jesus’ Deity”
Colossians 1:17: “He is before all things, and by Him all things hold together.”
What image comes to mind when someone mentions Thomas Jefferson? Perhaps you picture a powdered wig wearer with feather in hand patriotically penning the Declaration of Independence. Political accomplishments and scandals aside, there is one piece of trivia with which many today are unfamiliar—Jefferson created his own “Holy Bible.”
Skeptical of the various supernatural elements of the Christian testaments, Jefferson, a deist, took a razor to the Bible. He removed certain sections that he found offensive, unscientific, unenlightened, or impractical. Chief among these revisions was the removal of all references to the deity of Christ.
For many today, as with Jefferson, there is still value in a diluted and restrained portrait of Christ. They surmise that if we can only remove the offensive, miraculous, and exclusive depictions, then we can arrive at the purity of true religion. But the apostle John dealt deism, liberalism, and various cults a swift and decisive death blow in 1 John 5:12: “The one who has the Son has life. The one who doesn’t have the Son of God does not have life.”
By obscuring Christ, you obscure the very essence of Christianity. By denying His deity, you deny the very means by which you can be reconciled to God. There is no life outside of Christ. There is no Christianity apart from the central doctrine of the deity of Christ. Ironically, by removing what is perceived to be peripheral, Jefferson (and many like him today) cut the cord that binds all other biblical beliefs and doctrines. By their actions and words, these people withhold the One in whom all is held together.
Pause and Reflect
• Do you agree that Jesus Christ is necessary for salvation? Why or why not?
• Why do you think that many historical and contemporary thinkers oppose the deity and exclusivity of Christ?
• What are your thoughts on Jefferson’s attempts to edit the Bible to create a more palatable version? How do many of us do the same thing today metaphorically?