Bible Study Tips for the #Selfie

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#newOutfit #Selfie

#HairCut #Selfie

#concert #alldolledup #selfie

#bored #selfie

#LookatME #selfie

Breaking news, people, the selfie culture has arrived!

(Definition: “#selfie” [pronounced: hash-tag-self-ie)… the term used in social network to identify a picture taken as a self-portait, often using a bathroom mirror or awkward stretching/smartphone balancing skills.)*

Ok, lets face it, humanity has always lived in a #selfie habitat. We are EXTREMELY interested in ourselves. From basic instincts to current media activity, the “I’s” of our world are always looking out for #1 (pronounced “Number-one”, not “hash-tag-one,” confused yet?)*

But now, humans are apt to be more self-attentive than ever before. Paul’s letter to Timothy explains it well:

“But know this: Difficult times will come in the last days. For people will be lovers of self….” (2 Timothy 3:1, 2 HCSB)

#SelfieExample #fakeSelfie #notProudOfit #soManyHashtags
#SelfieExample #fakeSelfies #notProudOfit #soManyHashtags

Now, there is soooooo much more in this chapter that I believe addresses a “last days” obsession with social media, but I’ll save that for another post. (Believe me, I was convicted).

The crucial point we need to realize is this: self-focused people also tend to reduce the study God’s own Word into a self-promoting activity.

Like Instagram, we use the Bible like a self-portrait camera:

  • We open our Bibles when it makes us feel good; we discard what we learned in Bible study when it displays our faults, just like de-tagging ourselves in ugly pics posted on Facebook.
  • Or we “crop” scripture to hide embarrassing traits.
  • We only apply certain scriptures to our lives, as if they were our favorite filters.
  • If the scriptures don’t display our highlight-real, it’s not worth telling others about it.

This makes objective Bible study very difficult; probably because the Bible is not about us!!! 

It is not the story of humanity climbing out of the deep dark pit of despair. It is not a highlight-reel of epic Biblical heroes who progressively got closer to God till Jesus came and made everything perfect. It is CERTAINLY not the narration of Becky Rosty: saving the animals on the ark, slaying Goliath with a sling-shot and stones, resisting temptation in pharaoh’s palace, finding true love in the Song of Solomon, and walking on water with the faith of a mustard seed.

Also, the Bible is not a subjective list of suggestions or ideas, displayed in a store front for us to pick and choose during a Sunday morning window-shopping spree. God Almighty dictated each concept for a reason.

Still, how often do we insert “me” into the truths of Scripture. The Bible becomes a reflection of me: how I think, what I would do, who I would be in the story. God’s Word becomes just another app with the same purpose: to reflect my awesome ideas and highlight my epic life.

#Selfie

Subjective study, reading out of context, and implying our fixed ideas onto scripture is called eisegesis. Objective studying the Bible, allowing it’s fixed truth shape our ideas, is called exegesis.

If we choose to study Scripture using eisegesis, we are doing ourselves a great disservice. More importantly, we are not honoring God or becoming more like Him. Philippians 2 explains how we can be more like Jesus, but it involves putting away the self-promotion:

Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God  as something to be used for His own advantage.  Instead He emptied Himself  by assuming the form of a slave,  taking on the likeness of men.  And when He had come as a man in His external form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death — even to death on a cross.  For this reason God highly exalted Him  and gave Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow   — of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth  — and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. So then, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence, but now even more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.  For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose. (Philippians 2:3, 5-13 HCSB)

Let us choose to clear our minds of “me” before studying God’s Word. Let’s make ourselves available to the work of the Holy Spirit, to bend and to shape us to be more like Jesus. Using exegesis, we will learn more about God, the real hero of the story. In the end, studying the Bible with an objective perspective will better equip us to worship HIM!

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  • Love love LOVE this post!! Thank you SO much for writing this. I often feel SO self centered if I put a pic of myself on instagram. Especially with the “hashtag” of selfie… just sounds so self centered. You hit the nail on the head with this post. We definitely need to re-configure our brains to be Christ centered rather than me centered. Bless you!! Thank you for your blog!

    • I totally know how you feel! I think there is a time and place to take a selfie or two. I appreciate being able to see my friend’s faces and know what is going on in their life (especially pregger’s selfies LOL). But in the end, God knows our hearts and our motives behind each action or though. So somebody may post a bunch of pictures of themselves, and it can be honoring to God. Others might never post a selfie, but they are still self-centered in other parts of their life (like reading the Bible, or their conversations.)
      In other words, this isn’t the end-all conclusion to our hyper-self-focused culture. We are just beginning the conversation. Thanks for being a part! I am glad you feel encouraged, please know that I’ll be praying for you.

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  • Hannah Wiest

    Becky,
    I do not have a smartphone or Twitter account or Instagram, but that does not mean I am immune to the #selfie ways of thinking and conducting my life.
    I am too often guilty of feeling proud that I opened the Bible, treating it like a little check mark on my “Be a good Christian to-do list.”
    Lately, though, I have felt convicted in this area. With that conviction has come a near-daily call from Christ to draw near to him through the Word, and it has been so sweet to approach the Bible as a conversation with my Savior where I get to know his heart and his desires for the world and his followers.
    Anyway, thanks for this post. It was a good reminder and a call to live selflessly.
    Hannah

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