So you’re writing a Christian nonfiction book. Good for you!
Plus, you’ve not only read over Innovative Editing’s Writing Challenge from Thursday; you’ve also committed to implementing it. Which is even better.
You’re officially on your way to potentially becoming an expert on Biblical studies. More power to you.
Just remember that even experts can misunderstand their subject matter from time to time. There isn’t a single human being who does know or ever did know absolutely everything, no matter how long they studied.
Besides, when it comes to the Bible specifically, we’re talking about a lot of pages. A lot of pages that cover a lot of history, a lot of people and a lot of information. So no matter how well-versed we are in the Bible, there’s always going to be something else to learn.
Don’t lose sight of that fact while writing a Christian nonfiction book.
For that matter, don’t lose sight of that at all.
We’re not God.
That’s not just a Writing Rule. It’s a life rule. Even if we all go through life with the bad habit of forgetting it.
This isn’t to say we can’t acknowledge right and wrong, good and evil. It’s not a mis-interpretation of Matthew 7:1 – perhaps the most obnoxiously misquoted Bible verse ever. It’s just a reminder that we’re human. Therefore, we’re not God. Therefore, we’re not going to get everything right in our theological understanding of the Christian walk.
Therefore, we’re not going to get absolutely everything right when we write about that Christian walk. This brings us right back to Matthew 7:1…
Matthew 7:1 is the verse that says, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged” (NIV). It’s a caution people have used as a battle cry to justify living whatever harmful way they want to – hardly how Jesus meant it when he spoke those words out loud 2,000 years ago.
What he was calling out was another harmful human tendency: that of thinking too highly of ourselves. We’re really good at convincing ourselves we’ve got it all figured out, that we don’t make grossly damaging mistakes to ourselves and others, and that God automatically approves of us because we say, do or believe the "right" things.
It’s that kind of arrogance Matthew 7:1 warns against. And with very good reason. Because it’s that kind of arrogance that leads to extreme division in the Church, where we’re at each other’s throats over differing interpretations of issues such as:
Calvinism vs. Arminianism
Male and female preachers vs. Only male preachers
Catholic vs. Protestant
The list, of course, goes on from there.
This isn’t to say we can’t have our disagreements. Disagreements can actually be quite healthy if we use them to challenge each other instead of tear each other down.
So, by all means, hold your well-researched, carefully thought-out, Biblically-inspired opinions. Just don’t let them ever detract from the fact that all of us are constantly faced with a choice...
A choice between life and death, where Jesus loves us so much that he died to prove how much he wants us to choose life.
This does not change one bit if you’re an expert who’s writing a Christian nonfiction book. Writing a Christian nonfiction book doesn’t make you God.
It simply makes you someone writing a Christian nonfiction book.