James 2:10-12 (NIV)
10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11 For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker. 12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom.
The following is reported to be a true story someone found regarding exams at Cambridge University. It seems that during an examination one day a bright young student popped up and asked the proctor to bring him Cakes and Ale. The following dialog ensued:
Proctor: I beg your pardon?
Student: Sir, I request that you bring me Cakes and Ale.
Proctor: Sorry, no.
Student: Sir, I really must insist. I request and require that you bring me Cakes and Ale.
At this point, the student produced a copy of the four-hundred-year old laws of Cambridge, written in Latin and still nominally in effect, and pointed to the section which read (roughly translated): "Gentlemen sitting examinations may request and require Cakes and Ale." Pepsi and hamburgers were judged the modern equivalent, and the student sat there, writing his examination and happily slurping away.
Three weeks later, the student was fined five pounds for not wearing a sword to the examination.
When we study the law, we sometimes are careful to find those things which may benefit us, while trying to ignore the rest. It happens with the Bible all the time. Ever know anybody who only quoted the Bible when it was convenient for them ("Judge not that ye be not judged")? They want to get their "cakes and ale" but ignore the part about "wearing a sword"? God's Word isn't like a cafeteria. We don't get to go through and pick out which parts we want and which parts we don't like.
Dear Lord, help us to read and take the Bible as a whole and not just the parts that we think will meet our needs. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.