Because it is essentially useless, and can be leading you into ways that are anti-Christ.
I’m not going to point you to a particular verse that you need to cut out. Or tell you to take a marker and black out a certain chapter in a certain book of the Bible. But you should be holding a marker close by.
I do hold the Bible as a sacred text. I believe what Paul says in his letter to Timothy as truth, that
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” – 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV
But that God-breathed Scripture does not include the headings in your Bible.
Here is a picture of my work bible. You will notice that I have scratched out the headline over a particular portion of Scripture.
Why? Because it is extremely misleading and can actually cause you to treat parts of this God-breathed Scripture as pointless.
The photo shows that I scratched out the heading “Miscellaneous Laws”, from Deuteronomy 23. The problem with “Miscellaneous Laws” is that this heading tells me that these laws don’t matter as much as “The Ten Commandments” in Exodus 20.
Yes, the Ten Commandments are important. But saying that there are laws that are more important or deserve our attention more any other commandment that God has given to reduce parts of God’s Word as “kind of” important. It becomes something “interesting” if you really want to know the history or context of Scripture, but that is a reduction of what God’s written Word. All of God’s Word is God-breathed, whether it is a popular and well known portion of Scripture, or a portion that has been reduced to a page filled and “Miscellaneous” or unimportant.
It could be a misunderstanding of the word “Miscellaneous”, but to me it means “all that other junk.” We have a glass bowl on our kitchen counter that is full of odds and ends. I know people that have a drawer full of ‘stuff’. It’s all the things we don’t know what to do with, so we through it all there. It’s a glass bowl of ‘miscellaneous stuff’ or junk. Worthless, not as important as other things, junk.
Is that anyway to talk about God and His commandments?
And to add insult to injury, these “Miscellaneous Laws” are vitally important, and extremely relevant for today. We are facing issues of bigotry and xenophobia. Refugees and immigrants are facing deportation and violent harassment day after day. The abandonment of people by their governments and neighbours shooting up local Muslim mosques are becoming regular things, even in peaceful Canada.
What we need are reminders of laws like these,
“Do not deprive the foreigner or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you from there. That is why I command you to do this.” – Deuteronomy 24:17-18
These are not miscellaneous laws. These are calls of conduct, this is how we are called to live in God’s Kingdom. We treat the foreigner, the refugee, the immigrant with respect. We honour them and give them their fair day in court, as we would anyone else. We do not abuse their trust or take advantage of them because of their heritage or lineage. God calls us to live a higher way, a better way than the way of the world.
I could keep talking about that, and many have. But this serves as an illustration as to how important the Word of God is, even when it is labelled as “Miscellaneous” and treated as junk or unimportant.
So I challenge you, as I have been challenged when I’m reading the Scriptures: Do not put stock in the headings of the Bible. They are not the inspired, God-breathed Scripture that we cling to. They are added in by editors and publishers to help people navigate their Bible. They are at best suggestions as to what is about to be follow. At worst, they are completely misleading and ignoring the importance of what God has said, because it doesn’t appear to be a big and flashy passage of Scripture.
Read your Bible and decide whether the headings are accurate. When they aren’t, grab your marker, and like me, scratch out that part of your Bible.
Photo from pexel.com