Thomas Jefferson loved the teachings of Jesus. In fact, the author of the Declaration of Independence called them “the most sublime and benevolent code of morals which has ever been offered to man.” But Jefferson was also a child of the Enlightenment. He didn’t have a cognitive category for miracles, so Jefferson literally took a pair of scissors and cut them out of his King James Bible. It took him two or three nights. And by the time he was done, he had cut out the virgin birth, cut out the angels, cut out the Resurrection. Jefferson extracted every miracle, and the result was a book titled The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth, or what is commonly referred to as the Jefferson Bible.
Hard to imagine, isn’t it? And something rises up within those of us who believe that the Bible is inspired by God. Part of us scoffs or scolds Jefferson, You can’t pick and choose. You can’t cut and paste. You can’t do that to the Bible. But here’s the truth: while most of us can’t imagine taking a pair of scissors to the Bible and physically cutting verses out, we do exactly what Jefferson did. We ignore verses we cannot comprehend. We avoid verses we do not like. And we rationalize verses that are too radical.
Can I make a personal confession? Whenever I’m reading the Bible and I come to a verse that I don’t fully understand or live up to, I find myself reading really fast. I speed-read right past those verses. But then I slow it down when I come across verses I understand and obey. That’s human nature, isn’t it? Here’s a lesson I’ve learned the hard way: when I come across a verse I want to read real fast, I probably need to read real slow! — Wild Goose Chase: Reclaim the Adventure of Pursuing God (Mark Batterson)