In all of my writings and sermons, I would typically put passages in parentheses on just about every line. If I quoted, referenced, or made an allusion to a passage, it would go straight into a parenthesis.
I’ve stopped doing this so much recently, and I want to share why.
I started paying attention to other people who do this, and I tried to look up some of the passages they quoted. In so many cases, the passage had little to nothing to do with whatever they were talking about. It was either taken out of context, misapplied, or maybe I disagreed with their use of the passage.
On some Facebook posts, I’ll see people respond to someone’s argument by just posting a verse or list of verses as if that just settles it or does anything at all. But if they don’t take the time to interpret the passage and explain their usage of it, they are just assuming that everyone reads it the same way, and that just isn’t reasonable.
Another thought that came into my head is that Jesus never felt compelled to specifically cite passages. At best you would get the author’s name. At worst you would hear, “It is somewhere stated…” like in Hebrews 2:6. Of course, many times, if not most, the New Testament author wouldn’t even tell you they were quoting a passage.
I realized, then, that putting those passages into parentheses like that was a crutch I used to fit in with a modern concept, not a biblical one. It was a way to give “book, chapter, and verse” for every little thing I said (this is a modern concept because chapters and verses are relatively modern). While I’ll still do this when I’m making some argument about a specific passage or wanting to present quality research, I’m going to try to post passages that I take the time to discuss or, at least, set the stage for.
I don’t want to assume that my interpretation of a passage is right unless I put the work in for you, and I don’t want to give the idea that just because I throw some verses at the end of a sentence that what I’m saying is on the same level as the Scripture itself.
I know this might sound strange to some people, and it might not be something that you even notice, but as I saw other people tagging every other sentence with a passage and realized how little they were needed for their writing, I thought it best to drop the habit myself.
Sometimes, I’ll still add a passage here and there for your further study and consideration, but I’m going to try to knock it off for my own writings!