The Bible as a Guide to Life

...and how not to live it!

Being told as a child that the Bible "tells us how to live" caused me a great deal of confusion when I started reading it for myself.  Clearly, right from the beginning, at least some of the people in the Bible did things that were wrong.  When Cain killed Abel, ( Genesis 4:3-9 )
The Bible doesn't tell us why God didn't accept Cain's offering, but no doubt Cain knew.  It has been suggested his sin was wanting to do things his way, not God's.
I knew that was wrong.  But some of the other passages were not as clear to me.  The more I read, the more confusion I had. 

Soon after I became a Christian, I finally got it: the Bible tells us how to live, but it also tells us how not to live.  Of all the people in the Bible, only Jesus did not commit any sins.  All the rest, even those who tried to serve God, sinned from time to time, just like the rest of us.

So what about, say, dancing?  I know many Christians are against dancing.  The Bible tells us King David "danced before the LORD" ( 2 Samuel 6:13-20 )  and was severely criticized for it. Was he right or wrong to do so?

After many years as a Christian, I finally asked and got my answer. 

There are many different kinds of dancing.  The relatively recent prohibition on dancing may have been established as a reaction to couples dancing, in which men and women dance together one-on-one in close contact.  (The waltz was considered shocking by many when it first came out.)  Such intimacy between unmarried people can lead to sin.  To guard against temptation, a rule is made, and the rule is simplified to "No dancing."  All forms of dancing have suffered as a result.  This is a example of how Biblical principles can be developed into a cultural taboo. 

But given the culture of the time, it was OK for King David to dance in celebration of the return of the ark of the LORD.  <PrudeMode=On> Personally, though, I think he ought to have been more modestly clothed. :-)