Our culture seems to relish or even revere the “one-liner”. In verbal repartee the quick, brief, potent response is seen as a sign of the superior intellect. If one can dispatch an opponent with a few caustic and possibly humorous words, then you are the ultimate adversary. In this atmosphere theatrical ability is more powerful than any command of reason and logic, or even of the facts themselves.
Maybe this fascination with forceful brevity is the reason why in religious discussion, the biblical “proof text” (a few verses proving a theological point) has been seen as the ultimate “coup de grace”. Everyone seems to have at least a few such scriptures that “prove” their chosen theological position with no room for any further discussion.
I am no proponent of long-winded theological discourses, but that does not mean that I think that any one biblical passage stands by itself in proving a point. After all the Bible is a 2000 page book in the typical version, so why would one or two isolated verses be proof of the biblical position on any topic. If God revealed his working with so many words, it was for a reason. Brevity did not serve His purpose, and so it does not necessarily serve ours either.
Religious history demonstrates that isolated biblical texts have been used to justify many positions that are not consistent with other teachings of Christ. These inconsistencies prove for me that using “proof-texts” is not a valid way to understand or prove the Bible. A complex, subtle book like this requires study in its entirety before one reaches conclusions about the true message. The Bible is a “big picture” book, and the “big picture” cannot be gleaned from a few passages here and there. No few verses can explain the Bible any more than a few lines from Shakespeare can establish his true greatness as a playwright