Who would read Paul saying that “I beat my body” and conclude that beating one’s own body must be the one and only way acceptable before God to keep from “disqualifying for the prize”?
Who would read Jesus saying “If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out” and conclude that blinding one’s self in one eye would be the one and only way acceptable before God to “enter the kingdom of God”?
Who would read Paul saying that “… women will be saved through childbearing – if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety” and conclude that this is the one and only way that any woman can be saved?
Who would read Jesus saying that “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” and conclude that asceticism and carrying (or just wearing) a wooden cross is the one and only acceptable way to follow Him?
Who would read Peter saying that “… this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also ….” (1 Peter 3:21) and ignore the word “also” and – apart from any other scripture about belief, confession, repentance, grace, His sacrifice – conclude that baptism alone is the one and only acceptable way to be saved?
We can take things too literally. We can take them out of context. We can skip what we don’t like, don’t comprehend, and/or don’t want to deal with.
We can even take the absence of any mention of furniture in New Testament churches and conclude that the one and only acceptable piece of furniture in the Lord’s house is a table – and that must be all right because the gospels mention it at the Last Supper.
However, we do so at our own peril. And that peril is not from physically beating ourselves, physically half-blinding ourselves, or physically failing to reproduce …
… but spiritually.