Worship the Bible and worship yourself

The problem with loudly claiming the Bible as your only guide to faith and practice is that, at the same time, you may be quietly claiming your own intellect as your only guide to the Bible. If you aren’t, what other guide to the Bible do you claim? Can’t think of one? I suspected as much.

Do you think the human brain is powerful enough, or innocent enough, to understand the ways of God? The apostle Paul didn’t, and his brain was probably more powerful than yours. If you don’t want to obey the truth, don’t worry, you won’t. You won’t understand it or even appreciate it, even if you study it for years.

If the Bible was meant to be studied like a textbook, the marginal notes would be part of the inspired canon. So would the topical index. If Jesus meant the foundation of his church to be his teachings, instead of his imperishable Spirit, he would have organized and categorized them better. He would have explained all his parables. Even better, he wouldn’t have told any parables. Stories are too hard to fit into a systematic theological outline.

Don’t misunderstand me. I don’t intend to build my faith and practice on anything that contradicts the Bible. I don’t believe the Bible makes any mistakes. But I want to believe in what the Bible makes of itself, not what I want to make of it.

For centuries, the Bible’s teachings have been analyzed by historians, philosophers, archaeologists and astrophysicists. And what do I make of the Bible? That’s the wrong question entirely. In the end, the only question that matters is, what is the Bible making of me?

19 thoughts on “Worship the Bible and worship yourself

  1. Well said, especially your last line. I would also say that “what we make of the Bible” should be defined not by our intellect, but by a number of things. While I agree that we should be asking “what is the Bible making of me” that somewhat begs the question. How can I let the Bible make me into something if I don’t have some basis for what it means? Finding a basis for what it means is a very important question that involves lots of things: our intellect, the Spirit, Church tradition, friends, family, pastors, research, solid exegesis, reading, praying, etc. (and not necessarily in that order).

  2. Matt, it does beg that question. But I don’t think we have an answer to that question here. You included a marvelous list of ways that God illuminates the Scripture for us. But surely you aren’t saying that once we work our way through a list (okay, examined commentaries… check, consulted pastor… check), we will then know the meaning of the Bible. We will know the meaning of the Bible when God reveals it to us. Uncomfortable and dangerous, but I don’t know any alternative. Nothing else defines the meaning of the Bible except the author of the Bible.

    Thanks for the encouragement, Graham. I’ll try to be more
    faithful in sharing.

  3. No, I would definitely not say once we checked our way through a list we will know the meaning of the entire Bible. But that doesn’t mean we can’t say that we know nothing of the Bible. I think that if we do those things on the “list” (not just checking them off, but always doing them) we will be consistently growing in our understanding of the Bible and God (because of the Holy Spirit). One (of the many) amazing things about God is that He is mysterious and we could never hope to comprehend Him in all His glory, that mysteriousness should be entered into and embraced, but that should also not prevent us from learning the deep truths to be found in His word.

  4. You pose interesting questions, but I don’t think you answer them clearly. First, God gives us intelligence to understand the plain language of the Bible. And our faith, which God also gives us, and grows in us, removes the biases and temptations to rationalize. And it is the Holy Spirit that opens our spiritual eyes to see beyond what the ‘natural’ man can see.

  5. I should add that we will never understand the full depth of the Bible. But the basic, important things are repeated and said so many different ways in the Bible that plain thinking and simple faith suffice.

  6. Thanks Jim. You stated that well. But faith that “removes the biases and the temptations to rationalize” is not simple faith. It is extraordinary faith. That’s why most of us prefer to depend on our intellects instead. And instead of assuring us that plain thinking will naturally lead to the truth, Jesus warned that “‘seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest perhaps they should turn again, and their sins should be forgiven them” (Mark 4:12).

  7. The belief in Bible inerrancy has in my opinion led many people astray. People end up limiting the
    definition of God to the writings contained in an old book. When God and the Bible don’t seem to jive, these people choose the book. In the process they end up worshiping the Bible rather than God.

  8. When God and the Bible don’t seem to jive, people should fall on their knees and cry out to God for understanding. The Bible isn’t wrong, but it is no shield to defend us from having to face God.

  9. All the Christine’s in Church are breaker the GOD law all the city are Birmingham,Alabama all
    ever where. I go to Church every sunday it is not right. in Bible Study in North Birmingham,

  10. Wow, what an amazing and spiritual thought. I never would have imagined it possible that I was worhiping the Bible instead of the God of the Bible. It’s just too bad we can’t go back in time and tell this to people like Saint Augustine, or Matin Luther, too bad we didn’t tell this to intellectual midgets like Thomas Aquinas, or Polycarp or Justin Myrtar.
    What your doing with out realizing it (probably because you heard someone say something like this once) is your emphasizing your own feelings and demphasizing the traditional teaching of the Church. (oh yea that collective body of believers through out TIME that have collectively looked at scripture and arrived at consensual teaching ie orthodoxy.) This liberalism your promoting was put forth by a man name Friedrich Schleiermacher in the 17th Century who said Christianity was just a feeling of utter dependance upon God; a couple years later a man named Ludwig Fouerbach pointed out there was no way to tell the difference between a “feeling of utter dependance” and self delusional behavior. If you take the collective teaching of the Church seriously (don’t accuse me of worshiping the Church Fathers now) you CAN begin to arrive at consistant and logical understanding of scriptures.
    When you make these type of statments what it amounts to is placing your own cultural understandings and feelings above the scriptures. Then you turn the obvious on it’s head and accuse those who take the scriptures seriously as worshiping false idols. Get a grip on yourself… You want to talk about theology do a little reading. Get over the rhetoric and make accurate statments. Fundamentalist take the scriptures seriously and authoratively they don’t worship them; such an accusation is a red herring meant to sway ignorant people.
    Please send hate mail to [email protected]

  11. I would like to know, now many churches is teaching different things ,
    i want to know what is the true time for worship ?
    it is in sunday or saturday or night time ?
    from Babula

  12. Mike Brown, you make some good points, in the midst of misunderstanding what I’m saying. Yes, looking at believers who have gone before us can check and balance our interpretation of the Bible. But making their intellect your guide isn’t ultimately better than making your own intellect your guide. It’s still not God. But if “He is there but He is silent now,” (which isn’t what Francis Schaeffer said but what many Christians believe), you have to cling to something.

  13. The Christian religion is a religion that is based for the most part, on the assumptions of man.

    The Bible is full of rumors, legends, assumptions, opinions and incorrect conclusions.

    There are only three basic wills that God has for each of us. They have only changed once in 6400 years. 1. Trust Him, God, completely. 2. Love each other – live to be a blessing to all. 3. Accept the true son of God, Jesus.

    That is all there is. I don’t need the Bible to search for God’s will. I have figured it out. If I live those three wills, that will please God and give him everything he expects and wants from us.

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