Let me first establish a context. I have been a theologian for many years. I have a PhD in Theology. I understand the incredible importance of the Scriptures. I believe that the Scriptures are the Word of God given through His Holy Spirit for the blessing of His people. I read the Bible; I teach the Bible; I love the Bible. I probably hold a higher view of Scripture than most of my readers. I even use words like “inerrant” and “infallible” when I refer to the Scriptures as given by the Holy Spirit.
But, listen: I don’t believe the Bible is the ultimate revelation of God, nor do I believe that the Bible will save anyone.
Occasionally, as I would visit with young pastors about what they believe, I would find someone who believed that the Bible was somehow God. They worshipped the Bible. They believed that studying the Bible was the highest Christian achievement. They memorized the Bible and could quote long passages. Some of them read the Bible exclusively; they would read no other book. Recently I read a Facebook comment on a friend’s account where the writer said, “The KJV is Jesus Christ in book form.” Although I had never heard it put so bluntly before this, this is the faith of the bibliolater, the one who worships the Bible as an idol. They go too far.
You see, the Bible is holy because of its association with the One who is holy. Just as the Temple of Solomon, the Tabernacle, the Ark of the Covenant, and other objects were holy because God chose to associate Himself with them, so the Bible is holy. The words of the Bible, properly understood through the Holy Spirit, are the words of God. But the Bible is not God.
When people begin to worship the Bible, they fall into the trap of the Pharisees. The Pharisees knew the Scriptures. They studied the Scriptures carefully and faithfully. To them, the Law was the ultimate revelation of God. Yet, when God stood before them in the Person of Jesus Christ, they not only couldn’t recognize Him, they rejected Him and hated Him. The Pharisees thought they would find salvation through the Scriptures, but they missed the point. The purpose of the Scriptures of God was to point us to the Person of God.
I truly appreciate your comments!
(I am traveling these days. This series of posts was quite popular a couple of years ago. I hope you find them helpful. Please feel free to comment as usual. See you on the other side! – Dave)