It’s time to reframe again, and this time the To the Saints crew delves into contemporary and ancient views of scripture. Were the sacred writings always viewed the way they are now? Were any writings viewed as they are now? What about how we approach the Bible? What or who is “the Word?”
Things that people are taught that the Bible is supposed to be/do for us:
- It is our moral compass (how we know right from wrong)
- It is the answer to every question
- It is a “living” book
- Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth (it is our guidebook)
- “The United States was founded as a Christian nation on biblical principles!”
“Reading the letters of Paul is like listening to one end of a phone conversation.”
Excerpt from Pagan Christianity by Frank Viola and George Barna (pp. 229-230):
We Christians have been taught to approach the Bible in one of eight ways. See how many that apply to you…
- You look for verses that inspire you. Upon finding such verses, you either highlight, memorize, meditate upon, or put them on your refrigerator door.
- You look for verses that tell you what God has promised so that you can confess it in faith and thereby obligate the lord to do what you want.
- You look for verses that tell you what God commands you to do.
- You look for verses that you can quote to scare the devil out of his wits or resist him in the hour of temptation.
- You look for verses that will prove your particular doctrine so that you can slice-and-dice your theological sparring partner into biblical ribbons. (Because of the proof-texting method, a vast wasteland of Christianity behaves as if the mere citation of some random, decontextualized verse of Scripture ends all discussion on virtually any subject.)
- You look for verses in the Bible to control and/or correct others.
- You look for verses that “preach” well and make good sermon material.
- You sometimes close your eyes, flip open the Bible randomly, stick your finger on a page, read what the text says, and then take what you have read as a personal “word” from the Lord.
Jesus is the living, breathing Word of God. The Bible cannot be greater or more important than Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 3:16-17: All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be entirely suitable, completely furnished for every good work.
John 1:1-4: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.
The spoken word made flesh = His Son
Revelation 19:11-13: And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.
Scripture points to Jesus (Old and New Testament).
John 5:38-40, 46-47: You do not have His word abiding in you, for you do not believe Him whom He sent. You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life…For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?
1 John 2:14: I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.
Pharisees looked at the letter of the law—scripture only.
2 Corinthians 3:4-6: Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
We study scripture to see more of Christ!
Studying the Bible
-Not a jigsaw puzzle
-Context (Who, What, When, Where, Why)
Example: The Bible is like a window.
-A window allows us to look out.
-Our vision can be blocked by focusing on the window and not what beyond the
-Look at the Bible to see more of Christ
Gal 1:1, 6-7, 11-12, 15-19, 24: Paul, an apostle (not sent from men nor through the agency of man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead), … I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. … For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. … But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went away to Arabia, and returned once more to Damascus. Then three years later I went up to Jerusalem to become acquainted with Cephas, and stayed with him fifteen days. But I did not see any other of the apostles except James, the Lord’s brother. … And they were glorifying God because of me.
Time Bound Passages and Timeless Passages
- If an experience, situation, or command in the Bible pertains to a specific time, place, circumstances, it is not transferable to us. It is considered Time Bound.
Paul’s instruction to Timothy to bring his cloak and scrolls is not transferable to us today (see 2 Tim. 4:11-13).
Jeremiah was told not to seek a wife or have children (Jeremiah 16:1-2), but this is not a call for college-age men to do the same.
- If a situation or command is never revoked and/or it is repeated in Scripture and/or it pertains to a moral/theological subject, it is permanent and transferable to us. It is considered Timeless.
The command to love God with all your heart, soul, and might is a moral command that is applicable to today (Deut. 6:5). Not only is this command never revoked, it is repeated in other parts of Scripture as well.
The commands to love each other, pray for each other, and admonish each other are repeated many times in Scripture and are applicable to today.
What about those who cannot read? How do they know Christ?
-Reading is different than knowing
-Hearing in their own language
-Open their hearts to Christ
-His spirit transforming our spirit
-What position have you put the Bible in your life?
-Is He asking you to change the version of the Bible that you read? (Which can encourage seeing
different words in a new light.)
-Is He asking you to lay down the Bible for particular reasons (inspiration/guidance) or
for a season?
-Is it blocking you from seeing Christ?
There is a Franciscan quote, “Preach the gospel at all times; when necessary, use words.” This saying is quoted whenever someone wants to suggest that Christians talk about the gospel too much, and live the gospel too little.
Seeing Christ in the Movie Chocolat