I love the Bible. Make no mistake. This post is not designed to minimize or diminish God’s word. But I do want to awaken us to some myths. Yes, there are some myths about God’s word. And these need to be exposed.
I like to say I look for the best in people. But really I am gullible. At least I used to be. People could make me believe cows fly…without wings. So, I have been the source of invented stories many times. Some I catch. Others I don’t.
Made up truths about cows and pigs are one thing. Those are funny. But when false truths relate to something more serious, there is a problem. I am not calling any of us gullible. But even the least naïve people occasionally buy lies. And lies pull us away from the truth.
Myths about cows hinder us from the reality only birds with wings fly (Thank you, Captain Obvious). Myths about the Bible hinder us from the truth of God and our relationship with God. That’s serious stuff.
So, I want to highlight 6 myths about the Bible that hinder our relationship with God.
1.) The Bible is the only way God speaks to us.
Yes, God speaks to us through the Bible (Heb. 4:12). Yes, the Bible is the central truth for understanding the nature of God, the salvation of God, and obedience to God. But God speaks to his people in ways outside the Bible as well. God speaks through other individuals (too many verses to list), creation (Romans 1:20), animals (Num. 20:28), the Spirit (John 14:17), and a host of other ways.
God never intended for us to wear earmuffs when the Bible is closed. God has something to say to us through other people and circumstances. And we need to listen.
2.) The Bible is the roadmap to life.
Or…the Bible is the instruction guide for living. God’s rulebook. The Christian assembly manual. Truth downloaded from heaven. I could do this for a while. But you would stop reading.
Here’s the deal. These statements are not only problematic because the answers to every situation can’t be found in the Bible. But statements like these rob the Bible of its reason for existence…to glorify God. The Bible is not the roadmap to life. It is the roadmap to God.
[tweet_box design=”default”]The Bible is not the roadmap to life. It is the roadmap to God.[/tweet_box]
So, if we look to the Bible for answers to every situation, we will look silly…and rob God of glory. “Hmmm…whom am I going to marry? What career path does God want me to take? What does the Bible have to say?”
Not much. The Bible is not like the Magic 8-ball. You remember those? Ask a question. Shake it up. Then wait for a random response. And strangely the response seemed to make sense. The thing seemed magic (hence the name). Or maybe it was programmed to say “Yes,” “No,” and “Maybe.” Adequate answers to any question.
God has given us the Bible to point people to himself, not provide answers to every trivial question in life. But if we approach the Bible as a roadmap to God, the roadmap to life might unfold as well.
3.) Stay away from the hard parts of the Bible.
[pullquote cite=”Charles H. Spurgeon” type=”left”]Defend the Bible? I would just as soon defend a lion. Just turn the Bible loose. It will defend itself.[/pullquote]Peter Enns wrote a fascinating book, The Bible Tells Me So, that talks about this idea. In this book, Enns argues Christians spend so much energy defending the Bible, we have no idea how to read it. And he’s right.
We treat the Bible like a young child…and we are an overprotective parent. “You say something bad about the Bible and you will have to deal with me.” And we actually believe we are doing God a favor by fondling our little baby Bible to prevent it from harm.
And the problem with this? For starters, God never asked us to defend the Bible. Maybe he is ok with it the way it is. Rape, killing, borderline genocide, and all.
Another problem is this…a Bible that must be defended must also behave. And many times the Bible doesn’t. So, when we come across a passage that does not act right (Judges 19-20 for example), overprotective Bible defenders either pretend the story doesn’t exist or completely freak out.
It’s time to let the Bible free. Take off the parent glasses. God’s word doesn’t need sinful people to defend it. The Bible can stand without us. And liberating the Bible will liberate us to read it and transform us.
4.) The story of Jesus begins with the New Testament.
The New Testament begins in Matthew 1. But the story of Jesus begins in Genesis.
“Frank, that’s crazy. I don’t see Jesus anywhere in the Old Testament. Stop telling those lies.” Well, I see Jesus everywhere. The difference is the lens we look through. I look at the Bible through the lense of redemption and reconciliation. And with that lens, Jesus is littered everywhere in the Old Testament.
Here’s why this is important. If the gospel begins in Genesis and not Matthew, God’s majesty and glory is shown in an exponentially greater way. He doesn’t waste hundreds of years on fun stories then get serious about redemption in the New Testament. God doesn’t horse around with the Israelites then scramble to initiate the gospel in the New Testament.
God was serious about redemption from the beginning. And he set the plan of the gospel in motion from the beginning. Every story points to it. Every word reflects it. Everything points to the cross.
The gospel is the story of the Bible, not just the story of the New Testament.
5.) The Bible is a stone to throw at others, not a sword to transform our lives.
Probably the greatest tragedy of all is the way the Bible has been used as a weapon against the “evil sinners” in the world. Like the infamous story of David and Goliath, Christians have used the Bible as a stone of condemnation for everyone not on the “right side.” Line up. Get some momentum. Sling the stone. Knock down those bad sinners.
The Bible is a weapon…to use against ourselves. God gave us the Bible as a sword to use against our wicked hearts (Heb. 4:12). A weapon to push back against our own sinfulness.
But the Bible is not a stone to throw at the world. We are not David. More importantly, the “sinners” of the world are not Goliath. It’s time to put the stones down. And turn the weapon on ourselves for the glory of God.
6.) The Bible is our Savior, not Jesus.
I am part of a tribe that holds the Bible in high regard. And I am very thankful for this. This strong conviction for God’s word laid the foundation for my faith. But I believe a temptation exists to elevate the Bible to a place with (or above) God.
This sounds blasphemous, yes. But my tribe has songs that appear to worship the Bible. I know people who walked away from God when they found out the Bible had imperfections. Other friends walked away from faith when they couldn’t make sense of why we would apply a particular passage and not another.
Translation…their faith is rooted in the Bible, not in Jesus.
You see, the Bible is a reflector. Albeit a Spirit-inspired reflector. But still a reflector. The Bible is designed to point us to the Savior, not be the Savior. If anything other than Jesus can wreck our faith, our faith is not in Jesus.
[tweet_box design=”default”]If anything other than Jesus can wreck our faith, our faith is not in Jesus. [/tweet_box]
So, use the word of God as a central source of truth. Use it as a means to awaken your heart to the glory and nature of God. But don’t make the mistake of allowing the Bible to be God.
The Bible is a great reflector. It is a terrible god.
Are there other myths about the Bible that need to be exposed? The word of God is very powerful. But the power exists because of the One the Bible points to. Our faith must be rooted in God. And the Bible must be a means to understand the nature and power of God.
Know the Word. Understand the Word. Apply the Word. But we do these because we want to know and understand the God who inspired the Word.
I love you all. To God be the glory forever. Amen!