Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Idea That the Bible Replaced God

There is a widespread teaching that God only speaks to us through the bible. It or similar teachings say, "the bible is the primary way God speaks to us" or that "the bible is God's chosen thing to speak to mankind." Does the bible itself actually back this idea up? Let's look to Jesus first.

Jesus
  • While Jesus quoted scriptures & taught from them (Luke 24:27) Jesus never told anyone, including his disciples to read, study, or meditate on the scriptures. Obviously John was familiar with scriptures because in His gospel he often pointed out how Christ fulfilled scriptures. Still the absence of this command should really make us think.
  • Jesus said the Holy Spirit would lead Christians to ALL truth. He made no mention of scripture leading people to truth.
  • Jesus never told his disciples to teach or preach from the scriptures.
  • In Matthew 26:54-56 Jesus said He fulfills the scriptures.
  • In John 5:39 Jesus said that the scriptures themselves do not contain eternal life but they do testify of who can give us eternal life, Jesus Himself. This lets us know that eternal life is not something to be obtained by intellect or belief in scriptures but by encountering Jesus & trusting Him. In short the purpose of the scriptures are to point to the living God, not to replace Him & His voice as if He were dead or absent.
  • Jesus nor anyone else ever prophesied that the New Testament would be collected.
Acts
  • Paul only used the scriptures in evangelism with people (Jews) who already knew the scriptures because they valued the scriptures. Paul did this to the Berean Jews to convince them from the scriptures that Jesus is the Messiah (Acts 17:11).
  • Paul, Apollos, & Phillip were described in Acts as only using the scriptures to prove that Jesus is the Messiah to Jews.
  • The meeting of the Assembly in Jerusalem to address the Gentiles came up with 3 things for them to keep, with Paul saying later that one of those doesn't even matter. They did not say "give them a copy of the scriptures & have them read it."
Paul
  • Most of the times Paul quotes old covenant scripture he does so pointing to Jesus as the Messiah or to show that we are made righteous by trust. Paul does quote scriptures a few times to make other points.
  • Paul wrote, "All scripture inspired of God is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16).
    • So scripture is a good & beneficial thing. He does not suggest however that all scripture is profitable to all people in all situations. Peter said of Paul's writings that people can & do twist his writings to their own destruction.
Peter
  • Peter taught from scripture in 1 Peter 2.
  • Peter said that, "no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation" speaking of how scripture prophesied about Jesus. He said the the prophecies of scripture were written by "men moved by the Holy Spirit speaking from God" (2 Peter 1:16-21)
  • In 2 Peter 3:16 he said, "The untaught and unstable distort all of the Scriptures to their own destruction (referring to the Old Testament as well as Paul's writings)."
    • Who teaches us? Jesus said it is the Holy Spirit
    • Who makes us stable? God
    • So the people Peter was talking about used the scriptures without trusting or learning from God. God will never teach you to destroy yourself. Satan is the one who seeks to destroy & Paul said in 1 Timothy 4:1 that there are indeed "doctrines of demons" out there.
Wait.. Who is Lord again?
Again & again we see scripture say that Jesus Christ is our Lord, yet again & again I hear Christians say that the bible is our final authority. What a contradiction! Those who take scripture as "final authority" contradict the scriptures themselves because the scriptures make it very clear that "Jesus is Lord." It is easier to lead someone into falsehood by saying, "the bible says.." than it is by saying, "God told me.." Even the scriptures tell us to "live & walk by the spirit." After the Spirit has come scripture doesn't say, "live & walk by the scriptures."

How can you have Christianity without Christ? You take a book that points to Christ & you make the book point back at itself. In short you call the bible the "word of God" as if the bible itself did not say "the Word of God is Jesus who came to earth in the flesh." When you claim the book speaks for God you can then use the book to play God. You can manipulate people with the book by pointing to what you claim "God said" & regardless of the context people will believe you. Jesus said he is our ONE leader, if you call yourself a Christian leader, whether you realize it or not, you are playing God, period.

Most churches are in fact "Satan's School for Christians." They teach you & lead you to believe more lies about God & yourself than you would ever believe if you sat at home your whole life & never picked up the bible once.

Learning from Scripture
 Seeing one statement in a book that has been split into hundreds of verses and that book being only one book in the bible it is going to be hard to know what is going on. The bible was never meant to be used the way people use it. People are supposed to learn by the Spirit. When someone replaces the Spirit with the bible they won’t learn anything.

Some translations suck but Peter also said that Paul wrote in a way & about things that were hard to understand. The letters were only written to certain people & many people at the time couldn’t even read. So there is nothing wrong with not approaching or reading scripture, Jesus never commanded it & while scripture was upheld as profitable it is the truth of scripture that is important & impactful however you learn it.

To be part of relationships &/or a community where some gather insight from scriptures and others don't is ok because those who do can pass it on. The difference between this and a church where a pastor preaches is that it is never my job to pass things on, it is my joy. And no one is obligated to listen to me or submit to me. They are allowed to make assessments about what is true themselves with the guidance of God. They never have to give up their rights to think & relate to God themselves. A fruit of the Spirit is joy so God uses the joy of the truth you find to invite you to share it with others.

Some say, "the Spirit won't contradict the scriptures." I wholeheartedly believe that the Spirit will contradict your wrong interpretation of the scriptures. The challenge for us is to decide whether we've got it all figured out & interpreted correctly or that we could be wrong. That is one reason we ultimately must walk by the Spirit. Walking by the scriptures relies on our interpretation of the scriptures & has certainly kept countless people from truth & freedom. Walking by the Spirit relies on our living God Himself to teach us. And of course God can & almost certainly will use the teachings of others & the scriptures themselves to teach you. But the question is.. Who do you trust more, you, your interpretations, & what other people have taught you OR Jesus the living life-giving Spirit? The answer affects every aspect of your life. If you trust yourself & other people more than God your life will be overflowing with hatred, pride, shame, guilt, & unrest. If you trust Jesus more your life will be overflowing with love, peace, & joy.

"I will remember the works of the Lord. Yes, I will remember the amazing things you did long ago! I will think about all you have done; I will reflect upon your deeds! O God, your deeds are extraordinary! What god can compare to our great God?" (Psalm 77:11-13)

2 comments:

  1. Like all idols/false gods, the bible gains its power by approximating the true God while allowing the self ruled to interpret based on their nature, and thus keep themselves on the throne. God alone is our rock, yea even a rock of offense to the carnal nature, but the only sure rock. Trusting Jesus through the gift of faith is indeed a source of love, peace and joy. Having been given deliverance from years of pride, shame, unrest, guilt and hatred (of myself and others) I give all thanks to my Savior. Well written piece.

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  2. This was a very informative insert

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