The Bible. It’s one of those books that people tend to have a very strong opinion about. People either love the Bible or hate the Bible. There typically isn’t a middle ground. Some people in the Christian faith venerate the Bible. They worship it like it is a god. Some outside the Christian faith believe it to be nothing more than a collection of fairy tales.
Even now, you probably have a reaction building in your mind. Your thoughts are starting to boil up. You are thinking this guy is about to break liberal and set aside the Bible. You might be thinking that this guy is just another evangelical who is going to say that the Bible is perfect in every way and science is stupid.
You’re wrong. Both of you.
The Bible is, I think we can say with certainty one of the greatest collections of writing that humanity has ever produced. The letters, the history, the poetry. There is beauty in the text in a way that has been rarely been found in any other collection of texts.
At the very least, the Bible is the story of a people who believe in God. At the very least it is their story and it is beautiful.
This is the very least that it is.
For those of us that follow Jesus we embrace the Bible as something a little different. We believe it to be exactly what it says it is. The Bible, we believe is God-breathed. What does that mean? What it doesn’t mean is that we somehow believe God dictated it to people. We believe that mysteriously, through the Holy Spirit, God inspired people to write.
There are a whole lot of technical things that we can talk about regarding the Bible. Things like inerrancy and infallibility. These are debates and discussions that people within the church are really interested in (and a few outside it).
Those debates are great. I enjoy them. The conversations are really interesting and they make me think. Often they leave me in a state of wonderment at the God I believe in.
Yet, for the follower of Jesus they ultimately mean very little. Why? Because at the end of the day the only question that matters for the person who has embraced Jesus as their Messiah and King is this, “Do I believe the Scriptures to be authoritative?”
Regardless of one’s worldview all of us yield to an authority. That might be ourselves. It might be other people. It might be a religious leader. It might be a church. For some of us it is the Bible. I’m one of those people.
When we say these things it forces us to look at the mirror that is the Bible. It demands us to look at ourselves. The Bible challenges us to look at our institutions and to challenge them. It is a constant journey of change. We look into the Bible and in particular we look at the person of Jesus. The way we can best learn to be like Jesus is in the Bible. For me, that is why I embrace it as my authority. You see, I don’t love the Bible for itself. I love the Bible because it is the best means I have to get to know Jesus.
More than anything, I want my life to reflect Jesus. For that to become a reality I have to keep turning to the Bible.