The Bible is an amazing, life-changing, powerful gift.
The Bible is a crushing burden, a trap, and the end of your freedom.
Both sentences are true, or they can be. It all depends on what you expect the Bible to do for you. It depends on whether you are using the Bible for its intended purpose or not.
Having a book full of â€œThus Saith The Lordâ€ moments is so comforting. Itâ€™s solid and dependable. When circumstances are changing all around us, and people on all sides are claiming their own truth, having a single, definitive source of Godâ€™s will is a gift. It seems like it, anyway.
In Johnâ€™s Gospel, Jesusâ€™ strongest resistance came from people who saw scripture in this very way. They were certain. They were well-versed. They knew that they knew the will of God, as given by the prophets in the words of Holy Scripture.
But everything they thought they knew blinded them to the real purpose of scripture. When youâ€™re convinced the key you hold is actually a hammer, youâ€™re going to make some mistakes in how you use it.
Jesus told them: â€œYou pore over the Scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them, yet they testify about Me. And you are not willing to come to Me so that you may have life.â€ (John 5:39-40) They missed the purpose of scripture, and in missing the purpose, missed where Scripture was pointing them.
When we see Scripture as an end in itself, we run the risk of elevating it to the level of God, making it the 4th person of the Trinity. We cite Scripture as our authority, sometimes blind to the real authority of Jesus. In terrible cases, we end up using scripture to justify things that are in their essence counter to Jesus and his will.
No, Scripture is not our highest authority. When we make it so, we fall into a very upstanding form of idolatry. Our understanding of truth becomes our idol, and the Bible our little God. Then we fail to see Jesus, and fail to submit ourselves to Him.
For the follower of Jesus, the Bible is a tool. Itâ€™s a compass pointing to Jesus. Itâ€™s a telescope that lets us see Jesus. If we use the Bible in any other way, we run a grave risk of missing the point.
Join us Saturday as we study this section of John 5 and consider the role of the Bible in our understanding of Jesus.
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