Does the Bible really have all the answers? I know your knee-jerk reaction is to say yes. I know you want to shout it. That is what Sunday school and years of Sunday teaching, sermon podcasts and web articles have taught you.
But it isn’t true.
The Bible simply doesn’t have all the answers because that is not what it was ever intended to do. If you search the scriptures for answers, you will surely find them, but I can guarantee you they won’t always be right. Before you unsubscribe from my blog, read on.
How Can Studying The Bible Be Bad?
There is an ever-growing problem among Christians today to place our faith in the Bible, not in God. We have debates, apologetics lectures and classes and sermons beyond measure to counter the also ever-growing world of people who reject the Bible as infallible and trustworthy. When our solutions come from reaction, the solution is often worse than the problem, and that is the case here.
Don’t get me wrong, apologetics are a great thing. We should know what we believe and why we believe it. We should gain understanding in textural understanding and criticism of the Bible. It was not a book handed to us by God through an angel, but entrusted to the hands of men through different writers over more than a thousand years. That doesn’t make it trustworthy or untrustworthy. That makes it the Bible we have.
What makes the Bible trustworthy is that it was relayed to men by God. The God we can trust. The God whom our faith should be put in.
What I see happening today is people trying to prove that God is trustworthy because the Bible is trustworthy. That will lead us down some dark paths.
What Comes First?
Now I admit that this is somewhat of a chicken-or-the-egg type of debate. How can we know God is trustworthy if we can’t trust the Bible, and how can we know the Bible is trustworthy if we can’t trust God? Our faith must be put somewhere to begin with, but putting our faith in the Bible first is not a healthy reality.
That is because the nature of Christianity is not learning about God, but knowing God personally. We must have a relationship with God, not an understanding of God. In the same way we cannot have a relationship with a dead author through their writing, neither can we have a relationship with God because we have read His written Word. The Pharisees had studied God’s written Word more than anyone on planet earth in their day, but they could not recognize Him when God stood before their very eyes!
No, we must seek God. Our faith in the Bible should come from our understanding that God is good enough to preserve His Word for us to know about Him. When we know Him, we will want to know what He has said in the past. We find that from studying scripture. But that is all scripture can give us apart from a growing relationship with God. That is until the written Word becomes the Living Word.
The Living Word
John opens his gospel by explaining why the apostles could possibly know God while the Pharisees and Jewish leadership didn’t.
1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning. 3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
14The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
16Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.
John 1:1-3, 14, 16-18
I encourage you to read the entire passage of John 1, but for our purposes, these scriptures make our case. John tells us that the Word of God is inseparable from the person of God. Jesus was this Word. If we study the Bible looking for answers, we will come to bad conclusions, like the Pharisees. If we study the Bible to know God, we will find Him.
The Bible is not a book intended to bring us answers, but a book intended to show us God. We will discuss in part 2 how we do that effectively.