Good question! My pastor has talked about this. I believe it could be a slippery slope to legalism.
We must not forget that the scriptures testify of Jesus. The scriptures are meant to be a witness to Jesus, Son of God and son of Man.
37“And the Father who sent Me, He has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time nor seen His form. 38“You do not have His word abiding in you, for you do not believe Him whom He sent.
39“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; 40and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life. 41“I do not receive glory from men; 42but I know you, that you do not have the love of God in yourselves. 43“I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, you will receive him. 44“How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God? 45“Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; the one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have set your hope. 46“For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. 47“But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”
Hi, Carla! It’s good to hear from you. It seems that we should have a high view of the Bible, but it also seems that if we aren’t careful, we could overlook worshipping the Living Word by focusing our devotion on the written word. It’s important to have correct understanding of the scripture doctrine because it helps us understand Jesus correctly but I’m afraid that a lot of people think the scriptures themselves are giving them life and the words give them power. It’s Jesus who gives us eternal life. Also, faith comes by hearing the word about Christ (through preaching) and the word that we need to hear is the gospel of Christ which is His death, burial, and resurrection. However, those things took place in real time according to the scriptures as prophecied before His earthly ministry.
The gospel of Christ is found in 1 Cor. 15:3-4:
3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures (NIV).
Reading and studying and learning the scriptures is just one of the ways that we abide in Christ, isn’t it?
Yes, reading, studying and learning the scriptures helps us to abide in Christ and know Him. It is one of the ways we abide in Him.
The seed is sown everytime the Gospel is preached. We learn what happens to it, however, from the parable of the Sower. See Matthew 13.
"God's number one purpose in life is to make us like Jesus Christ. The Spirit of God uses the Word of God to make the child of God more like the Son of God. God uses circumstances to change us. The circumstances are the problems, pressures, heartaches, difficulties, and stress of life. Suffering gets our attention. C. S. Lewis said that God whispers to us in our pleasure, but shouts to us in our pain. The painful circumstances - whether we bring them on ourselves, or other people cause them, or the Devil incites them - are used by God to help us grow in likeness to his son." ~Rick Ezell, Understanding How God Changes Me
However, I think Amanda may be speaking about something a bit different than you are thinking of. Of course she will confirm if that is accurate or not.
When I read Amanda's post, I immediately thought of legalists reading the scriptures and following it to the letter of the law rather than following the Spirit of the law. I believe she may be talking about people who will literally follow the words of the bible, but do not follow Jesus. See Matthew 12 as an example.
Peter didn’t have a New Testament on the day when he expounded upon the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ (Acts 2:14-42) all of which he personally witnessed and which is the Gospel of Christ (1 Cor 15:1-8). “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe” (1 Cor 1:21, NASB). The church age began before the completed written word became available to be read.
The bible is vital to my life and my faith. Staying in the Word is a very big part of me abiding in Christ. I don't worship the bible but God speaks to me through the written words.
When I say I depend on the bible, what I mean is I rely on the way God uses it to help me grow spiritually for it contains the counsel, wisdom, and guidance that Christians need. It is God’s Word and not just a word about God. Since it is God's word, through it we do ‘grow’ in grace and knowledge of Jesus, Who is the bread of life, and His words feed us and help us grow.
If all my bibles were taken from me against my will, I trust that God would give me the grace to endure it and would continue holding me in the palm of His hand and teaching me through Holy Spirit Who lives in me.
But if I were to reject the bible at my will, I believe it would be a form of rejection of God.
I do hunger and thirst to read it for it helps me grow in knowledge and wisdom in Him. We are to abide in Christ. It's one of the ways I abide along with church and praying and seeking what pleases The Lord. And I'm still learning. I don’t think God wants me to worship the Bible. I’m to worship the Living Word—Jesus, my Savior and Lord.
"She is talking about the Word of God being the seeds that are sown when the gospel is preached, and I am just adding to it more or less by saying that some of those seeds will fall on various types of soil, therefore the results will be different for each..."
Maybe I am misunderstanding Amanda's post also, but I thought she was asking if we worship the bible. By her post I understood that she was asking if, that when we read the bible, are we following the letter rather than the Spirit. Following the letter of the law rather than the Spirit would be worship. When we follow anything, it is a form of worship. When we follow the Spirit we worship Jesus. We must follow the living word rather than the written word. This, of course, ties in directly with being a 'New Creation' and having our minds renewed. If anyone is not born again, they are not a new creation. I know you know and believe this, I'm writing it now as a point of clarification for other readers.
When my Pastor taught on this he was referring to many scriptures in the OT which can be so easily taken out of context. People follow them without knowledge of context. An example of this would be Exodus 21:24.
Exodus 21:24 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,
If a person follows the letter of the law, this could be easily read as a verse which supports retaliation. Something like a 'you hit me, I hit you" law. They could conclude (wrongly) that the bible supports 'getting even'. However, when we follow the Spirit of the Law we know that Jesus teaches in Matthew 5 "You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also."
If a person who is following the letter of the law (does not have the Holy Spirit) and reads both verses, they will also wrongly conclude that the bible has contradictions.
We also know in Romans 12:19 "Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.
I am reading 'worshipping the bible' to mean following the letter of the law. Anyone who worships the bible may intellectually understand the words, but they are out of context. They are leaving Jesus out of it, which is a grave error because the scriptures point to Him, He is the one we are to worship and follow (again--a point of clarification for other readers).
Thanks, Carla. I’m sorry for the mix up. It’s just that someone said recently that they wouldn’t know what to do without the Bible to read everyday—that they just wouldn’t be able to go on without it. And I started thinking about their POV and I wondered if that is how God wants us to view the canon of scriptures. One day won’t every bible and church building in this world be burned when this earth melts with fervent heat? We have Jesus. We will always have His words because we have Him.
I think John 5:31-40 makes a very good point: Life comes from Jesus, the Living Word.
I like what CS Lewis says in a letter to Mrs. Johnson, written on November 8th 1952:
It is Christ Himself, not the Bible, who is the true Word of God. The Bible, read in the right spirit and with the guidance of good teachers will bring us to Him… We must not use the Bible (our ancestors too often did) as a sort of Encyclopedia out of which texts (isolated from their context and read without attention to the whole nature and purport of the books in which they occur) can be taken for use as weapons.
That's ok Amanda. It's good to see things from others' POV. At bible study we each share our answers, it's always enlightening how people answer so differently. It's really a testimony to the depth of scripture and the diversity of people, and how we each see things. JB mentioned above how when we're reading the scriptures and our hearts will jump for joy upon understanding it. It still happens...we never stop learning and seeing new things. I wonder if this person was just expressing joy in being able to study the scriptures in the best way she knew how.
Your comment "One day won’t every bible and church building in this world be burned when this earth melts with fervent heat? We have Jesus. We will always have His words because we have Him." reminds me of a vision I once had. I was praying and when I looked up in the sky I saw the words of scripture written across the sky. The entire sky was filled with His words. I can't even remember what I was praying about. It doesn't really have much to do with this except that God is a God of miracles. As you correctly say "We will always have His words because we have Him" The vision encouraged me at the time, and still does when I think about it.
Amen to the CS Lewis quote. ;-)
I am in agreement with Carla and JB. I will say that to treasure God's word for us in the Bible is a subtle difference from worshiping the Bible itself. The word of God because it is God's word is Holy. I think that what you are saying here is we shouldn't worship any physical thing that might be considered an idol. God's word for us found in the Bible is wisdom, food for our minds to grow more Christ like. So, we are not worshiping a "book" we are worshiping God's guidance, wisdom and love to help us, his children grow. I hope your question is answered. It is a good one to pray about.
We are so blessed to be in the company of family who love the Lord. Blessed to hear God's wisdom come through in their posts. Here is some scripture to ponder upon and pray about.
2 Corinthians 5:16-18 (NIV)
16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:
Amen and Amen.
I don't see him as the "New Creature". He is God. Part of the Holy Trinity. God the Father and the Holy Spirit. He was and is and ever more will be. We born again followers of Jesus are the "new creation". If we are in Christ the old is gone creation is gone the new is here. 2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" NIV