Today, it is a common thing to hear many say they are “Bible Believing” or even “Bible Based”, but what does that truly mean?? I have even heard many claiming that their churches go “Verse by Verse, Book by Book” through the Bible, but what do they really mean?? With so many different approaches and views, from topical to self-help to preaching through the Word, it isn’t a wonder we have a hard time really figuring out what is the Truth.
As I sit here, I look over on my shelf with a large book called, “Historical Handbook of Major Biblical Interpreters”. This book is filled with some 600 or so pages full of people and their understandings of Scripture. All I can think of is with so many interpretations there is a great mix of truth and error. This isn’t to say that we may disagree over some parts of what we believe Scripture to say, but I believe there to be a great attack against the Truth of the Bible as we know it today.
That being said, it is good to begin a blog that starts with such an important subject as our approach to Scripture. Everything we do and believe hinges upon how we view the Bible. We either believe what God says or we don’t. There is no middle ground and no pick-and-choose. We each must decide.
In Genesis 3:1 the serpent tempts Eve by saying, “Indeed, has God said…”. Right from the start, there has always been a temptation to question God. This is no different today where many question the truth of the Bible when it was written by God-inspired human writers. Many also want to pick-and-choose or even twist Scripture to fit their own views of the world and what they believe to be true.
The temptation then continues in Genesis 3:4-5 where it says, “The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Not only was there the temptation to question what God said, but even more to sin against God by eating the fruit and having their eyes opened to know good from evil. In other words, to become a “god” unto ourselves. The end result being that if we decide that the Bible isn’t truly God’s Word and the foundation for all Truth, then we have actually fallen into the same sin as Adam and Eve where we make the rules instead of actually becoming obedient to God’s Way.
I say all of this because I am greatly concerned over what many believe to be true Christianity. It has appeared to me over the past few years especially that we have such a broad spectrum of what people believe and those they associate with and where people take their cues; from Baptists to Charismatics, from Emerging/Emergent to Fundamentalists, from Catholic to Protestant, just to name a few. With such a broad spectrum of camps people fall into, the question has to be asked, “Are we on the same team??” Sadly, with so many differing views of both Scripture and the Gospel, it seems that there is no way that we are all on the same team.
Not that we need to go “witch hunting”, but it is of great importance that those inside the church as well as those we seek to reach to understand true Christianity. Just by invoking the name of Jesus or saying we believe in the Bible is not enough. I am a huge believer in urging people to be reading/studying the whole Bible. The apostle Paul spoke of his commitment to all that God purposed in Acts 20:27 where he says, “For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.” Paul was a contender of the faith that focused on all of what God spoke of and today that would be the Bible itself.
Those that seek to distort or approach the Bible in a way that serves as a self-help or pop-psychology lesson are very dangerous. Although the indirect results of following God’s Way is that we will live better lives, it isn’t the end itself. Those that approach Scripture as a means of helping better humanity or as a gospel of humanitarian work are also dangerous. Although as we seek and live out God’s Way, there is the result of “loving our neighbor as ourselves”, humanitarian work isn’t the end itself. Those that say they are “Bible Believing” or “Bible Based” or who preach “Verse by Verse, Book by Book” but with ulterior motives or agendas have perverted or are perverting God’s Word as well.
So, again, it all boils down to our approach to God’s Word. We each must decide if we are willing to commit to reading/studying and seeking to know “the whole purpose of God” or if we want to make up our own beliefs. It is up to each up us, but it is critical that those who earnestly want to seek and follow Jesus continually devote ourselves to pursuing a lifestyle of spending time diving into all of God’s Word, and seeking to be transformed by what it truly means to be a Christian. We must question everything we encounter as “Christian” against the backdrop of Scripture and let us press on in the glorious hope of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. May He be forever praised!!