Category: Scripture

Screaming about the Bible

It’s easy to find people on the Internet screaming that the Bible is full of falsehoods. They’ll claim that the logic of science and modern critical scholarship makes it clear that the Bible is bogus.

But I think the skeptics’ objections to the Bible are less objective than they claim. Why? Consider this…. if the Bible is full of falsehoods about the events that it says really happened in history, then it must be full of falsehoods when it talks about what we are supposed to believe and to do. If the Bible is bogus then I can disregard the Bible any time it contradicts what I think and want.

Before the modern revolution in thinking took hold, people acknowledged that the decrees and details in the Bible were true, but they simply often just did not feel like obeying them. In the 21st century, though, when we hear the same question that Pilate uttered, “What is truth?” the modern answer is “The Bible does not matter. The only truth is what is true for me.”

So that brings me to my presupposition:

A presupposition is something I assume is true without proving it. My presupposition is that the Bible is true. I don’t claim that I can prove to you that the Bible is true. But I can argue that it is reasonable to believe the Bible is true. I am not making a blind leap of faith. Rather, you might call it a sighted step of faith.

Once I thought only lamebrains believed the Bible was true—but that all changed when, while I was at UConn, I met professors with PhDs who believed in the Bible’s truthfulness. They showed me that believing in Scripture’s truth does not freeze our mind — it renews it!

Before I came to believe that the Bible is true, I gave myself an excuse to do what I wanted. Hearing a Bible teacher who propounded a conservative sexual ethic, my attitude was, “How dare anyone say that what I am doing sexually is wrong !!” (Looking back I see I was so angered because I knew that the guy was speaking truth.)

If the Bible is true, then, its truth authority stands outside of me. Thus, Scripture can overrule or contradict my own feelings and thoughts and desires. The Bible has the power to say that some of what I believe and think and do is false.

You might think that coming under the authority of Scripture is restrictive and harsh. Quite the contrary! Instead, it leads to what Jesus calls the abundant life. Living under Scripture’s authority guides us to turn back from dead ends and to move forward to having life in the fullest.

Bible Knowledge : Helper or Killer ?

He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.  (2 Corinthians 3:6)

What’s the difference between life and killing as we read our Bibles ?

I recently  was stunned by something hurtful an individual who loved “Bible Knowledge” did.

One of my first reactions was to say of course I would never do something like that–but then  I was caught up short —- I must admit that my own life is not always consistent with my Bible knowledge !

So with that in mind here’s a scripture that  has good guidance :

Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies.    (1 Corinthians 8:1b, NASB)

Here are a few questions we can ask to see whether we are using our Bible knowledge wisely:

  • Do you not only read the Bible, but also allow the Bible to read you ?
  • The ESV study bible deliberately has its bible study notes in much tinier print than the Bible verses themselves…to remind people the difference between God’s word and man’s interpretation ! In a Bible study group, do you like to show your Bible knowledge by quoting from bible study notes or do you interact directly with what God is saying in the Bible text ?
  • Does your Bible knowledge fill people’s heads with Bible trivia  that has little or no connection to the trials of real life or does it provide shelter for them when they are facing the heat of tough situations?
  • The Spirit knows when to lovingly rebuke when someone is on their high horse and when to compassionately encourage someone who has fallen down. Does your Bible knowledge do this ?

Paul put today’s  admonitions there for a purpose, knowing how easy it is to drift from the Spirit into the Letter. We need a fresh reminder of this every day. Let’s ask the Spirit to continually  make our Bible knowledge life giving !

Delight in the Lord

Blessed is the one
     who does not walk in step with the wicked
 or stand in the way that sinners take
     or sit in the company of mockers,
  but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
     and who meditates on his law day and night.
  That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
     which yields its fruit in season
 and whose leaf does not wither—
     whatever they do prospers.  (Psalm 1:1-3)

What does it mean to delight in the law of the Lord? Does it happen if we have to force ourselves to read what is in a daily Bible reading plan, taking it like a dose of medicine, staring at a bunch of words on the pages of our Bibles, until that day’s dose is complete?  If that’s all we view the Bible as being, then “getting into the Word” can seem like a dry duty, and even legalistic, with no personal contact with the Lord or heart or emotion in it.

Or—do we enter the presence of the very Lord who gave us the words of Scripture? Doesn’t delighting in his law mean that we delight in Him and being with him?

And how about meditating on the law?  Well, the definition of meditating implies that you are engaging in contemplation or reflection. So, we are taking some time; not jumping to the quick and obvious conclusion; we start to see something a little deeper and begin to understand how God and his ways connect to every single area of life; we start to pray for God’s Spirit to illuminate the scriptures for us.

Finally, what does yielding fruit in season mean? First, remember that we are planted in Christ, he is the vine and we are the branches. And doesn’t that sound a lot like what we read in the Epistles about the fruits of the Spirit? As we encounter the Lord in scripture, then love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control increase in us!

Recently I heard the ex-pastor of our church, an 86-year-old, give a talk on something brand new he saw from the book of Luke about the wonder of how the Lord draws us to himself. If you asked him how old you are when you stop seeing new things in scripture he would say “It’s definitely older than I am now.”   I am glad that his “leaf does not wither”.

May we all grow in delighting in the word of the Lord!