Yesterday we had a very healthy discussion about prayer in our ministry team meeting. The conversations seemed to center around listening to God when someone stated that “God always speaks through the Scriptures.” This led me to asked the question, “What if Scripture isn’t the only way he speaks? What if God speaks through his Spirit to us like a father speaks to his son. I know their are all kinds of challenges with this statement…I hesitate to write it knowing I will be misunderstood. However; there is something shallow about a relationship that is reduce to only what I read or can hide in my heart. What about a relationship where Jesus through his ever presence Spirit that has full access into my life. What about a relationship where we are constantly in communion or relationship with one another. What about a relationship where I am constantly sensing his presence and hearing his voice. Grant it this relationship never contradicts Scripture. God can not contradict himself. What I’m talking about here is our tendency to turn everything about God in to a religion including how we read and view Scripture. No doubt Scripture has a supreme place in our lives…but what about everyone who was born before the printing press. Not to mention those poor souls that only had the eye witness accounts of Jesus or the earliest oral traditions of Jesus and his ways. How did they hear from God? What about those poor soul born in places like pre- Cold War Russia where the Bible was outlawed? You feel the tension between the two? This is a healthy tension…without it we would either assume the posture of the Pharisees and begin to create hundreds of traditions related to the scripture. On the other hand without the scripture we would be all over the place. Our faith would be a mess…we would have no faith…over time it would morph into something gross and unrecognizable. In Breaking the Discipleship Code I wrote a chapter on “What Does Being a Missional Follower of Jesus Look Like in the Classroom?” My goal is a healthy and balance view of scripture. Here is some of what I had to say:
Could it be that we have missed the point of Scripture? The Bible is not simply a rule book designed to create a moral code of behavior, nor is it a book designed to spell out a religious culture we must adhere to. The central theme of all Scripture is Jesus, and all Scripture must be interpreted through the lens of His life. The Bible is a book that points us to Jesus from cover to cover, and if we are to live like Jesus, love like Jesus, and leave what Jesus left behind, it is necessary to turn to Him for clarity in the Scriptures.
Jesus told us he came as the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6), indicating that all Scripture is to be interpreted and understood through the context of how he lived and loved while He was on earth. If we are not careful, we can easily begin to view Scripture through the lenses of our own religious baggage and traditions, resulting in our picking and choosing what we apply to our lives in a way similar to a dinner buffet: We gorge on what we like and avoid what we might need.
The way of Jesus invites us to embrace all Scripture as His inspired Word. “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness,; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:17 NASB). Understanding that His divinely inspired Word is subject to undivine interpretation, He invites us to filter our understanding of Scripture through the Gospels in the context of His teaching about the Kingdom. Practically speaking, the Old Testament comes to life through the filters of the gospel, just as the Gospels shed light on our understanding of Acts and Paul’s epistles.
Some would argue that I have a very high minded Christology. I certainly do…I hope you do too. I can’t wait to see what Jesus is going to unfold in my day as I walk with him, listen to him, and talk with him.