Thursday, September 30, 2010

Important Issues 2--The Predominence of Scripture in the Life of a Christian

This photo shows cultural view vs. Christian view. The Elephant
has a thought bubble to explain it is an elephant. We are not left
to guess what it is to be an elephant.

A common thought in our culture is that different religions are just different ways of looking at God, but they all amount to the same thing. It is like blind men feeling an elephant, telling each other what it is they think they are near. One man feels the tail and thinks its a brush. One man hugs a leg and thinks its a tree. One man finds the trunk and thinks its a snake. One man finds its side and thinks its a wall, and so on.

That is not what Christians believe. We understand that God (or in the case above, the elephant), told us who he is through the Bible. Christians are not inherently smarter than anyone else, we just have access to God's revelation of himself to us. We know are looking at an elephant, not a fan, rock, seagull, or car, because the elephant told us it is an elephant. (Thanks to JG for the illustration).

Thus the Bible is crucial. It is God's primary way of revealing himself to his people today. John 5:24, Ephesians 1:13, and 1 Thessalonians 2:13 to name a few all portray hearing the word of God as the means of salvation. This is primarily through scripture.

Now, can God communicate through means other than text written thousands of years ago? He is omnipotent, he may do as he pleases. God can use other means, but his word is sufficient and primary. God's word fulfills multiple roles in a Christian's Life. As 2 Timothy 3 says:
6 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Another version of this passages describes scripture as God-breathed. Christians are people of the book. Christians do not need to search for other ways to discern how God wants us to live and what we need to know about him. His word, the preaching of his word, and people living according to his word are the many ways God is revealed, but it all hinges on God's word.

Can we use our reason or intuition to know things about God instead, or perhaps in addition to the Bible? That is dangerous thinking. God gave us our reason and it is a good thing, but it is insufficient. We should use the reason God gave us to help us interpret the Bible and the world around us, but we should not value it above the Bible.

When what our reason tells us and what the Bible tells us conflicts, our reason should yield to scripture, not the other way around. I will mitigate this by saying that at times, many passages in the Bible can be confusing and we may not be sure what applies to questions we have. This is a reason for us to be in a local church where we are taught the Bible, not just left to interpret the Bible on our own (hence why I wrote a post on churches).

I will write more on this in another post when I have more time, and possibly a computer.

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