A Biblical View of the Bible

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; 40 and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life. – Jhn 5:38-40 NASB

15 It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost [of all.] – 1Ti 1:15 NASB

What is our Confidence?

Today I want to speak to the tribe of those who believe in the strong grace of God in Christ, who sometimes have their doubts. What about this verse or this passage or this article by John what’s his name? I want to assure you that it is Biblical and right to believe that in Christ you are saved to the uttermost (Hebrews 7:25). You can confidently face judgement because you will know that the most Biblical approach to the Bible is to come with the knowledge that you are unbreakably loved by God (1 John 4:16-17).

16 We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. – 1Jo 4:16-18 NASB

Workman in the Scriptures

The answer does not lie in exactly parsing out these “problem” passages and looking at the Greek. I think that is a very good and noble endeavor, and I encourage everyone to learn the original languages and to become a workman in the Scriptures, accurately handling the word of truth (2Timothy 2:15). However, the answer to all of these questions does not lie here. It is not accurate workmanship to come to the scriptures without the confidence of faith in God’s unwavering love and of the eternal sufficiency of Christ’s precious blood. I admire the work of many people to constantly work at bringing these “problem” passages and these theological attacks upon our faith forward, so that we can form an answer to bolster our confidence. However, I don’t believe confidence comes from coming up with convincing ways to answer such attacks.

So Inspired

I have seen others who finally just throw in the towel and give up on the idea of Biblical inspiration. The idea is that because there are “problem” passages that don’t jive with our ideas, we can hold onto our ideas by dispensing with confidence in the Biblical text. Obviously I do not believe that this is the way to go. If you throw out inspiration, you undermine confidence in the whole of Scripture – including the parts that support our faith. We never see Jesus using this kind of approach – he always has tremendous confidence in scripture. Same with Paul. We really don’t want to go to this place – it isn’t right and it definitely plays into the hands of our detractors.

Kung Fu Bible

So what is the answer? I seem to have cut both feet out from under ourselves. We can’t use careful hermeneutics to defend ourselves, and we can’t just throw in the towel. So what’s the answer? Are we to just stand there like Kwai Chang Caine, getting thrashed and whipped while we remember our zen teachings? Until finally a woman is in danger and then we pull out our Kung Fu Bible skills? (I’ve been binge watching Kung Fu on Amazon, so I had to throw that in. So good!)

Approach the Scriptures with Faith

The answer is, we approach the scriptures with faith in Christ. And to be clear, we approach the scriptures with the full assurance that Christ came into the world to save sinners – that’s what “faith in Christ” means. We come believing that if anyone sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous, and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins (1 John 2:1-2). Jesus Christ is the context – Christ and Him crucified. None of us loves sin or thinks that sin is right – otherwise we wouldn’t even care about these questions. But we are honest enough to approach God and approach scripture knowing that we are truly sinful, here and now. We are coming, properly, without any confidence in ourselves – which is a thoroughly Biblical position (Philippians 3:3,9). This approach is the very essence of Christian faith.

It is important to understand that while people may accuse us of twisting certain “problem” passages to support our position, the real truth is that people who approach the scripture without complete faith and confidence in the finished work of Christ are twisting passages in order to support their position. The uncomfortable truth is that everyone – 100% of us – twist the Scriptures. Scholarship and careful hermeneutics are not going to save us. Jesus is very clear about this:

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; 40 and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life. – Jhn 5:38-40 NASB

Searching the Scriptures will not grant you eternal life. Notice how Jesus himself says that His word does not abide in them on account of their unbelief. According to Jesus Christ Himself, unbelief blinds their eyes to the meaning of the scriptures. According to Jesus, belief and only belief opens our eyes to the scriptures. Jesus says that the purpose of the scriptures is to testify about Him. Jesus and Jesus alone will give us eternal life. This is the Biblical position and it is Jesus’ position. This does not mean, stop searching the Scriptures. Clearly this isn’t what He means. It is good to be a scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom:

52 And Jesus said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old.” – Mat 13:52 NASB

It is not a lack of scholarship which will save you any more than a superabundance of scholarship will save you. Hermeneutics will not reveal the Scriptures to you. Only faith will reveal the scriptures to you. If you do not approach the scriptures looking for Christ our Savior, you will come away finding Law our condemner.

Convincing the Pharisee

It is a fool’s game to think that by the power of scholarship and perfect hermeneutics, you are going to be able to convince the pharisees that grace is real. You won’t even be able to silence the voice of the pharisee in your own head by those means. There will always be another “problem” passage that you won’t know how to answer for. Guess what? We always have another passage the pharisees have to answer for. The whole scripture is filled with both, sometimes in the same verse. It’s all law and gospel, everywhere. There is one question you have to ask yourself when you are reading scripture: am I going to read this such that Jesus’ blood and suffering worked for me? Put another way, is the law presented here a tutor which leads me to Christ, or is it the life itself – the proof of my authenticity? It is not a question of exact exegesis. Everyone comes to the text believing what they believe. Anyone who thinks they have the hermeneutical truth can be taken down in a few seconds of skepticism and another cherry-picked verse. It is not scholarship which saves. Most of His disciples were not scholars – but Paul was. It is not a question of good Bible study or of having all the answers for problem passages. It is belief in His power and mercy and His costly provision of justification. There is no life in the Scriptures. It is the Scriptures that give witness to Him. He is the object of our faith. He is the Way and the Truth and the Life.

Posted in Blog and tagged , , .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.