BB Warfield wrote:
"...what Scripture says, God says... whatever it may be found to say, that is the Word of God."This is derided as Bibliolatry. Book-worship.
Others say - we don't need more Bible, we know the facts - we needs skills and practical help.
Others say - God speaking! Exciting... spurious... weird...
But, if Warfield is right we're rejecting God if reject God's word... and we're distancing ourselves from God when we go Scripture-lite.
For me, lack of Bible in my life leads to lack of faith - since the voice of God brings faith. I drift from Christ. I drift from believing what the gospel reveals of Christ.
I'm studying 1 Samuel 15 this week ahead of preaching on it soon.
In this story King Saul is confronted for disobeying the voice of God (which came to him via judge-prophet Samuel and the Pentateuch). He denies it, protesting than not only is he obeying but he's also worshipping. Samuel replies - do you think God wants your worship if you're disobeying him? You're a presumptuous rebel, an idolator. And then, twice:
"You rejected God's word... so God has rejected you as King." (v23,v26)Some of this is about Saul's throne, but the issue goes wider and deeper.
God rejects those who reject his voice.
The Father's Spirit-filled Word - his Son.
The Father's Spirit-breathed written word about his Son - that is: The Bible.
The Father's Spirit-empowered word in preaching, and it's cousin prophecy (as it has been said, The Preaching of the Word of God is the Word of God).
My standing with the Father is as my standing with the Son, the Scriptures, and the present word of God through his people. There is no other foundation on which to build the church. Faith comes by hearing, faith won't come when his voice is on mute.
Saul finally appears to repent but it's too late for his throne. Perhaps not too late for his soul, though what follows isn't promising. Word-rejectors are judged, as those who stumble and take offence at the Christ.
What hope? Only the other king, the other rejected King. The king rejected by the people for obeying the voice of God. The king who takes our place in judgement, becoming sin for us - dying in the place of word-rejectors, that by the better word of his blood he might bring us through death to life.
All of which leads me to read the Bible. Not because I worship a book but because I know that, like Saul, I am a word-rejector. And either I can cover my ears and continue to go my own way and love the things made in the idol factory* that is my heart, or I can put myself in the sound of his voice.
I want Christ but I'm fickle - but my trust isn't in the strength of my faith and devotion- not in my word but his. Mine is a hope outside of me.
I need the Bible as (and even more than) I need daily bread. I don't read it every day. I don't always do what it says. I'm not always excited to read it. I'm not always blown away by what I read. I don't read it because I don't know the story - I do - I read it because I know it.
I read it with others to temper my biases, confront the planks in my eyes, to serve one another. I hear it in the company of the church to reveal my sin and my Saviour that we might be built up together. I read it to remember my baptism and remember him at his Table. I read it with those who don't know Jesus so they might come to know him. I read it to discover more of God and his fascinating world that my dull heart just takes for granted. I read page by page, being swept up in it's grand story, stopping to examine it's finer details, appreciating it's melodies and symphonies. I read it to learn to pray and love and learn what my salvation is for. I read it to fight my sin and to enflame my affections.
I read it know that this word can harden my sinful heart, and knowing that nothing else in all the world can melt my sinful heart. I read it when I don't want Christ and because I want Christ.
Image: David Wright (Creative Commons)
* John Calvin's phrase.