Tired of the Bible?

This week I have been thinking about the Bible. For whatever reason I grew up in a tradition that emphasized reading my Bible and going to Church. What Christian tradition doesn’t? But as I look back and I look around even today, I see a bibliolatry and a misplaced emphasis. First, we worship and serve a Person, not a book. This I think has many implications for how we look at and read Scripture, but my thoughts this week have really centered around the idea of a “misplaced emphasis.” How often does Scripture talk about the importance of reading Scripture? Don’t get me wrong, it’s there. Most of the NT presupposes a thorough knowledge of the Hebrew Bible. How often does Scripture talk about the importance of “going to church” in order to be a “good Christian?” Now this one is actually harder for me to find reference for, besides of course the old Hebrews passage every pastor uses, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing…”

My point is not to say these are bad things or that we shouldn’t be doing them on a regular basis, only that we’ve made them ends in themselves when they are only a means to an end. Scripture doesn’t give nearly the emphasis on these things that we do in American Christian sub-cultures. Meditating on the Scriptures and meeting regularly with believers are necessary conditions for spiritual growth but they are not sufficient conditions. What does this end up looking like? Well, to the world, it looks like we are smug in our traditionalism, we couldn’t care less what happens to the world as long as we are “saved” by reading our Bibles and going to Church.

It’s like me proclaiming myself to be an amazing cook, since of course, I have read all the best cookbooks. This is silly. No one will hire a chef because they have “studied and memorized the best cookbooks.” No, they have to have actually cooked before. For me, I am tired of “studying the Scriptures” as though that is an end in itself. I realize I know more recipes (read: Scriptural “understanding”) than most people but I haven’t even really began to cook. I know perfectly the recipe for an amazing dinner, lamb racks in garlic sauce, etc, but all I ever make is a PB&J sandwich.

As students of Scripture it’s easy to think that our knowledge of Scripture qua knowledge actually means something, but it is only meaningful in so far as it is the impetus to action.

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