Do we have the Bible lifted up higher than Jesus? I’m thinking I might step on some toes here. I’ll try to tread lightly. But I see a problem. OK, I’ll mitigate the use of black and white, binary thinking, and instead I’ll say: I see a potential problem.
I see an inordinate focus on Scripture and not enough focus on Jesus himself. The scriptures should be a signpost to Jesus. I envision the Bible as a flashing neon sign that says, This Way to Jesus. But what I see people doing is embracing the Bible and stopping there. It looks to me like a lot of Christians are camped out around the signpost with no real plans to continue on in their pilgrimage.
I’m not sure they feel the need. Or maybe they feel some kind of need but they are not sure what it is. I believe that is because we are not urged on by our teachers to go actually follow the direction of the signpost and go exploring for Jesus. I haven’t encountered much if any teaching that tells us it is OK to do so.
I’m not blaming the teachers at all. They are merely fellow sojourners and we are each responsible for our own journey. Instead, I am encouraging believers to become more adventurous in their walk with the Lord. I’m not saying that we should abandon the Bible or go against its teaching. I’m saying that Jesus is infinitely more than the written word and he cannot be contained within the pages of any book, even a divinely inspired Book.
I’m saying that our end goal should be to know Jesus more, not to know the Bible more. There is a limit to how well we can know the Bible because it is finite. But there is no limit to how well we can know Jesus, because he is infinite and eternal. Yes, we can learn more about Jesus through Scripture. But we can also learn infinitely more about Jesus by putting the book down (after we’ve read it) and spending more time with Him.
I know it is scary to put down the tangible in favor of the intangible unknowable mysteries of God. Yet, every ounce of intuition and the Spirit within me tells me that going after the mystery is the real treasure of being a follower of Jesus.
It might be that many of us are missing out on a huge piece of our faith journey because of fear of the unknown and because of our comfort level with the tangible versus the intangible. Let me gently say that anything we rely on for our well-being that isn’t Jesus, means we have an idol. You can do the math on that.
I’ll leave you with this thought: It’s not that we need the Bible to know Jesus. It’s that we need Jesus to know the Bible. Let’s not get those two ideas mixed up.
Image courtesy of Ben White