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Sunday, May 13, 2012

No Need For Bible

A couple of days ago I met a guy for breakfast.  We were talking about ways to help a couple of groups of men in which he is involved.  During the discussion, he mentioned a couple of men who had objections I have heard from other men and women.
The primary way, and the way that Jesus commanded, for us to get to know Him is by abiding in His Word.
One guy is continually taking the position that it is not necessary for us to be in the Bible to know Christ.  The argument is couched in the terms of freedom and if one challenges him, he responds that what is being suggested is legalistic and that guilt is being laid on him.  I have heard that many times before in various incarnations.  It sounds noble.  It sounds like the person that is making the statement has taken the high ground and to question them is to judge them and as we all know we are not supposed to judge (really?  See the blog entry Kinda Obey).

There is only one problem with this approach to the Christian life.  It is in direct disobedience to what Christ said in John 15:7, what Peter said in 1Peter 2:2, and what Paul said in 2 Timothy 3:14 – 17.  There are so many other places this is dealt with that it would take several pages of this blog to list.  Of course if one does not read the Bible one is not aware of any of that.  So does that mean that one is excused because they are unaware?  See Leviticus 5:17 for a possible answer.


  1. It would depend on how you define the to "know Christ".

    If your definition is that you accepted the Gospel than I would have to agree with your friend at least in part. Not one of the scriptures that you referenced says that in order to have saving knowledge that Jesus is the Christ we must spend time in the bible. If you look at those verse in there context they do not say that. People in China, the Middle East and around the world are seeing visions of Jesus and are coming to salvation and have never seen the bible (read The Heavenly Man). These people are being affected by the Word of God that is living and active. Not the bible that is sitting in our hands.

    Now if your definition to know means that you are growing in relationship with Jesus then we have a different story. Then your reference scripture become important. Scripture is an important way for you to grow in your relationship and knowledge of Jesus. However it isn't the only way and should not be done in a bubble or just by itself.

    That said the Bible is the Word of God. The Word of God is living and active and is broader then the books that we hold. It resides in us and is continuously being proclaimed to the world not just by us crazy little humans.

  2. I suspect my "Wycliffe Bible Translator" friends would love to weigh in on this. If God speaks to people outside the Bible in Central Asia, SW Pacific, Central Africa -- then my friends are fools to give up their lives (and those of their wives and children) for something superfluous. It is only if the Bible is the primary instrument, the absolutely vital method for hearing--that Bible Translation makes sense. I know many of the stories of Jesus appearing in dreams to Muslims in Central Asia -- but when you ask, "What did He say?" the responder grows very quiet. My sense is that Christ establishes the truthfulness of His existence and identity as King -- but never much more. For the rest of the story, the Muslim instinctively knows to find a Bible and start reading. That God speaks outside the Bible, YES. But only very infrequently to one individual, and only very narrowly. In times past he spoke through dreams, visions, a donkey, angels, urim & thumim, and one other means I can never remember. But the only instrument Jesus ever taught people to go to -- was the Scriptures--never to seek God through a dream, through an experience. I'll bet next month's salary that if Anonymous is an American, he/she will NEVER hear from God except through the Bible -- except once or twice in her entire lifetime. "Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly" was Paul's advice. And for that, you need the Bible.

    1. sixiron,
      My goal by mentioning visions and dreams was to note that some maybe even most people come to know Jesus through means other than directly reading the bible or having someone directly quote the bible. As per your Wycliffe comment I would say that the fact that God is working in those regions is all the more proof that we as a church need to be there and join God in his work. The harvest is ready but the workers are few.

      As per what people have actually heard Jesus say it is different for every person that I have heard from but you are correct that they want to learn more about Jesus from that encounter.

      About your bet. I will take that. I was born in the US and have lived here all but about 3 months of my life. I cannot even begin to count the number of times god has spoken to me outside the bible. The three that stand out the most are from the year that my dad was dying from a brain tumor.

      The first was after my dad had surgey to remove the tumor and the doctor was taking us back to discuss what had happened. I remember knowing that my dad wouldn't make it to my high school graduation.

      The second was a few day before my dad passed away and I went into school and told everyone that I would be out Friday and Monday. My father passed away early Friday morning and we had his services on Monday.

      The third time was the morning he passed and I remember waking up and knowing that he had passed away in his sleep.

      Other times the I have heard from God include in worship, prayer, fasting, community, in service, and in silence.

      As per your instrument comment I think I understand what your are saying but I would like to flesh it out a bit. In the 1st century very few people had a physical bible but they did have lots or even most of it memorized. When the disciples couldn't cast out a particular demon and they asked Jesus why they couldn't. His response wasn't you need to go read the bible or proclaim the bible. That one comes out through prayer.

      The life of Jesus is much bigger then just scripture. I don't know of a single time in scripture that it talks about Jesus sitting down and reading the bible. He talked about it with the Rabbi's and Priest's. It was very important and he quoted it and lived it. But he also taught us about prayer, fasting, loving our neighbor, getting away to have silence, and time of fellowship with his disciples, celebrations and worship. I will admit most of my early hearing from God where through studying scriptures as I have grown and explored other disciplines I have found him there too and I hope to teach others that too.