These are my current thoughts on the place, meaning and value of scripture in my walk as a follower of Jesus. It just so happens Paul (of all people) said it so well before me, and these words which I believe were inspired by God are simply and totally sufficient in describing the place scripture holds in my life. I find these words worthy of meditation.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV)
Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God's way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us. (The Message)
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. (King James) (My emphasis added)
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work (New King James)
Scripture is actually from God (as in His breath literally coming out of Him) and it has value.
I would add these thoughts;
As I look at scripture objectively I find it is more a description rather than a prescription.
There was a time when I was younger in the faith that I had a larger appetite to read scripture. I found that by reading these historical accounts of God interacting with humanity I was able to look for (and find) Him in my life more easily. However, as my thirst to know Him and learn about Him remained unquenched, and I turned to the Scriptures to drink of His history, I remained unsatisfied, unquenched, and more self judgmental. For me I came to realize that I would never be able to know all the principles, keep all the rules, memorize enough, trust myself, or debate the intellectuals very well. I have friends who have a gift for study; I’m not really put together that way. How could I ever catch up? How many hours would I need? Was seminary what it would take? Was my intimacy with God and therefore my ability to be in relationship with Him dependant upon my ability to process and retain information?
I was confounded by Paul’s writings that were clearly culturally sensitive. Like most of the people I know, I selectively disregarded portions that clearly were ‘no longer relevant’ things such as; women not speaking in church or wearing pants, or Peter’s instruction to slaves to withstand beatings (I’d like to see how that flies in a court today). There are more examples but I’m already getting bored….no passion to continue presenting more examples. I’m an evangelist, not an apologist.
I read about the Pharisees. I suspect these were not all intentionally evil men. I believe most were men who had the best of intentions, to know God’s requirements as passed on by God (and man) through history and apply them to the routine of their daily life cycle. Yet here comes Jesus saying they missed it! He talked about the condition of the heart.
I instinctually knew above all else what I wanted was to hear Him talk to me, engage me, and live with me in the moments of my life. Right now; would He talk to me? Through a series of events I met Him in a moment. This is not the time to discuss that moment. I would be glad to tell you the story if you wish, but the point is this; now I hear Him, every moment I desire (and sometime I don’t want to). He calls me His friend, and scripture pales in comparison to sharing the moments of my existence in complete abandonment to the relationship. Reading a premise, a rule, or historical account of how He talked to someone else 2000 years ago is like the difference in reading about a moon landing or standing foot on it (something I have not done).
Yet none of this diminishes scripture. I cannot think of a time when His leading in my life contradicted the words Christ spoke. Now, sometimes quite often (sometimes not) I find myself in scripture. Whether I’m preparing a talk, exploring a notion, or desiring a reminder of His truth; it’s always as a result of His leading, and when I read, I find confirmation or definition of my experience.
I believe Jesus came to restore the relationship that was broken in Eden. I believe that is the story behind scripture and the intent of God’s heart on allowing it to remain.
I believe God wants to walk with us just like He did with Adam and Eve, perhaps not physically like He did with them, but in relationship, in this moment. Right now, and I do not think He needs a book to do that, helpful as it has proven to be.
Are you and God busy writing the story of His ongoing revelation as told by _______________ (fill in your name)?
I would seriously question if it’s contrary to Jesus’ recorded words.
Are you completely satisfied in you relationship with Him? It’s available, He’s still talking. The bible is a great example of it, the whole darn thing. If a relationship with Him is solely dependant upon scripture knowledge, then the intellectual has a better chance of being His friend than me and what’s the stinking use, because I’ll never meet up, never, I tried. I tried real hard.
Some would say this is a bad example; but by reading this, one could have a greater understanding of what I think. But it pales in comparison to having a conversation with me because too much is left up to you. But even this silly writing is available for God’s insight if you ask Him for it.