Imagine that you are on your way to a much anticipated beach vacation. After hours of hard traveling, you rub your bloodshot eyes and see a glorious sign that says, “Beaches.” You are overjoyed. But how strange would it be, if when you saw that sign you immediately stopped the car and began unloading all of your vacation wares, as if you had actually arrived at your destination?
How bizarre, if you and your family started setting up beach chairs and umbrellas, if you began unpacking coolers, baiting fish hooks, and slathering on the sun block right there beneath the sign? Would it not be false to start calling and texting everyone back home to tell them that you were safe at the beach, when in fact you were only camping at a mile marker along the way?
Of course it would, yet many people of faith do exactly this sort of thing when it comes to reading their Bibles. They see the Scriptures as the end of their spiritual journey, not the road sign along the way, pointing them to a much more magnificent destination. What exactly is the Bible pointing us toward? In a word, Jesus.
In one of the more lofty concepts of the New Testament, John wrote, “In the beginning was the Word. The Word was with God and was God. That Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” The true Word of God, by the Bible’s own testimony, is not a written document. It is a Person. It is the one we call Jesus. Thus, the Bible is always pointing to him as the supreme authority for faith. He is “The Word of God for the People of God.”
Let there be no doubt, road signs will point you in the right direction, but you can’t camp out in the median. If you do, you might get run over; distract other travelers along the way; create a good deal of confusion; and you certainly aren’t going to get anywhere. In fact, you’ll miss out on what this journey is about.
It is right to be called “People of the Book,” that is, lovers of the Bible. But let us remember that we are not Biblicists, because the Bible itself isn’t the end of our convictions. We are Christians, followers of Jesus who are always heeding his voice and moving in his direction, the author, sustainer, and perfecter of our faith.
Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, blogger, pastor, and author of multiple books. Visit his website at www.ronniemcbrayer.net.