Debbie Savely lost her Bible in 1974, a Bible given to her by her late father. Yet, last year, that Bible made its way back into her possession. It was found in a box of debris on the campus of Volunteer State Community College, and by way of relentless pursuit and the marvel of the Internet, it was returned to its owner 40 years after it was lost.
I doubt that Debbie needed it. Like all of us, she had access to millions of Bibles to read. What made this particular copy of the Bible special was its source; her father had given it to her. Thus, it was a link to one who loved her.
What if we learned to approach our own Bibles with the same sentiment? What if we stopped deifying the Bible (worshipping “God the Father, Son, and Holy Bible” as it were), and embraced it as a pointer aiming us in a more Jesus-like direction?
How do we do this? By being Christians, not Biblicists. A Biblicist is one who reads the Bible flat; that is, every word is given the same significance, so, “He that curseth his father shall surely be put to death,” is given the same credibility as, “Love thy neighbor as thyself” (a drastic but accurate example).
Christians might be better served if our interpretive lens was Jesus Christ. As the living Word and Source, we look to him as we read, using his words to hold ourselves to his way, and to hold the Bible accountable as well. Refusing to do this schizophrenically puts the Bible and Jesus at odds with each other.
Maybe this is what Kurt Eichenwald was trying to get at in his recent Newsweek diatribe, “The Bible: So Misunderstood It’s a Sin.” He railed against biblical abuses, ignorance that impedes science, the foolishness of uniting church with state, and the suffering inflicted on the world by those who misapply the Bible. My response was, “Amen!”
But nothing will change about this state of affairs until Bible-reading, Bible-loving, Bible-believing people stop treating the Bible like it is God. Yes, I love the Bible, but not because every passage can be reconciled with Christianity. I love it because it helps me stay connected to the Source, to Jesus. After all, he is the foundation of my faith, and even as the Good Book says, there is no other.
Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, blogger, pastor, and author of multiple books. Visit his website at ronniemcbrayer.net.