Here is a comment I recently received on my blog:
“Read the Bible, forget the Books, they are Satan’s web of deception. The Bible states, in the end times many even the elect will be deceived… Your choice.”
I deleted the comment because it isn’t respectful or on topic to the post it was left on. The comment author (whom I will grant anonymity) assumes that we can read the Bible and perfectly understand God through the process. Further, it is a sign of being deceived to quote anything other than the Bible. I wish this comment was unique, but sadly I see this time and again. Let me take a moment to reflect using this comment as a launching pad.
As I’ve written before, we all have filters we use when it comes to how we read the Bible. While it sounds super spiritual to say “I just read the Bible for what it says,” the reality is it’s impossible to do. We each bring our own perspectives, biases, personality, and experiences with us when we read. This shapes how we understand what the Bible says. This is why healthy Biblical community in the local church is so vital to a person’s spiritual health. For a practical application of this, read this post and then take the quiz to find out your score.
Now consider the line, “forget the books.” Is it more holy to read ONLY the Bible? Sure, the Bible is set apart from other books. But this erroneously assumes two faults:
- God is no longer speaking (all His words were captured in the Bible)
- God can only be found in the Bible
Unless you believe the Holy Spirit is a fairytale, or that God died shortly after Jesus ascended to Heaven, you cannot intelligently argue number one.
Unless you believe in a laughable, limited God, you cannot intelligently argue number two.
All truth, no matter where it is found, is God’s truth. That means God’s Spirit continues to move today… beyond the pages of Scripture. The Bible points us to the LIVING God. I’m not sure about you but I’m not interested in a small portion of God’s truth. I want a full dose of His goodness every chance I can experience it. That’s why I read all kinds of books. That’s why I listen to all kinds of music. Even “secular” music (GASP)! That’s why I listen to what the culture says around me and look to discern where truth is poking through.
Consider an interesting passage from the book of Daniel—found in the Bible ;)—where Daniel meets an angel. Here is what the angel says to him:
So he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? Soon I will return to fight against the prince of Persia, and when I go, the prince of Greece will come; but first I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth. (No one supports me against them except Michael, your prince.” Daniel 10:20-21
Notice what the angel is going to tell Daniel about? The Book of Truth. The scholar John F. Walvoord describes this as “God’s record of truth in general, of which the Bible is one expression.” When the angel said this to Daniel the Bible as we know it didn’t exist. Jesus hadn’t done His earthly ministry or preached a sermon yet. Yet the angel knew that God had truth to communicate to Daniel. Here’s the really great news, He still does for us today too!
This isn’t to say that we believe the Bible and also another “holy book” that contradicts it. Not all religions teach truth even though aspects of truth can usually be found. We believe the Bible and then anything else that supports or elaborates on the truth the Bible shows us. And I believe the Bible because it affirms the truth of life I see around me.
“Forget the books” is a great way to install truth blinders on your eyes. And guess what, it works! You really will stop seeing God in other places when you close your eyes to what He’s doing. How any person—especially a person who calls themselves a Christian—could choose this is beyond me. But as my recent blog comment affirms, that thinking is alive and well.
To my blog commenter, and all who share this way of limited thinking, I apologize. I cannot limit God’s revelation of truth today to only the Bible. I will continue to read the Bible daily AND continue to daily look for ways to see His truth around me.
The Book of Truth is available for all who are interested in reading it. While it begins with reading the Bible it doesn’t stop there. Don’t forget the books.