What a great man. Surely, when the Apostle John lived, his voice must have sounded like Dr. Lightfoot’s. Every time I read John’s gospel or his letter, the voice I hear is the voice of my beloved professor.
Among my prized possessions is an autographed copy of the 3rd edition of Dr. Lightfoot’s How We Got The Bible. It tells the amazing story of how God’s book came to be.
Since I want to be God’s friend, my primary source to begin our friendship is God’s book.
Through the years, I discovered several principles to help me use God’s book wisely.
- My first Professor of Bible, Dr. Gerald Kendrick taught me “the Bible is not a debater’s handbook.” It’s not that he said it once; he said it hundreds of times. His point being that no one wins in Bible debates. In debates, bias is set, minds don’t seek answers, and the only purpose is to pin an opponent to the floor for a ten-count. Too often, it is the arrogance of “If you were as smart as me, you too would know the truth.”
- The Bible is not a book of rules. This week while perusing a church website, I found listed as a value statement, “The Bible is our rule book.” The poorly constructed website upheld their value. There was not a hint of grace anywhere.
- God’s book is not the object of worship. I am to worship the Father and His Son. I grew up in a network of churches that give high priority to the Bible. In many ways, this value blessed me. In my more thoughtful moments, I sometimes think we spent more time worshiping the Bible than its Author.
- God’s book is His story. It tells God’s story from creation to the earth’s final curtain call.
- God’s book is a love story. God loved man and woman so profoundly He built a garden in Eden for fellowship with this creation who housed His breath. Satan messed with the garden, and the remainder of God’s book tells of God’s love for His human creation and His plan through Jesus to seize back his people from Satan. God’s book is the story of His eternal love for you and for me.
- God’s book is a Soul service manual. Rather than a rulebook, God’s book shows me the schematics for my wiring. It shows how my soul can live to the fullest and gives me examples of behavior and priorities that will burn out soul wiring.
- God’s book is a banquet, rather than a buffet. When I encounter God’s book, He wants me to enjoy the appetizer, the salad, the main course, the dessert, and to top it off with His richest coffee. God is not a pick-and-choose God. I can’t tell God I accept His grace and trust Him, then refuse to participate in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus through the symbol of water immersion.
Long ago for reasons my human mind cannot grasp, He had a dream of living in a state of reciprocal love with the man and woman created in His likeness.
Satan stepped in and spoiled the garden. One day his footprint will be gone and God will once again declare His garden fit for His love fest with His children.
Let’s determine anew to use God’s Book with integrity and to honor its purpose.