GodReflection: My Bible Doesn’t Read Like Yours
Next week I plan to bring this fourteen-post series to a close.
Thanks for reading along with me as I’ve attempted a preliminary look at factors that can cause me to see one of God’s children as an imposter; rather than as one who is in fact my holy sister or brother loved by our Father. We could just be reading our Bible from different perspectives.
When I look at my own church tribe—not to mention when I consider others that claim God as Father and Jesus as Lord—I see a wide variety of views, beliefs and definitions of doctrine.
Within my church heritage we gather to worship with different understandings of discipleship, roles of men and women in worship, heaven, hell, sacrifice and money, local church function and communion. Certainly not a complete list. How about a common view of John’s Revelation among us?
If we were to place a random fifty of us in a room we could fill multiple whiteboards with lists of our own counter views drawn from our Bible. I dare say some of our differences would center on what we define as doctrine.
Yet, we hold in common the belief that our Bible is true. We believe that our Bible was designed, preserved and inspired by God.
What is it that could help us extend a greater portion of grace to each other?
I have come to believe that perhaps our search in scripture is for the wrong truth. Maybe we should first look for JESUS THE TRUTH.
Is my truth search for procedure and for the purpose of building my own body of doctrine? Rather, shouldn’t I place at the forefront of my reading the one who assumed the very definition of truth?
Jesus declared—as a matter of fact—“I am the way and the Truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
The entirety of the Old Testaments moves toward the introduction of Jesus Messiah. The Gospels record his life, death and resurrection, and the remainder of the New Testament his presence as THE TRUTH empowering the church.
With Christ at center stage of Holy Scripture shouldn’t He be the Truth lens through which I read my Bible?
I can trust Jesus to be true.
Now back to our differences in viewpoint drawn from our Bible.
Were we to look first at Jesus, how can we then deal with such disagreements as the roles of men and women, worship, heaven, hell, sacrifice and giving, local church function and communion?
What if I explored Jesus’ example and instruction found in the Gospels? What is Jesus intent. What happens at each encounter? Is his attempt to teach something significant beyond the literal encounter that is a mere illustration of his point?
Is his concern really how I calendar communion or is his concern that I recognize the cleansing power of his body and blood on my behalf through the symbols of bread and wine? And from that recognition, I am to observe his symbols with consistency and humility.
Is it important to Jesus that I speculate on the specifics of heaven and hell? Isn’t his concern and intent that I set my focus on him and by so doing I will live with him eternally?
Isn’t the reality of eternal separation from the Holy the real deterrent of hell rather than how I might envision its hellish features?
Last evening in a re-read of the late Henri Nowen’s book, In the Name of Jesus, I came across this passage that clearly expresses the core consideration of this post:
But when we are securely rooted in personal intimacy with the source of life, it will be possible to remain flexible without being relativistic, convinced without being rigid, willing to confront without being offensive, gentle and forgiving without being soft, and true witnesses without being manipulative (page 32).
If we will only listen to Jesus speak and grow more familiar with his life, priorities and the way he treated people, don’t you think JESUS THE TRUTH will give us more common ground as we read our Bible?
And, as we make the effort to grow in love with Jesus, I suspect our Bible will sound more and more alike. What do you think? I would love to hear from you.
Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection: My Bible Is True—But JESUS IS TRUTH