June 2, 2015

Worship the Bible?

I've read and heard online, Christians accusing each other of worshiping the Bible. It's not always pretty, and so I thought I'd share my two bits here.

Is there a danger of worshiping the Bible? Yes, but not if we abide in Christ. Let me explain...



Jesus accused the unbelieving Jewish religious leaders of thinking they had eternal life in doing the work of searching the Scriptures.

"And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form.

But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe.

You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.

But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life." John 5:37-40

They were reading the words of the Scriptures, but lacking the power of the Holy Spirit who brings light to them.

The One the Scriptures were talking about, was standing right in front of them and they did not see Him.

What Jesus was saying to them was that they did not have the word of God abiding in them and therefore they did not have eternal life.

But I see, even in his rebuke, He was offering them eternal life!! Telling them, they just needed to be willing. That's because He is gracious, loving and kind. : )

Jesus is that Word. And we must abide in Him, and He in us.

"Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me." John 15:4

If Jesus abides in you then you are not worshiping the Bible, but Him, as you read, study, learn and grow in His Word.

"Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed." John 8:31


A.W. Tozer discusses this topic in his book 'The Dangers of Shallow Faith: Awaking from Spiritual Lethargy.'

He says here:

"...have you noticed that there are whole generations of so-called Christians who are drilled in the catechism, who know the doctrine, who can recite the gospel as well as the law and still never manage to break through to the new birth? They never come through to that shining wonder of inward renewal.

The reason is, they are taught that the power lies in the words (of the Bible), and if you get the words right, you are all right. Whereas, Paul says, the kingdom of God does not lie in the words at all. 

The kingdom of God lies in the power that indwells those words. 

You cannot have the power without the words, but you can have the words without the power, and many people do.

The gospel is the power of the Spirit operating through the Word."

"For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake." 1 Thessalonians 1:5

Tozer continues here:

"The Holy Spirit is an absolute necessity in the Church. I am grieved in the Holy Spirit because there is a power in the Spirit to expose sin and revolutionize and covert and create holy men and women, and nothing else can do it. Words will not do it. Instructions will not do it. Line upon line, precept upon precept will not do it; it takes the power of God to do it."

When the power of the Holy Spirit illuminates the Word of God something beautiful and powerful happens. Here is an example...


I recently finished reading a book called 'Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus' by Nabeel Qureshi, and what God has done in his life shows that the power does not lie in the words but in "the power of the Spirit operating through the Word."
 
After many years of struggling with who God really is, coming from a Muslim background he opened up his Bible and read in the book of Matthew:

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."

(This was not the first time he had read the Bible. He had read much of it as a Muslim.)

He then says:

"The words were like a current sent through my dead heart, electrifying it once more. This was what I was looking for. It was as if God had written these words in the Bible two thousand years prior specifically with me in mind.

It was almost too incredible to believe. To a man who had seen the world only through Muslim eyes, the message was overwhelming. I am blessed for mourning? Why? How? I am imperfect. I do not perform to His standard. Why would He bless me? And for mourning, no less. Why?'

I continued reading fervently. 'Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness?' Not 'blessed are the righteous?' but 'blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness?' I hunger and thirst for righteousness, I do, but I can never attain it. God will bless me anyway? Who is this God who loves me so much, even in my failures?'

Tears flowed from my eyes once more, but now they were tears of joy. I knew that what I held in my hands was life itself. This was truly God's word, and it was as if I was meeting Him for the first time...

...I could not put the Bible down. I literally could not. It felt as if my heart would stop beating, perhaps implode, if I put it down. I ended up skipping the whole day of school, but I really had no choice in the matter. The Bible was my lifeline."

God's Word is life when His Holy Spirit brings it to light for us. Then we see that...

His Word is divinely in-breathed, infallible, inerrant and authoritative.

It is a love letter from Him to you. It's about Him inviting you into His story. Sharing who He is and how much He loves you.

Joni Eareckson Tada says here:

"Our testimonies won't really reach - or even change - the life of the reader. Only the Word of God can do that."

I really believe this. God uses us to lead the way, but it's the Holy Spirit, through God's Word, that reaches people.

"For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Hebrews 4:12

You can read more stories of how Scripture, empowered by the Holy Spirit, has changed lives in my post...                                             
                                                                     'The Power of Scripture'


And HERE is one more great story from Charles Spurgeon.

*Note - Joni Eareckson Tada's quote was found in the forward of the book "The Hardest Peace" by Kara Tippetts.


Buy The Dangers of Shallow Faith HERE on Amazon

Buy Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus HERE on Amazon



30 comments:

  1. Worshipping the Bible... I hadn't heard it said like that before. Makes perfect sense.

    Nabeel's testimony really ministers to me. He is so alive. These words are life, no doubt about it!

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    1. I loved Nabeel's testimony too. Thanks for stopping by Sandi! :)

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  2. "Is there a danger of worshiping the Bible? Yes, but not if we abide in Christ." I think you are right, and also this "God's Word is life when His Holy Spirit brings it to light for us." There is a danger of worshiping almost anything when we put it in the place in our heart where God should be. If we are abiding in Christ, He will guide us and show us the truth. Then we will worship Him, not the Bible, not anything else. And when we go astray He brings us back, welcomes us and forgives us. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. May God bless you! I'm your neighbor at the #RaRaLinkup!

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    1. Yes I agree there is a danger in worshiping anything that is above God in our hearts. I just started a book called 'love idol' and it talks about making, approval and love from others, an idol! I'm looking forward to reading it all.

      Thanks for stopping by Gayl. : )

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  3. "You cannot have the power without the words, but you can have the words without the power, and many people do." I love this thought. Our family has been watching AD The Bible Continues on Sunday nights, and I get goosebumps when they show the power of the Holy Spirit. Like the electric shock felt by Nabeel. Scripture is important, but even Jesus said 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' We read Scripture to know God, reading Scripture is a byproduct of loving Him. Not a substitute. I found your words to be very thought provoking - thanks for sharing them. I'm your neighbor at Unite.

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    1. Hi Janet, We haven't watched the AD series yet, but have them taped. I love that Tozer quote too! I keep reading it over and find such wisdom in it. We need the power of God and the Word of God, they go hand in hand.

      Glad you stopped by! : )

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  4. I appreciate this approach to the Bible. I think back to times where I've said "the Bible says" and then continue on with my own interpretation of the passage. The Holy Spirit speaks to us through His Word while convicting and encouraging us. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. I think we all have done that!

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting Sam. : )

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  5. In my own testimony, I saw the transforming power of the Holy Spirit when I first believed. The Lord sent faithful people to share the Gospel with me and His Word, but the Word did not speak to me until I gave my life to Christ and the Holy Spirit indwelt within me. It was then that my eyes were opened and I understood the Scriptures in their fullest meaning.

    The insights of Tozer were very thought-provoking.

    Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks for sharing your testimony. It's always exciting to hear how others have come to Christ.

      Glad you stopped by Karen! : )

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  6. More good books to add to the list! :) Thanks for linking up at #ThreeWordWednesday.

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    1. Thanks for hosting your weekly link-up Kristin! : )

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  7. Interesting thoughts Linking up from Thriving Thursdays

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Stephen. : )

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  8. I see "word worship" as dangerous too especially when arguing over interpretations of the Bible. I think there is danger in saying "King Jame's only." It is like the King Jame's version could become more important than Christ himself. We should worship "The Word of Life." The one who spoke the word into existence. Just my thoughts. Thanks for linking up at Literacy Musing Mondays.

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    1. Great thoughts! "We should worship 'The Word of Life'" - love that.

      I'm not in the 'King James only' camp but I do tread with caution on some versions of the Bible. Paraphrases are not translations or meant to be studied as such, so therefore I don't read them at all. I grew up on the NIV and now have a NKJV. Love them both. I also like the ESV translation. : )

      Thanks for stopping by Mary!

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  9. Anything can become an idol, even the Bible. The quotes from Towzer were insightful, thank you for sharing.

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  10. Agreed. The words from A. W. Tozer made me think of what is often found in some churches, where doctrine and denomination become more of the focus than what God's Word says. (visiting from Blessing Counters)

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    1. Tozer's words are always thought-provoking. I didn't realize, till recently, that some denominations (not just the Amish) actually still shun people for leaving. This is so sad and unbiblical. People are the church, not a certain denomination or organization. You are right, focus on God and His Word are key.

      Thanks for stopping by Laura! : )

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  11. Thank you for sharing this post with us at Good Morning Mondays. The quotes have really got me thinking and I am definitely going to read Tozer's book. Thank you and blessings

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    1. It's a great thought-provoking book! Hope you enjoy it. : )

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  12. I don't have much time for internet surfing so I was unaware of this this thread on bible worshiping. Still, I appreciated your careful reasoning.

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  13. This is a great post. I'm so thankful that you are my neighbor at Still Saturday!

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    1. Glad you stopped by Elizabeth! : )

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  14. Great post and I love A.W. Tozer and have not read this one yet.

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    1. It's a good one! Thanks for stopping by Barbie! : )

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  15. Wow! This was a powerful post. Thank you for sharing your heart and sharing such truth! I really enjoyed it and hope to read both books you mentioned here. Thanks for linking up at Booknificent Thursday this week!
    Tina

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for stopping by Tina! : )

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Feel free to leave your own thoughts in the comments. I try to respond to all of them by the end of the week. : )

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