If Jesus Is The Word Where Does That Leave The Bible?

bible-11The Apostle John had a gift for describing what we may call in the 21st  century “the Big Picture.”  Rather than start his account of Christ’s life with a genealogy (Matthew) or with a historical narrative (Luke), John begins his gospel with an cosmological understanding of what had occurred that even Douglas Adams could appreciate;

* that God created everything in existence

* that very same God had just entered the world as a mortal man.

* that the God who became man was the keeper of Life and Light and darkness could not stand against Him

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life,and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome

John 1: 1-5

In light of this incredible declaration by John many Christian’s initial association with “the Word” is not Jesus…but the Bible!

Understand that for years I had been taught, and later taught others, that the Bible was the Word of God!   Jesus and the Bible were interchangeable!  When someone said they were “studying the Word” we knew they meant the Bible, not Jesus!

And if Jesus is infallible, well the Bible must be as well!

In Catholicism, there is a dogma of “papal infallibility” whereby the pope holds and defines doctrine for their church.  However with the Protestant Reformation  a new authority or “infallibility” was needed.

The Bible

Sola Scriptura! 

Infallible.

Examine many evangelical churches Statements of Faith and it is quite likely that the Bible is not simply the highest textual authority for guiding and governing Christianity.

It is inerrant!

inerrancy1.jpg.scaled500-300x210

Hey, I LOVE the Bible.  I have a very high view of scripture and believe it to be inspired by the Holy Spirit.   The scriptures points to and reveals Christ.

Having said that though the following would seem quite ridiculous to me:

In the beginning was the Bible, and the Bible was with God, and the Bible was God.  Scripture was with God in the beginning.  Through the Bible all things were made; without the Bible nothing was made that has been made.  In the Bible was life,and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome.

Brian Zahnd writes a great blog piece on the topic and says:

The Bible is the word of God that bears witness to the Word of God — Jesus Christ.

The Logos-Word became flesh — not a book.

Jesus is God. The Bible is not.

The Bible did not create the Heavens and Earth — the Word (Christ) did.

We worship Jesus; we do not worship the Bible.

The Bible is not a member of the Trinity.

The Bible is not God. Jesus is God.

The Bible is not perfect. (There are parts of it we now regard as obsolete; e.g. Levitical codes.)

Christ is the perfection of God as a human being.

What the Bible does infallibly is point us to Jesus Christ.

There is one mediator between God and man…and it’s not the Bible.

The Bible is the inspired witness to the true Word of God who is Jesus Christ.

Brian Zahnd – Scripture as Witness to the Word of God. 

I use the the Bible to understand and know The Word but these days I’m careful not to confuse one with the other!

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  • A few months ago I came upon the teachings of Andre Rabe (South Africa) where a revelation really enlightened my relationship with the scriptures: When you look in a mirror, where is the substance? Is it in the mirror? The scriptures are the mirror that reveals who I am, Christ IN ME.

    [2Cr 3:18 NKJV] But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

    Such a stepping stone in the renewing ot the mind!

  • Steve

    Reply

    Renewing the mind though can be so difficult 😉 Thanks for sharing that Claude!

    • Yes, I know, I’ve been at it for around 4 years… and I could say quite “diligently”. And beside a deep abiding joy that I didn’t know before in my life of ups and mostly downs, I was expecting to be able to walk on water much earlier than that, and besides, I still argue with my wife.
      Well… since it says that I have the mind of Christ… eventually… I shall see God in my flesh…

      … and another quote in the same vein “I got so much more out of the Scriptures when I discovered that they added nothing to me, they simply revealed who I am, they revealed what God had already deposited in me” – Andre Rabe

      It’s great to be able to communicate on a blog such as yours, tx!

  • Adam Benner

    Reply

    It strikes me that what you’re talking about here is very much related to your previous posts on the John Piper-Dexter connection. If, like Piper, you believe that the Bible is inerrant down to each jot and tittle, then you’re forced to be bullish to reconcile Old Testament passages that make God look like not much of a good God at all. However, if you’re willing to see the Bible as a (certainly inspired) reflection of the writers’ perception (and quite often, misperception) of God, and Jesus as the final and ultimate revelation of God, there is no need to make excuses for God as represented in the Old Testament.

    (Side note – One could argue that the heart of the running dispute between Jesus and the Pharisees was that they held on to an Old Testament God while he was presenting a New Testament God).

    Is it really so hard to say that the Bible, particularly the Old Testament, has some issues? Unfortunately, in the post-Reformation Church, we’ve too often treated the Bible as though it descended from heaven in completed form (in King James English, no less). For me, removing the human element in this way makes the Bible far less interesting.

    • Steve

      Reply

      Totally agree Adam. Not viewing the bible as inerrant frees us from a number of theological gymnastics requiring us to explain, among other things, how genocide can a ‘good’ thing. Also, having the human element mixed with the Spirit breathed makes us part of the narrative in a much more meaningful way…in my opinion…

      • Adam Benner

        Reply

        Your opinion is the correct one.

    • May I add my opinion about our ways of seeing God “according to the Bible”. That’s a reflection of my perception. If I’m going overboard, please tell me, tx!

      Didn’t God showed Himself for Who He really Is only once in the Old Covenant. Moses had to hide in the cleft of the rock and :
      “The Lord, The Lord !!! G O O D N E S S overwhelming and awesome!”
      But them that He called His own wife weren’t interested in love and relationship, they just couldn’t relate to Who and What God is, His NATURE & WAYS. Moses had to hide the glory of God shining from his face, they just couldn’t take it, they only related to separation in a grasshopper mindset.
      Their PERCEPTION didn’t allow them to see God, His Nature and Ways.

      It’s not a judgement of what they were, it’s only that man and His chosen people weren’t ready for REVELATION.

      He treats them like His own wife but they couldn’t forsake their slave mentality. You want the Law, you want to relate to my perfection in your own efforts, you want your own righteousness? Ok, there you go, hit and miss? blood and death!

      In cultures where the highs in spiritual activities ended in all manner of perversions and human bloody sacrifices where men and women thought nothing of barbecueing alive their own children to Moloch, could He do anything but relate to them on their own terms? It is shocking for us who have His indwelling G O O D N E S S and a heritage of 2000 years of living the 9 fruits of the Spirit, but for a fallen warring mindset? Every major issue found its solution in BLOOD.
      Therefore, like you say: A REFLECTION OF THE WRITER’S PERCEPTION (fallen, warring, bloody mindset where the perception of GOODNESS wasn’t an issue).
      Didn’t Jesus say that they that live by the sword shall perish by the sword? G O O D N E S S says: your perception of life is: the sword, the reflection will be: perish. As a man thinks in his heart so is he – so he gets. Choose life!

      He again relates to us in our own term, our own turf, He comes in the flesh to reveal Himself and for us to finally understand His Nature… our answer: BLOOD! He had to relate to us (in our satanic, warring, bloody mindset “get thee behind satan” as Peter thinks natural good) in His own BLOOD for us to finally get what His G O O D N E S S is.

      And up till now, our supposedly Christian societies still found that the only answer to their fears and shortages in luxuries is inevitably BLOOD. A majority of Christians will heartily agree with Madeleine Albright “The death of 500’000 Iraki children is worth it”. It is still our values, it is still the only thing that we think works – sacrificing to Moloch? Maybe we don’t want to think that but that’s what we do.
      The fact is: we get offended at some Old Covenant bloody strories and still agree to pour BLOOD to solve our threatened luxurious lives and materialistic extravagances.

      The only BLOOD God agrees to pour is His Own.
      There has only been GOODNESS towards us from day one.

      The Bible isn’t a holy book, it is a mirror that reflects, reveals God’s Holiness IN us.

      • Steve

        Reply

        Wow Claude…that was good and insightful! Will be processing that. Thanks for sharing!

      • “With the pure thou wilt show thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt show thyself froward.” (Ps 18: 26) Just came upon that verse that confirms to me that our PERCEPTION of God defines the REFLECTION (an Old Covenant bloody God?)

  • Very interesting Steve. I have never heard that perspective before. Pretty amazing considering I have been in church all my life! I like the mirror reference Claude.

    • Steve

      Reply

      Christelle, I feel the exact same way. This is a perspective that is pretty new to me as well 🙂 Thanks for reading! 🙂

  • Tx Steve and Christelle for your reactions, encouraging!
    This is a little sequell to the few quotes about the “mirror word” it it can get some of your questions answered

    Steve, tx for allowing me to use your blog for a sharing the greatest blessings and favors that got ahold of me lately. I haven’t attained to nothing though, it’s just WHO HE IS in me… REVEALED, just a little more than before.

    Here’s my method, quite childish actually and basic. In the simplicity of Christ I do nothing, I just say “YES, AMEN, THANK YOU”. And He answers “It’s My pleasure”
    + HONOR & DESIRE, you honor the Presence and desire to KNOW HIM above all.

    Since a few months now I have been led (Holy Spirit being the best internet search engine yet) to some of these grace teachers of South Africa, namely François Du Toit, Andre Rabe, Bertie Brits, who really brought the grace message in a light that greatly participated in enhancing my reality of God with among other things this revelation about the word being like a mirror.
    The main revelation being of God’s unconditional Love and passion for us in relating to us so completely, His identification with us, in us so thorough that He choses us as His eternal dwelling place. We do house Him and His presence so intimately that His intention is that we can’t tell if it is us or Him. His original blueprint for man was to be HIS IMAGE & LIKENESS, that He restored + completed in Christ.

    Look, I just got something that should really encourage us:
    Beside signs and wonders following, Jesus looked like a perfectly normal man, there was so little of God in his appearance that religion thought he was a devil and they could get rid of Him. He was God Himself in the flesh… but you just couldn’t tell – unless like He told Peter “revealed to you by the Father”. Just like us my dears, nobody can tell, we even can’t tell when we look in a mirror… in 1st John he tells us though “AS HE IS SO ARE WE IN THIS WORLD”.

    You understand that in God’s mind there is no difference between Jesus’ earthly life and ours right now. The only difference is that Jesus didn’t have the fallen mindsets and the old-man mentality to renew and get rid of. He knew that He knew that He knew that He was THE Son of God all along “I must be about my Father’s business”.
    As we renew our mind to the way God sees us now, we get the realities of the Kingdom to manifest in our lives and in the lives of others. We see what He sees, say What He says and He transforms life, on earth as it is in Heaven.
    Every time that you know who you are in God and who God is in you, it manifests. It’s not about our performance, it’s about our CONSCIOUSNESS OF THE PRESENCE.

    Here’s an mp3 recording of Andre Rabe’s “Discover yourself in Him” where I learned a lot about the Word being the mirror, enjoy: http://hearhim.net/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Discover_yourself_in_Him.mp3

    Here’s a link to the few hours of the Where Grace Meets conference with the South African guys mentioned above, in Louisiana, april 2013: http://www.wheregracemeets.com/index.php/archive

    And a fun pdf book, mostly quotes, Your Christ Is Too Small: https://archive.org/download/YourChristIsTooSmall/YourChristIsTooSmall.pdf

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