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Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Bible Is an Open Book

I have heard so many preachers hold up their Bibles and say with apparent passion, "This is the Word of God!" I don't disagree. However, many of them immediately close their Bibles and tell you what they think. I find it ironic that those who would say they are defending the Bible have the least regard for the Bible.

The Bible does not contain all the words of God. It does not record every conversation anyone has had with God. It does not contain any of my conversations with God. Yes, God does continue to speak. He still takes the written word and applies it in ways I would never have dreamed. God also speaks to me apart from the Bible without ever contradicting a word written in it.

The Word of God is living. Something alive responds to the environment. New understandings of the scripture are applied because the Word is living. It often speaks to me during my own circumstances. It gives me specific direction and comfort. It corrects my present wrong and teaches me what is right. It does so in the context of my present life. The Word can do so because it is living.

The Pharisees studied the written word and determined that Israel was under oppression because they had not kept the Law. They set out to give a pure interpretation and application of the Law. They closed the written word of God and substituted it with their own interpretations. Jesus did not fit into their interpretations. They rejected Him because their Bible was closed.

We run into that danger today. There are those who say you must interpret every verse as they have determined. If not, you risk being and outsider from their club. They say they are defending the Bible but I suspect they are just Pharisees. They still don't notice the Lord working in their midst.

The Word of God is not passive. It changes the one who truly encounters it. It takes people out of their comfort zone and places them in a living and conversational relationship with God. A people who listen to God can't be controlled through earthly rulers. They can't be controlled by earthly preachers either. So, a closed Bible is a safe Bible for these who would tell us how we must interpret every verse.

This makes no difference if those of us who claim to be believers never open our Bibles. We might as well get all our applications and interpretations from our preachers and tv evangelists. Otherwise, we would never hear anything spiritual. Surely, a lot of good things have come from many of these preachers. They have the greatest intentions . . . just like the Pharisees.

Read your Bible today. Pray that God would speak to you through it and speak to you in ways that you would never have dreamed. The Bible should be an open book. Is yours closed?

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