With our increasing emphasis on emotions today, which are quite temporary and subject to change easily, we have drifted away from the true focus of the church for doctrine. Emotionalism has led us away from Scripture. We no longer read it to find out what the will of God is. Why should we? We have emotions.
Yet friends, how many of you have been to the Ink and Blood exhibit? It came to my city and I definitely went to see the history of the Bible. Are you aware of how many people died just so you and I could have the right to have a Bible? Do you know there are Christians in other nations of the world who would give most anything just to have that Bible that’s gathering dust on your bookshelf?
What does the Scripture say? Paul said in Romans 3 that the advantage in being a Jew was in having the Old Testament. Peter in 2 Peter 1 described the transfiguration but then emphasized the Word of God. The writers of the NT and Christ himself were not hesitant to use Scripture. It was the final authority.
For those of us who are Sola Scriptura, this needs to be understood. We are not saying Scripture is the only source that matters. There is much that can be learned from the Early Church Fathers, from philosophy, from science, from archaeology, etc. However, the claim is that if Scripture clearly says one thing and something else clearly says another, then we go with Scripture.
Note this though. Interpretations can disagree with Scripture. Facts cannot. I do not believe for a second that true science, philosophy, psychology, etc. will ever contradict Scripture. It might contradict our interpretations of Scripture and when it reaches that point we might have to look and say “Were we reading this wrong? Is there another way to read it that won’t do violence to the text and still treat it as authoritative?”
The point friends though is that we have to return to that place of Scripture. When we are arguing a biblical point, our emphasis needs to be on what the Bible says. Too often, I have been in debates where what happens is what Francis Beckwith calls “Trumping with Spirituality.” As soon as some Christians start losing an argument, they immediately talk spiritual.
I have heard everything from how much someone reads their Bible, (Who cares if they don’t bother understanding it?) to how much someone is listening to the Holy Spirit, (Which we have dealt with already.) to the character of one’s life. (As much as we should live a moral life, a moral life does not mean that your arguments are entirely correct. Also, doesn’t that imply that you automatically think I’m living an immoral one?)
When the debate goes there, I’d like to suggest a novel idea. How about we actually go to the text and read it together? We can then try to understand the text itself. Then we look in the context of the chapter, then of the book, and then of the testament, and then of all of Scripture. Will we solve everything? I doubt it. I bet though that we’d get a deeper understanding of Scripture.
In fact, when you start exegeting a text, it’s quite enjoyable. I recently blogged about a youth pastor preaching a sermon on Proverbs 3:5-6. I began exegeting it from the pew and found that his interpretation contradicted the theme of the text. Today, I read that text in my morning Bible reading and it was unbelievable how real it was.
Friends. If we are going to have the church be the force it’s meant to be, we will have to be stronger in Scripture. All Christians need an education in it. I have seen many young apologists who are quite good but have one fundamental flaw I have seen. They have not yet read Scripture.
It is God’s gift to you, a treasure trove of knowledge, wisdom, and truth. Learn it and use it well.