The congregation settles in their seats as the pastor makes his way to the pulpit. The pastor opens the Bible and lays his sermon notes upon the chic modern pulpit. He can feel the silence settle in the sanctuary like a Italian dressing. Looking up to see all eyes upon him, he decide to break the anxious silence with a pray for illumination. After the much needed pray, he begins his sermon saying “Our text for today is…” What I have described is a common occurrence on any given Sunday, in any give church, but what I have described gets at a much larger problem within the Church and that is how we view the Bible.
In a preaching class Pastor Jon Brown while giving feedback stopped to unload some angst and much needed reproof. “Its not a text, lets talk about the Bible in a way that conveys what we believe that it is.” His reproof seemed out of nowhere but hit everywhere inside of me. The reproof of one simple word seemed at first to be so nit-picky and small but was actual complex and large. It is often the reproofs that seem so irrelevant that are the most relevant and it is the reproofs that seem unnecessary that prove to be exactly what we need.
How we speak about the Bible reflects what we believe it is and its impact on our lives. If we are careless or flippant with the words we use in regards to what the Bible is, what does that do to us when we read what it says?
Its not just a text, so don’t call it that. It a two edged sword that penetrates to the deepest part of our being; soul, spirit, joints, and even our marrow (Hebrew 4:12). It is a two edged sword, let us not pick it up as if it were a stick. When we pick up the Bible and read, if we pick it up carelessly we butcher our souls. But if we pick it up with the care that a surgeon grabs a scalpel then it becomes a source of healing, yes there will be cutting and bleeding but there will also be the removal of the cancerous sin which clings so tightly the most vital parts of our being.
Its not just a text, so don’t call it that. It is the Word of God, let us not forget that it is the very Words of God that we have to thank for being. Just like God’s ways and thought are not like ours, God’s words are not like ours. God spoke and there was light, earth, water, sun and stars, plants, animals, and humans. When God speaks it thunders with a power that exploded in the creation of the universe. Every thing that has existed, exist now, and will ever exist is so because of the very words of God. So when we read Scripture, think about Scripture, and talk about Scripture remember that we are handling the very thing that has created, is creating, and will create. It was by the Words of God that we have been brought into existence and it is by the Word of God that we are born again into a fuller existence.
Its not just a text, so don’t call it that. It is breath and consequently it is life. 2 Timothy 3:16 paints a beautiful picture of Scripture being breathed out by God. Scripture is the Breath of God and it is all profitable. Just like our bodies need to breath in oxygen to survive we need to inhale what God has exhaled if we are to thrive and be fully human. We are meant to breath in the Scriptures because it is life. Don’t wait until you’re suffocating to realize how important the Breath of God is. To breath is essential to our existence as Christians.
So please I beg you stop calling it a text because its not a text. A text is just words on a page but Scripture is completely different, it is living and active. What we are saying when we call the Bible a text is that it is dead, that it is a specimen, and that it is something to be studied as opposed to something that is alive, active, far more mysterious that than a frog to dissect, and that the Bible is something to be lived. “Its not a text, lets talk about the Bible in a way that conveys what we believe that it is.” (Jon Brown)