|Photo by luigi diamanti|
The Bible as an Instruction Manual. Many use the Word of God as a list of do's and don't's. If it says to do it, they do it. If it says not to do something, they don't do it. It is a list of rules and regulations.
The Bible as a Formula for Life. Some use the Bible as a formula for the perfect, successful life. A + B = C. You take scriptures in the Bible and do them and you will have a successful, blessed life.
Both of these interpretations are wrong because:
1. They push Jesus away from the center of application. They take Jesus of the throne of our hearts.
2. They just don't work.
Using the Bible as an instruction book leaves out the heart of Jesus. The Pharisee's were great at following the instructions of the law perfectly, and yet they neglected the poor and needy to do it. Thinking the Bible is a formula book will just disappoint you. Doing everything right in life does not guarantee success. There are many godly people who follow Jesus with their whole being who are riddled with tragedy and heartache. There is no formula for the perfect, successful life.
If our reading of scripture leads us to alienation and self-promotion, then we are reading it wrong. We have missed the point. Some people read scripture and develop a fear of the world. But that is not God's personality. He sent His Son to the world to die because He loves it so much.
Jesus should be the filter of our Bible reading.
The Word of God is a huge letter about God's love for His creation. When you read the words, filter them through the lens of Jesus. He taught us to love God and to love others as ourselves.
Love is the key.
*Thoughts taken from John Ketchersid's sermon at the Plymouth Park Church of Christ, February 9, 2014.