Have you ever thought about what Jesus thinks of the Bible?
What do you think it is like for Him to sit down and read Scripture?
Do you think there is anything in the Bible that He disagrees with? What do you think is His interpretation of it? Is it His favorite book?
What if Jesus was the pastor of your church? How do you think He would teach the Bible to His congregation?
These peculiar questions aren’t necessarily a representation of some [hidden] theological agenda of mine. Rather, these are the kinds of questions that I have been genuinely wrestling with over the last couple of weeks. Recently, I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on the significance of the Bible and what it means for us in this day and age. During this time of reflection, I have had the opportunity to engage in multiple insightful and challenging conversations about this topic with friends, and ultimately it has sparked a new fascination in me for the Bible.
However, I wonder what Jesus would tell me if I were to ask Him what the significance of the Bible is.
What if in response He asked, “What is the Bible?” How would you respond?
Maybe these questions seem absurd or pointless to ponder, but I think these are essential questions to be asking ourselves, each other, and God. As Christians, I have recognized that we (myself included) often become too comfortable and satisfied with our knowledge of Scripture. I think that for many of us, reading Scripture becomes more about knowing facts about God rather than actually getting to know God in a relational context. The Gospels often depict Jesus telling the most educated scholars of Scripture that they do not know God. Personally, I know how easy it is to judge people like the Pharisees who thought that they knew God because they had exceptional knowledge of Scripture and the law. But in all honesty, I think that we Christians often embody the same arrogance and complacency that the Pharisees had.
In John 17:3, Jesus says “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the one true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” So, we know that according to Scripture eternal life is a relationship with God. But what does your relationship with God look like when you’re not spending intentional time in prayer or reading the Bible?
What does God say to you when you’re not reading Scripture?
Does God speak to you through texts other than the Bible?
Do you recognize and experience God outside of His “Word?”
Do you experience God through your interactions with other people?
Scripture tells us about how God was active in the lives of specific people, in a specific context in time. But what does it teach us about how God is active in this specific, current moment in time?
Based on the depiction that we get of Jesus in Scripture, He seemed to always be pointing beyond the text. Jesus was God in the flesh, and it was those who thought they knew the most about God who refused to participate and experience a relationship with God outside of Scripture and the law.
Jesus seemed to teach that knowing and experiencing God was not limited to a singular text, regardless of how important and essential it is. Instead, Jesus met people wherever they were at in their journey, regardless of what they knew or how they lived. The Bible tells us many stories of individuals with and without faith who experienced God in some sort of manifestation.
Personally, I am recognizing how Scripture reveals the unpredictability and spontaneous characteristics of God, and how God always seems to be active and manifest in the most unexpected ways. But rather than merely share my perspective about the potential answers to all of these questions, my hope is to encourage you to engage in a similar dialogue and reflect on what these questions mean for you on your own current journey. If any of the content in this blog post stirs up some tension or strong emotion, I encourage you to confront it and reflect on the possible implications.