Scripture Is God-Breathed – But It is Not God

Let me first be abundantly clear – the problem is not with Scripture, but Christians. Scripture is 100% God-breathed. I’m an inerrantist (though not always a literalist – I think there are clearly times when God through Biblical writers uses figures of speech and metaphors). But I keep hearing things like “The answer to every problem is in Scripture,” which has led people to expect that if they study Scripture and “hide it deep in their hearts” (to quote Scripture) it will set them free. Free from temptation. Free from fear. But God’s Word cannot do that. Only God can do that. And there is a big difference. 

Never forget that Satan used Scripture to tempt Jesus. If Jesus had only been concerned with following Scripture, he could have done any of those things, because, while Satan was still deceiving, he was not outright lying like he did with Adam and Eve when saying “You will surely not die.” The Scriptures did say that the Father would send His angels concerning Jesus and protect him. And while Jesus did answer with Scripture, neither Scripture had more authority than the other. You can know every verse of Scripture and still not know or understand God, much less find all the Fruits of the Spirit even if you are sincere and earnest and not acting in bad faith like Satan. 

Jesus knew which Scripture to counter Satan’s quote because Jesus was not relying on Scripture, but on the Father and Spirit. He knew the Father’s will concerning Him, and it was not to show off to everyone that He was the Messiah before the appointed time, or to avoid the pain of the atonement price he was going to pay. His love and closeness to the Father and Spirit ensured that Scripture could not be used to deceive Him. 

But how often do we fail in that! How often throughout history, and still to this day, do we use Scripture to justify evil? To put off good? But more than that, we deceive people, especially new Christians, who think that if they just go to every Bible study they can find, their temptations will cease, they will find Peace and Joy, all from studying Scripture like we study everything else in life. We are a very intellectual culture. But, as Jesus and Paul both said, the Father was pleased to reveal His will and understanding to the foolish of the world. Intellectual understanding, like physical training, is of some benefit, but it doesn’t compare to true wisdom from living a life with God.

Much like Christ could not take a shortcut to prove He was the Messiah, but still had to walk the hard road before him, so too must Christians walk a hard road to grow mature in their faith and more like Christ. Yes, we study and memorize Scripture – it is part of the armor of God to help us fight against the evil one. But armor and weapons do not win battles, warriors do. The way we grow closer to God is to seek him, even when it hurts. When we fail, come back to him, dirty and broken, and ask him to forgive us and restore us. Like a child going to school, yes you learn a lot of what you need for life as an adult by studying, but you still must go through the process of growing up. You must fall off your bike and cut your knees. You must experience the betrayal of a friend. You must face your own failures and crimes and own up to them. You must experience your first crush and first heartbreak. You can read about growing up all day long. In fact, it is because youths have access to so much information that they think they know everything, but because of their inexperience and naiveté, they understand almost nothing. 

So, let us stop telling young Christians that the answer to everything is in Scripture. The answers are in God. Scripture is where God chooses to reveal many things, but we still have a practicum called life where we truly grow, and that practicum is much more difficult, but rewarding, than the classroom. So difficult in fact that, without Scripture, the practicum might very well overwhelm us, and we would be doomed to fail. But answers, Joy, and Hope are found in God, not in our study. Live with God. 

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