This is imprinted on the Genuine Leather cover and spine of most Bible’s you’ve ever picked up. It’s so ingrained (pardon the pun) that there is a good chance you’ve taken for granted what exactly that might mean, or why it’s there?
On the surface, it makes sense, as we tend to attribute all things associated with the Divine as “Holy.” But I am wondering if we misunderstand this? Is there a point where we misuse this term or idea? How should we approach the Bible with regard to it’s holiness?
- specially declared sacred by religious use or authority; consecrated: holy ground.
- dedicated or devoted to the service of God, the church, or religion: a holy man.
- saintly; godly; pious; devout: a holy life.
- having a spiritually pure quality: a holy love.
- entitled to worship or veneration as or as if sacred: a holy relic.
In looking at the definitions of Holy, it’s almost as if the Bible does not fit, at least too well. In fact, these definitions support the query I am exploring here. Can something be declared sacred and consecrated, to the point where it becomes worshipped and venerated? Is this ok?
I believe the answer is yes, unequivocally. And, it depends.
Is it ok to view the Bible with reverence? With appreciation? With love? With respect? Yes.
Is it ok to worship the Bible? No. That is idolatry.
And this is where I get torqued up about the idea of the “Holy” Bible. We worship it, above the Purpose and the Person it has been given to reveal – Which are the source and fullness of “Holy” – and all-deserving of such a praise.
I want to be clear. I love the Bible. I am thankful for it. I believe it is inspired by the Divine, is profitable for His people, is relevant and revelatory. It is my favorite Book of all time. I see revealed in it’s words the narrative of God’s eternal plan of love and of the reality of His Kingdom. I see in it’s pages the Person of Christ and His indwelling Lordship of my Life, and Headship of His Body. I see the Gospel of the Kingdom. In this sense I think the Scriptures are Holy. This holiness is rooted in the revelation of the grand narrative of God the Father’s Ultimate Intention, and of Jesus the Son as Lord – all inspired by, and testified to as Truth by The Spirit, Holy. But holiness is lost when this text itself is set as loftier than These.
This happens, a lot, and is maddening.
Have you ever thought about the Bible? Really thought about it?
40 authors. 1400 years between authors – yet all of eternal history covered. 66 books. 2000 years since the last author lived.
The remarkable way that this collection of people, over that period of time would all testify to the Truth – is awe inspiring. It truly is worth respecting. It is worth worshipping the Author Himself.
But the way the Bible is approached today so often waters down that which is worth worship. We translate. We paraphrase. We dissect. We look for root word meanings. We hunt for historical context. We take a document that is just over 400 years old in our language and try to make Eternal Truth fit into our understanding.
We make the Bible about whether a man of God should “pisseth against a wall” or not, and if doing or not doing so determines God’s favor on America. (Seriously, take 4 minutes and watch this. And then pray for him, and his hearers).
All of this is good. (Well, the pisseth part is definitely NOT good). But too often this is done to “know the Bible more,” rather than to allow the Holy Spirit to testify to the revelation of Christ and the Purpose of a Holy God to be known. This has caused much blood to be spilled. This has torn apart families. This has been the banner flown proudly above many a crusade. This has divided.
This has weakened the Body of Christ.
Oh that we would see that our Father, His Son and the Holy Spirit are much bigger than even the inspired words They have given to point us toward Them.
The Kingdom of God cannot be contained in the pages of your Bible. The Kingdom of God lives in you. And me. And in eternity beyond time and space.
It is possible to receive this Kingdom and It’s King and never open the Bible, ya’ll. When the Bible is opened, it is received as confirmation of what is already true about this King and His Kingdom.
It is possible to meet Jesus Christ without ever seeing, touching or reading Scripture – because He is all, and is in all.
I can’t trust a text that leaves no room to question or doubt or not believe something because there is the word “Holy” on it’s cover. I can’t receive a Lord that won’t allow me to wrestle with Him, to challenge and be challenged – to be shaped and transformed – because the book He gave “says…”
How many remain shackled, never approaching Freedom, because they are in bondage to something they have heard, been told, read into or perceive the Bible “says“?
I am not challenging the Bible. I am challenging a mindset about the Bible and the hinderance that mindset imposes on the Purpose and the Person the Bible intends to point us to.
So much effort is spent on driving Christians to be in the Word more, to read their Bible’s more, to study the Bible… You know what? Some of you… Some of you need to put your Bible down. You need to walk away. Take a break. Look for and find God’s Word (Jesus Christ) in nature, people, rest, quiet. Learn to hear His Voice apart from the words in your Bible.
There is Holiness there.
Then, you can come back to these words, this Bible, with new eyes, fresh eyes, eyes that have been opened, eyes that see not with natural sight, but eyes of the heart. These eyes will revel in the unsearchable riches of Christ found in the pages of Scripture. These eyes will see from a heart that is less concerned with being an expert in holiness, an expert in the Bible – and instead delight in and Live out of True Holiness Indwelling.
These eyes will read and see and write new “Truth” being Authored today – in you, in me, in us, in eternity – as we see, declare and Live the Life of Christ – and as the Spirit testifies to such infallible Truth – even outside the pages of Scripture.
The Bible is nothing more than ink on a page. It is simply a collection of words. It is history. It is poetry. It is literature and letters. But when the Spirit reveals the Purpose of God and the Person of Jesus through the ink, in the words, as both our history and our future (our eternity), as a Poem and a Letter of Love – the Bible is more…
…Then… It is Holy.
What do you think? I want to hear your heart.