What is your view of the Bible? How do you perceive it?
These are important questions to ask because our perception of the Bible can determine how we read it and what we receive form it. There are various ways that Christians view the Bible:
Some see the Bible primarily as a list of “do’s and don’ts.” We forget that the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is the one they were not supposed to eat from. In other words, a list of rules and regulations was not God’s original design for mankind to live by, and it was not His initial way of relating to us.
The purpose of the Law is to bring us to Jesus, that we may be saved His grace, changed on the inside, and empowered by the Holy Spirit. We need commands and we need guidelines. But this is not the ultimate way to see the Scriptures.
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
It is clear from this passage that the Bible is the source of sound doctrine. It is inspired by God, and it is our foundation for truth.
But I believe that we will miss the mark if we only see the Scriptures as a set of doctrines to believe. While sound doctrine is very important, by itself it is lifeless. Much like the human skeletal system, proper doctrine provides the structure for life to exist; but it is not the life itself.
Others see the Bible as a group of promises that must be dug out, claimed, and received. You find a promise that fits your need and circumstances, and then you pray and declare that promise until it manifests in your life.
It is true, the Bible is full of “great and precious promises” (2 Peter 1:4) and we must learn to appropriate them by faith. But this is not the whole of the purpose for God’s Word.
What each of these three perspectives is missing is the proper context: relationship. While all of them are valid and necessary, they must not be separated from the ultimate theme of Scripture: God’s love for mankind and His desire for relationship with us.
The Bible is God’s love story. It is about His relentless pursuit of the people He created; a people who have turned their backs on Him and who constantly push Him aside. It is a story of redemption and reconciliation; a story of God’s ultimate sacrifice in order that we might be restored to Him.
So as you read the Bible, don’t forget that it is all about relationship. If time in the Word does not ultimately lead to encounter with God we are missing the point. Follow His guidelines, believe the right doctrine, and claim His promises. But above all else, pursue the knowledge of God!