The Bible is not just an instruction manual. I think this is one way we debase God’s truth and make it powerless in the modern world. We often refer to the Bible as God’s manual for Marriage, Business, Relationships, Work, Politics, etc. And then we search out scripture passages which apply to these areas. This approach is rather pragmatic and utilitarian. We go to the scripture because of the ‘benefit’ or ‘utility’ we hope to derive from it. It is like a man going into a fast food store because he wants some snacks. He places his order, collects his package, and walks away. He is done; he has met his need. All through, the man was in control.
The Bible as God’s word to us rightly seeks to master and rule us. It is not a sourcebook for practical tips on life; it is our very life. It is not, first of all, a reference book on the issues of life; it is a book to live on. It is God’s interpretation of reality, and as such our entire lives depend on it.
The Bible gives us a picture of the world; it tells us a comprehensive story about reality, our world, and ourselves. And we are then able to understand the different spheres of life within this worldview.
The Bible is God’s word to us. It comes to us with authority. We come to it not because we need it to solve a particular pressing problem or find some ‘wisdom’ for some aspect of our lives, but because we must heed the voice of our Maker and our King.
It has come to us out of God’s love and concern for us, no doubt. Nevertheless, it comes with divine command from the King of the universe. “This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth”, was the instruction to the Jewish military leader, Joshua, centuries ago. And it remains the directive for us in the twenty-first century.
The Bible is not the best among books; it is the Book which interprets all others. It is not a tablet to be taken when we are ill, it is the bread of life on which we must feed lest we die. It is not a collection of practical tips; it is the word of a King to his human subjects. We read and meditate on it not because it is helpful or useful (though it is), but because it is necessary. Blinded by sin, deceived by Satan, and misled by the world, the Bible is our only guide to Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.
In the Bible, God speaks to us – who are we not to listen?