Friday, August 24, 2012


Have you ever heard someone say, "don't make the Bible your idol?"  Where exactly does this idea of bibliolatry come from?
I wouldn't say that the accusation of bibliolatry comes from having a high view of scripture or even "sola scriptura"; I'd say bibliolatry occurs when people hold reading the Bible and doing what it says over coming to Jesus Christ. 
That's what Jesus accuses the Pharisees of doing in John 5:39 (You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.
John 17:3 says, "This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent."
There are going to be a lot of people who know their Bible really well and even followed it really well, except for the coming to Jesus part, who don't make it in the end; I mean even Satan knows the scriptures. And vice versa, there will be many who make it who never picked up the book like the thief on the cross or those who come to Jesus on their death bed, not to mention all the patriarchs that predate Moses who had no scriptures whatsoever. The key is knowing God not necessarily the Bible.
I do believe the Bible is 100% authoritative for instruction and correction but only because of who the Author is, but in order to know the Author's intent, we need to know the Author, otherwise we end up with all kinds of wild interpretations. "But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God." 1 Peter 1:20-21
And it's the Holy Spirit that teaches us what the scriptures mean: "when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. (John 16:13-14)
Private interpretations without the Holy Spirit's input lead to bibliolatry because they lead people to serve a god of their own invention rather than the one true God, which we can label as whatever -olatry we want, but ultimately it is what all idolatry is. 
Whether it's done with the Bible, a translation, a theology, some other religion's scriptures, or a block of wood, I don't see any difference. No one comes to the Father except through Christ Jesus. And if studying the Bible doesn't bring us to Him, and through Him the Father, daily in repentance and worship because of the Spirit's instruction, then we've elevated the Bible beyond it's intention.

This article was written in discussion with Aaron Armstrong's article My Bible . . . My Idol?  He has some great insight and questions that he raises on this issue, and I encourage you to read it as well.

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