I know I am busy with a series on deliverance and stuff but just want to interject with this. I think I have known what I am about to say for a while, but I haven’t had a clear picture of how to explain it properly. So here goes.
As far as I know, the bible never calls itself the ‘Word of God’. It makes lots of references to the Word of God but in actuality Jesus is the Word of God. The bible is a book written about Jesus. The bible is not Jesus. Jesus is not the bible.
I often joke and say that in modern Christianity it seems more like Father, Son and Holy Scriptures than Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Of course the bible is useful and valuable, I am not trying to make light of that. But it is not Jesus. It has a a truck load of information in it about Jesus, but the book by itself is lifeless (John 5:39). So why do we read it?
Many read it thinking that is how they will get to know Jesus. Personally, I don’t read the bible to get to know Jesus. I read the bible because I know Jesus.
How many of you read Steve Jobs’ biography after he passed away? I know I didn’t. But I know millions of others did. How many of those who read his biography got to know Steve Jobs better? I would say zero. There are two groups of people who read his biography. Those who already knew him, and those who didn’t know him. Those who knew him didn’t read it to get to know him and those who didn’t know him still didn’t know him after reading it, they just knew a little bit more about him. It is impossible to get to know a person because you read a book about them.
Now if you read the bible trying to get to know Jesus, you might end up in religion because you will extrapolate what you believe you should do in order to know Him. You will read passages like ‘They will know that you know Me and are my disciples because of your love for each other” and come off thinking, “In order to prove that I know Jesus I must love people. If I don’t love, I don’t know Jesus.” Boom. Religion City. You’ve just turned loving people into a works-based self-righteous act to prove how much you know and love Jesus.
But if you read the bible already in relationship with Jesus, already knowing Him, you won’t see a set of rules and regulations to keep to get to know a person you already know, or a how-to-guide to prove you really do love and know Him. You either know Him or you don’t. If you do know Him, you can learn things about Him by reading the book. But you can’t get to know Him by merely knowing more about Him.
If the Bible is difficult for you to read, stop reading it with the goal of trying to get to know Jesus because it just won’t work. Start by talking to Jesus and forming a relationship. The bible will find it’s place once you get to know each other better. If you are a new believer, actually, especially if you’re a new believer, I want to say don’t read the bible and until Holy Spirit tells you too. Get to know Jesus first. Talk to Him, share things with Him, be yourself. Listen. Communicate. Learn. Build a relationship. Then when you are ready, start reading the bible when Holy Spirit tells you to.
I can not begin to describe the depth to which my relationship with Jesus has grown since I stopped reading the bible trying to get to know him. I still read the bible almost every day. But the bible is no longer the middle man between Jesus and me. If all the bibles in the entire world had to be burned tomorrow, I would not bat an eyelid or worry in the least. Don’t let anything separate you from Jesus, not even the bible.
Grace and Peace!