I have been thinking about the role of Scripture within the framework of faith. One doesn’t have to search far within cyber space to find discussions and discussions and arguments and disagreements about the nature and place of Scripture within the Christian faith.
I don’t want to engage today with those critical discussions; rather my intent is to throw out some of my own thoughts about the nature of Scripture and the place it has in my own life of faith. Some of these thoughts I have thought long and hard about. Others are more of a Ok!…I need to think more about this.
The first point I want to make is that I did not come to faith because of Scripture. I came to faith because of Christ. I came to faith because of God. I came to faith because of the work of the Holy Spirit. I came to faith through and because of the God who existed before the creation of all things, who created and worked to reconcile his creation to him.
Therefore, my relationship with God, through Christ, in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit is outside the Bible. The early church and Christians didn’t have a Bible. They had a living and dynamic relationship with God, in Christ through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. And in the same way, my walk with God, my walk in Christ, my walk in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit is the same.
However, my faith is shaped by the Scriptures. My knowledge of God is shaped through the Scriptures. By knowledge, I mean a factual knowledge – rather then I do a personal knowledge. The danger of factual knowledge is that I can know much about a president or a king or queen, but I don’t actually personally know them. Yet the reverse can also be true – I could know these people personally, but not know a great deal of facts about them and my only knowledge of them is shaped from my personal experience and engagement with them.
The Scriptures tell the story of many others whose lives were shaped by faith and the experience of others. And within this regard, my faith is shaped by their experience and journey of life. BUT! and this is a big BUT! My faith is also shaped by personal experience. For true Christian faith must also be shaped through personal experience.
We are a people in whom the Spirit of God dwells. This is a experiential fact. It’s not a fact that has little or no bearing on our experience of God. We don’t just read this in the Scriptures and go – Oh! That is nice! We actually experience God dwelling within, working over and through us. Both in a individual and communal basis. We experience God leading us to pray for each other, to encourage each other, to provide for each other. We experience God through his answering our prayers and the prayers of each other. And we experience God’s spirit helping us to understand his word.
We experience God when we use and share the gifts that he has given us to use as individuals and within the communal setting. We experience God when we look at all of creation which speaks of the Glory of God. And we experience God when we become born again. Washed clean, transformed and renewed.
I’d like to conclude with a quote that I heard a Bible teacher say many years ago.
All Spirit we blow up. All Scripture we dry up. A 100% of both, we grow up.