Thursday, December 06, 2007

Master Tools

The Bible is a tool.
A great tool.
An awesome and inspiring tool.
But it isn't the reason for life.
It points us to the true Master.
And if you focus too much on the tool and not the wielder of said tool, you have missed the point.

Please don't miss the point.
Rules are helpful and good if used correctly.
But when we make them the standard for everyone to live up to,
we have turned down the Pharisetical road.
Wrong turn.
Jesus didn't say we had to live up to the laws.
He already did that.
We just have to live.
And share that life with others.

19 comments:

Craig said...

I agree that the Bible is a guide (Romans 15:4; 1 Peter 1:19). Especially concerning salvation (2 Timothy 3:15). Matthew 4:4 "But He answered and said 'It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'"

Later in Mathew 22:36-38 "'Teacher which is the great commandment in the law?' Jesus said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and great commandment."

So how does Jesus say we love Him? John 14:15 "If you love Me keep My commandments."

While Jesus' death was the payment for our sins and we could never live by the law doesn't give a person the right to live how they want. I am not saying that is what you think, but if someone overly focuses on God's grace rather than trying to live like Christ, it might cause people to rationalize their sin.

In addition I think what is dangerous when talking about the Bible is when people use it solely for the purpose of academia and not spiritual fulfillment.

Anonymous said...

Greetings,

Oh, but the Bible is far more than "just a tool".

I would suggest, rather declare, that THE BIBLE IS CHRIST. So making GOD’S WORD the focus of the church is not only logical, but the safest and most effective approach to spreading “God’s Word” according to the great commission, which Jesus, himself commanded of us.

John 1:1 “In the beginning was the WORD, and the WORD was WITH God, and the WORD WAS GOD.”

So you see, THE WORD, being the BIBLE is God.

And

Jesus said unto him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? HE WHO HAS SEEN ME HAS SEEN THE FATHER; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? –John 14:9

“For THE WORD OF GOD IS LIVING and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” –Hebrews 4:12

So I stand in agreement with the concept of a BIBLE-DRIVEN CHURCH as oppose to any man-made philosophy or methodology disguised as theology, because Scripture declares that the Bible is the WORD of GOD and that it IS GOD who is JESUS, our CHRIST (Savior).

1 Peter 23-25 “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the LIVING and ENDURING WORD OF GOD. For, “All men [and their man-made methodologies] are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD STANDS FOREVER. And this is the WORD that was preached to you.”

Further if anyone or anything was to be declared a "tool", I would suggest that WE are more the tools who, through our humble surrendering of our flesh and our heart's submission to the Holy Spirit within us are used for the glory of the Kingdom of God.

~Blessings

Roland said...

Craig, I appreciate your comments. Well thought out, and good.
"but if someone overly focuses on God's grace rather than trying to live like Christ, it might cause people to rationalize their sin."
The converse is also true.
If people focus on the commandments overly much, they tend to miss the purpose of the commandments: pointing us to Christ.
Again, thanks. You understand.

Anon,
Um, er, interesting. I appreciate your opinion. It only serves to accentuate my post even further.
Thanks.

Wonder Woman said...

Lost me at tool I'm afraid.

Head in gutter...

Be back later ;) Maybe!

Pablo said...

The word of God is not God. The Bible didn't die on the cross of Calvary to atone for our sins. We are not to worship the bible.

Timm said...

No Pablo, we are not to worship the Bible. But the Bible is God's word which tells us how he would like us to worship him.

I agree with the original premis of this discussion. God is more important than the Bible itself, but We need to cherish the Bible, because it is the way that God chose to reveal himself to us. It represents God. Admit that God is more important, but at the same time, we shouldn't diminish the imporatance of the Word.

Roland said...

Timm,
Did Pablo say that?

And we seem to be having a problem with the word, word.
Let's try to clear something up.
When the Bible says Word (notice the caps), it is another word for Christ.
When we talk about the Word, we are talking about Christ. Personally. It's Him.
When we talk about the word of scripture (notice the lack of caps), we are talking about the things of Christ. Not Christ personally.

In Jn 1, the Word became flesh.
Not, the word became flesh.

God became human.
Scriptures did not.
The scriptures are part of who God is.
And we can read of God in the scriptures.
But God isn't part of the scriptures.

That is where anon took a wrong turn. Down the legalistic path. The wrong way.
The whole purpose of the Bible is to help us to be more like Christ.
The purpose of Christ isn't to help us be more like the Bible.
Although I can see someone getting confused about it.
Christ > Bible.
The Bible is helpful, and I personally wouldn't want to live without it. But John 5:39-40, which records the words of Christ so eloquently, tells us:
"You have your heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you'll find eternal life there. But you miss the forest for the trees. These Scriptures are all about me! And here I am, standing right before you, and you aren't willing to receive from me the life you say you want." - The Message

Timm said...

did Pablo say what? What do you think that I think that Pablo said? I'm confused.

We are actually on the same page here Roland. We need to Worship God. God is more important than the Bible. I'm just trying to make sure that in the course of this discussion, someone else reading it doesn't get the idea that the Bible is not important.

The Bible is good and profitable and valuable for establishing doctrine. The Bible is also the Written account of God's revelation to Man kind. It is the way that God chose to communicate with us. God first, but I don't want to give anyone the impression that the Bible is not a major part of what we believe.

Roland said...

Timm, you wrote, "No Pablo, we are not to worship the Bible. But..."
Right after Pablo's comment. You may not have intended it that way, but it did look like you were thinking he might be going the complete opposite direction.
If that wasn't you intention, I'm sorry for misunderstanding. The contrast just made it seem more glaring to me.

And you're right about the Bible, Timm. Without it, I wouldn't as close to Christ as I am today. Of course, I can blame that on pastors, teachers and others in my life who help me to grow.
Thanks Timm. Your insights are appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Greetings,

Thank you for considering the Scriptures, which I shared earlier with you.

It is my heart's desire that you would also consider the following:

*Bible = Word of God
*Word of God = God's attributes (Some) revealed
*God's attributes = God

Therefore, the Bible, being the word of God, revealing (some) of His attributes, reveals (some, obviously not all) of our God to us, according to His will.

Just because God has chosen to reveal only a portion of Himself to us through His word does not make His word any less whom he is.

Please consider: If I were to cut off my arm and reveal it to you, I could still, very much claim that my arm is indeed me. Just because I am choosing to reveal only a portion of myself (My arm) to you does not make my arm any less me. I am simply choosing to hold off revealing the rest of myself, according to my will.

Likewise, God has revealed a bit of himself to the world through the Bible, which is, His Word and no other's.

Scripture (God's word) declares “…out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” --Matthew 12:34(b)

Therefore, according to Matthew 12:34, my words represent mine own attributes found within my very heart. My words reveal the essence of my very being. This means that my spoken or written words are who I am, even though they represent only a portion of my total self. You are seeing a bit of me within this very post. I have seen a bit of you within your own posts.

Likewise, God being holy and capable of nothing evil speaks from a heart of unfathomable perfection, revealing himself to us according to his good and perfect will through the Holy Bible.

This is why “I Love the Word,” because the Word is my Lord, revealed, even though it is only a bit of Him. I long to see his face, to know him more, but for now I must be content with those attributes, which our Father has chosen, according to his good and perfect will to reveal to me, to us through his word, recorded for us within the confines of what we know as the Holy Bible.

Further: Sorry to be posting as anonymous. I do not have a google account. ~elaina

Anonymous said...

I see that I failed to address your sharing of Matthew 5:39

This is a most wonderful Scripture. Here, Jesus is telling those who studied both rabbinic and mystical strands of Judaism that even though they have had their noses buried in Scripture and they THINK they have an understanding of who the Messiah will be when he comes along... They have failed to see Him standing right before their very eyes. Shocking!

This tells us that some people can read the Bible, being the word of God, and see merely words, thinking themselves to be wise. But it is the Spirit, by the grace of God, which is given "eyes to see" and understand truth.

Clearly, as Jesus stood before these "great thinkers" who proudly waved their tassels within the crowds had spirits which failed to recognize their Savior whom they had been "reading" about all along.

Perhaps it would be helpful to read the entire chapter of Matthew 5. :-)

~elaina

Roland said...

Elaina,
"Thank you for considering the Scriptures, which I shared earlier with you"
- It isn't like they were neglected when I made my point in the first place. Did you think your pointing them out, did something?

I'm thinking you need to actually read the 7th comment on this post. Read it. Really.

And I'm thinking that when you reference Matt 5, you mean John 5.
Since you want to go that way, let's try this:
Is there any command of God you don't keep?
Why not?
Eating shellfish? Eating pork/ham/bacon? Being kosher in your meal preparations? Making monthly, daily, yearly offerings?
Or did something fundamental in our relationship with God change?
Instead of being servants bound to the law, are we not now friends, set free from the law which brings death, and bound to Christ who gives life?
In case you want a further explanation, read what Paul wrote in Romans. (I'll let you find the chapter) ;)

I appreciate what your saying Elaina, but Word and word are different. I know I need to make a post on it, but I want to take my time to explain it as best as I can when I do.
Thanks for stopping by. It makes me realize that we all have places in which to grow.

Anonymous said...

Good morning.

Indeed, I did mean to reference the book of John chapter 5, verses 30 and 40. I am not sure why when it came down to actually typing that I typed Matthew instead. I was reading a lot last night and my fingers must have become tangled up. :)

I am failing to understand where you are arriving at a point of legalism. Is it simply because I have reference some Old Testament verses? That is hardly a reason to suggest that a person is declaring that we are still living under the law, for the Scriptures Old and New are to be considered in their entire context.

It seems that you are failing to understand the context of the Scriptures I am referencing and also the context in which I have been sharing. I will attribute some of this misunderstanding to the fact that we are sharing only words and not one another's presence which might shed a little more insight as to each other's intentions behind our words.

Nevertheless since you have more than suggested that I am saying we are still living under the law, please allow me to take a moment and clarify my stance on that and then I will get back to the topic, which you began in this thread.

I firmly believe that we are now living under grace according to the lamb that was slain, who was our once and for all atonement for sins, and I do not believe that I have endorsed or suggested that we are still living under the law of the Old Testament.

On you said: "It isn't like they were neglected when I made my point in the first place. Did you think your pointing them out, did something?"

When I thanked you for considering the Scriptures, which I shared with you in the beginning, I meant that sincerely. It is evident, however, by your last post and the words you have chosen that you are somewhat resentful of my having shared at all.

Therefore, let me take leave, as it seems that this conversation has entered into a realm of fruitlessness. For that I am sorry and sad.

My sincerest blessings upon you and yours.

~elaina

Roland said...

Elaina,

If I misunderstood you, I apologize. I had not meant to offend.

To be honest, there have been too many people lately that I have been talking and writing with that have made me defensive.

Your one comment listed this specifically which raised all kinds of flags.
"*Bible = Word of God"

That isn't true. The second statement is. The reason I am having trouble with this is Jn 1. I have begun to notice that some think that "Word of God" = scriptures. It does not. It isn't mincing hairs. It is important to know the difference. (sigh)
"Word of God" = Christ
"word of God" = scriptures

As I said, I really want to get into this. Do you have footnotes in your Bible? Do they list what Logos signifies with the caps? It would be easier that way.

Again, I apologize for my rudeness. As any other forgiven sinner, I still make mistakes. I hope that you can forgive me as well.

Wonder Woman said...

Similar to a penis.

Tools are needed.

Or are they just tools?

I would dare to argue they're in fact MORE than a tool...

Timm said...

Sorry Roland.

I was re-stating what Pablo said to show that I agree with him. (unsuccesfully obviously.) He's right, we are not to worship the bible. I was just further clarifying the point.

Wonder Woman,
If there is one thing that you're VERY Good at, It's lightening the mood.

Roland said...

I understand that now, Timm. Thanks.
And yes, WW is good at being completely off topic and yet not stray so far that you can't get what she is saying.

Anonymous said...

The main purpose of the Bible is to show us that we cannot follow the commmandments of God. That God's eternal wrath is upon us as we are all sinners, but in His mercy he provided the one and only way to be right with Him. The way is His Son, Jesus, the Christ who paid our sin debt on the cross, died, and rose from the dead. But each person must personally repent (turn from sin) and trust in Jesus alone.
After you repent and believe the gospel, God will grant you eternal life and His Holy Spirit will indwell you and enable you to live a Godly life.

In Christ,
Linda

Roland said...

Linda,
Yes. It is also a love letter from God.
I repent and turn and my love for my Savior grows.
The tool is great, but God is greater.