The Bible is not enough.
Wait, what?! Is that a typo? That can’t be what I meant to type was it? I mean, that sounds like heresy doesn’t it? It feels like I’m being a bad Christian just by typing it. And yet…it’s true. The Bible is not enough for our lives.
Before you click away and curse me as being from the devil, perhaps I should offer a little context. And also point out that I’m only saying this because Jesus said it. I promise you, this isn’t my idea. Jesus once had a conversation with the Pharisees and essentially what he told them was that the Scriptures weren’t enough. See for yourself.
The Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you possess eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. John 5:37-40
Jesus says they don’t know the Father. Yes they do study the Scriptures. Yes they do know what the words of God are. But no, they don’t know the Father. They don’t hear his voice. God’s word does not dwell in them. Because they think that eternal life, God kind of Life, is found in the Scriptures. But it’s not. Life comes from Jesus. The Scriptures—the Bible—a part from Jesus just aren’t enough.
I think sometimes in our Christian cultures we tend to forget this. It’s not that we don’t believe in Jesus or look to him. But sometimes I think we can forget that just putting in our time everyday reading our Bible is a dead practice if we aren’t living our lives with Jesus. It’s just not enough to spend time reading the Word if we aren’t learning to live in relationship with Jesus.
The Bible is powerful and life changing because Jesus is the one changing our hearts and making us new. The Bible has wisdom we can discern because the Spirit of Jesus is within us teaching and reminding, leading and correcting.
If we aren’t drawn to read Scripture, or we find it an unfulfilling and empty process perhaps the problem is not the Bible. Maybe it’s our relationship with Jesus. If we are not daily coming to him to have life we may find the Bible somewhat lifeless.
May we come today, not just to the Bible, but to the one the Bible testifies about. May we remember that Jesus is the one who gives life, and that the Bible simply turns us back to him. The Bible is wonderful and invaluable, but really only has power within Jesus. He is the one who has life. Without him, the Bible is just words about life, not the life itself.