I am currently rereading E Stanely Jones‘ The Way. It is one of my favourite devotionals and I find myself coming back to it time and time again. This week I am working through a section where Jones talks about Jesus as being greater than the Bible, greater than the Ten Commandments, greater than the Creeds, and even greater than faith itself. It is a challenging and thought provoking series of devotionals.
Jesus is greater than the Bible, there is only one mediator, ( 1 Tim 2:5) and one way to God. All scripture, all creeds, all revelation must be viewed and judged through the filter of Jesus Christ – his life, death and resurrection. Eternal life is not in the pages of the Bible, it is in Christ who is uncovered through the scriptrues. The Word is not made printer’s ink, says Jones, The Word was made flesh, not a page buta person.
It is true that we would know little about Christ if it were not for the Bible. The Old Testament is the period of preparation for Christ, the New Testament is the revelation of Christ. We need to remember however that the New Testament is the report of various people’s impressions of Jesus, it is not Jesus himself. Yes it is divinely inspired and it has caught the essential meaning of who Christ is but as Jones says: we always have the feeling that they were trying to tell the untellable and express the inexpressible.
All of life is an ongoing revelation of Christ. We see him revealed in the face of friend and stranger. We see his presence in God’s wonderful creation. We see his miracles in our daily provision, in our healing from illnesses and more than anything in loving acts towards one another. He existed before the Bible was written. His presence fills all things, and holds all creation together (Colossians 1:15-20). It is good for us to remember this and give thanks.
Living Christ I give you thanks for what you reveal,
Something fresh each morning, something new each evening.
You are a constant surprise to me,
I hold my breath as new things unfold in every moment,
My soul tingles with expectancy and I thank you.
I would love to know your thoughts on this.
You’re so right. I’m finding myself concentrating more and more on the Spirit of the word rather than the literal words and sentences themselves. After years of picking apart word meanings and origins and translation differences, I’m discovering a surprising freshness in my faith as I read the bible as an amazing true story. A whole, rhythmic, flowing narrative that my out-of-context, point by point verse extractions can rudely interrupt. I’m learning to absorb its beauty rather than try to explain it. A wonderful post, thank you!
The Bible, for me, is a signpost, something pointing to something greater than itself. It is not an end. It is not a stolid, static definition of who God is. It is not god-in-a-box. It is a story in several acts, in which we are all writing the final scenes through our lives and the way we live them. I try to hold this beautiful, living thing tenderly, loosely … not tearing it into tiny little proof-text shreds but letting the breath of God breathe through it into my life … not so much through the black (and red) letters as through the white matrix in which they are immersed. I could go on … and did … here: https://sites.google.com/site/holyhugs/god-in-a-box
Thanks Jim. I think that we are very much on the same page
Christine, I feel the same. Switching metaphors, I feel like we are feasting at the same banquet table while others around us are too busy arguing about the menu to eat. As Barbara Brown Taylor wrote in “An Altar in the World” — “Who wants to study a menu when you can eat a meal?” Salut!
I love An Altar in the World and agree with those sentiments exactly. I think our faith has little chance to grow when we do not constantly have our eyes and ears open to see the unfolding revelation of God