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Bibliolatry – the Bible as an end in itself

By Dave Henning / February 9, 2018

“There is a very subtle form of idolatry called bibliolatry.  It involves treating the Bible as an end in itself instead of a means to an end.”- Mark Batterson

In Chapter 5 (“The Key of Keys”) of Whisper, Mark Batterson discusses the first love language – Scripture.  He notes the challenge the Bible, the inspired Word of God, faces in our culture.  For our modern society chooses to elevate tolerance above truth.  Hence, Pastor Batterson explains the consequences:

“When truth is sacrificed on the altar of tolerance, it might seem as though everybody winds, but in reality everybody loses.  God calls us to a higher standard than tolerance.  It’s called truth, and it’s always coupled with grace.  Grace means I’ll love you no matter what.  Truth means I’ll be honest with you no matter what.” (emphasis Mark’s)

Among all books, Mark underscores, the Bible falls into a category of its own.  At least two things make the Bible absolutely unique:

  1. The Bible’s “living and active (Hebrews 4:12).”  Thus, Pastor Batterson notes, we don’t simply read the Bible to gain knowledge.  After all, Mark reminds us, “knowledge puffs up (1 Corinthians 8:1).”  In addition, the Bible reads us.  As we read Scripture, we inhale what the Holy Spirit exhaled thousands of years ago.
  2. We never get to the bottom of the Bible.  According to rabbinic tradition, the author states, every word of Scripture consists of seventy faces and six hundred thousand meanings – like a kaleidoscope.  Therefore, no matter how many times we read the Bible, it never gets old.  It’s timeless as well as timely.  Furthermore, a well-used Bible testifies to a well-lived life.

In conclusion, the goal of reading the Bible isn’t just acquiring Bible knowledge.  Most noteworthy, the goal involves learning to recognize and respond to the voice of your heavenly Father.  That’s so you grow in intimacy with Him.  Thus, Mark offers a serious equation: Holy Scripture – Holy Spirit = bibliolatry.  Taking the Holy Spirit out of the equation leaves us with the letter of the law, Mark asserts.

The quickening of the Holy Spirit means the difference between information and transformation.

Today’s question: How do you avoid bibliolatry so you grow in intimacy with Christ?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Get into God’s Word – so His Word gets into you”

About the author

Dave Henning


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