I’ve seen a number of promotions on Facebook lately for a new Bible study by Zach Windahl. This study caught my attention because a) I’m a book hoarder; and b) I love seeing new Bible studies and resources come out that help people deepen their faith and strengthen their pursuit of the Lord.
However, as I considered this new addition to my personal library and watched a couple promo videos for this product, there were a few things that seemed fundamentally out of place.
I have not actually utilized this Bible study yet, therefore my opinion of it is solely based on how it was marketed to it’s audience. However, there were some overarching themes that stood out to me which I’ve noticed more and more frequently, primarily among young adult groups.
As he describes his new Bible study, Windahl explains that it is “a one-year Bible Study that focuses on how each book relates to your life.”
With a primary focus of revealing how the Bible relates to our lives – 21st century American millennials – I fear this study might fall severely short of the purpose for which the Bible was originally intended, which is to reveal the glory of Jesus Christ crucified, buried, and raised to life by the infinite wisdom and loving power of God Almighty.
It is the human nature to be self-consumed and self-aware, even as we read the Bible. We presume upon an authority that does not belong to us; that is, we believe that we have the right and the ability to alter, change, or redefine something, in this case, the Word of God, to fit our preferences.
If we approach the infallible Word of God in this manner, it is near unavoidable that our self-bent nature will attempt to alter, change, and/or redefine the truths of Scripture to justify our cause rather than convict and to only encourage rather than challenge.
Ben Schapiro discerningly points out during a political debate that “facts are often being trumped by what we wish were facts in order to push certain [political] agendas.”
Though this point was made to address a political debate, I think it is relatable to all facets of life, including faith and Christianity. We presume upon the Word of God, disregarding truths that make us uncomfortable and believing that in order for the Bible to be considered valid, it must first and foremost relate to us…today…in 21st century America…as if that were its primary objective.
It is important that we approach the Bible in an appropriate manner and handle it responsibly. The Word of God is not something that shifts and changes over time. Rather, it remains timeless; enduring forever despite the ever-changing, ever-elusive nature of society (ref. Numbers 23:19; Hebrews 13:8; James 1:17, NIV).
“The Bible, from beginning to end, is a shameless and glorious declaration of the nature and character of God before it says anything about who we are.” – Jen Wilkin
I have nothing against resources and supplemental guides that help us study the Bible. While the Bible is first and foremost a book about God, it is also a book that reveals God’s love for us. Therefore it is important to see how such a love relates to and changes us. However, when our desire for personal revelation and ‘relatability’ trumps our desire to know the God of our fathers, we have just identified the Bible as a means to our own self-awareness.
fear of discomfort.
As he continues promoting his new resource, Windahl addresses the issue of how difficult the Bible is to read, especially for younger generations.
“A lot of people struggle reading the Bible,” Windahl says, “because let’s be honest, it can be tough reading such a big book; especially if you don’t know how to make it personal.”
Yes! To be quite honest, I can relate to this and say that I struggle reading the Bible for these exact reasons. It’s tough; it’s a big book; what’s up with Leviticus; and seriously, is KJV even English?
However, it is the struggle that often yields the greatest reward.
Something that I believe this generation has lost is the ability to sit in the struggle; to dwell in the uncertainty; to be at peace in the questioning. Simply put, we hate not knowing.
But it’s the moments of struggle; the seasons of uncertainty; and the times where we seem to have so many questions that ultimately yield the strongest resolve; the deepest trust; and the most profound answers when it comes to faith in Jesus Christ.
And so it should be when reading the Bible.
Yes – you might read through the book of Deuteronomy for the first time and wonder what on earth it has to do with anything, but if we truly believe that ‘all Scripture is God-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness…’ (2 Timothy 3:16, NIV), then we know that even the laws of Deuteronomy, the genealogies of Leviticus, the judgment of Judges, the beauty of Genesis, and the astounding love of the Gospels all speak to the glory of Jesus Christ and are profitable for our growth, refinement, and sanctification.
Yet, we run from this. We set aside the incredible opportunity to grow from the struggle and discomfort for the immediate yet temporary remedy of quick answers and supplemental materials.
Now please, don’t hear me wrong…Bible studies are not a bad thing. In fact, they are incredibly good and certainly beneficial.
They are not, however, foundational.
We lose a sense of the raw, ‘brick and mortar,’ foundational truths of the Bible when we lather them with topical studies and additional resources before first allowing ourselves to get lost and confused in His Word, which will eventually allow us to experience the grace of revelation by the Holy Spirit as His Word comes to life (ref. Hebrews 4:12; Isaiah 40:8; Psalm 119:130; Proverbs 3:2, NIV).
As followers of Christ and students of Scripture, we must daily return to the Supremacy of God’s Word.
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The Supremacy of God’s Word -Part II, Coming Monday, November 12.
In Part II of this two-part series on the Supremacy of God’s Word, I will be addressing the issue of having a mindset of ‘The Bible and…’; a mindset that believes that the Bible can only change your life if it is coupled with other experiences and encounters. Additionally, I’ll be addressing the rising tendency towards The Instagram Bible; believing that the Bible only consists of passages that are ‘instagramable.’