This is Number 3 of a ten part series counting down. The series begins Here.
Drum roll Please
3. Exalt scripture as to sacred to be of any use.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”
We concluded point 4, with this verse, and it happens to be a good lead in to part 3. It’s entirely possible to exalt scripture (looking righteous), all the while avoiding any actual learning, correction, or training occuring.
As we’ve seen throughout this list, one of the beautiful things about remaining unchanged by scripture is that you can easily manage it all the while looking very serious about scripture indeed. The pinnacle of this is that you can use the very appropriate reverence due the Holy Bible, as a way of never actually reading it. You can do this any number of ways. You can do this by the selection of the Bible you choose to read. Go for a translation, however accurate, which is almost unreadable. The less comprehensible to you personally, the better. In fact, insist on the original Greek and Hebrew, particularly if you are unfamiliar with either of these. Make sure it’s a big book and cumbersome. Make it weighty and impressive, but unhelpful of anything other than sitting on a mantle, gathering dust, or possibly for use in special occasions and family devotionals (as long as these never quite ever happen.) In a world where I carry the entire works of Shakespeare on my phone, where libraries of libraries are at your fingertips on the information superhighway, just make sure you esteem scripture to much to consider reading it from an electronic device. Electronic devices, while good enough for you, are too Holy for God. God is too pure to cohabit with Apple or Droid. (I’m pretty sure Habakkuk said that, or at least it’s what he meant.) Scoff those who always have scripture with them through this means, or even if they carry a simple readable paraphrase or NT only. After all these aren’t the “whole counsel of God” and therefore beneath true reverence for scripture. Once you’ve selected a virtually unreadable version of scripture by these methods, you can also make it more unlikely you will be scathed by scripture by your attitude of separation. The Bible is God’s Word. God is pure and unknowable. Scripture therefore is pure, unknowable and unapproachable. Even if tempted to read such a book, you will be able to deflect most of its power by just avoiding any real thought about it. It’s too glorious for me, you can say, too behind my human intellect. Ironically you can even quote a verse like, Isaiah 55:11
11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. (KJV)
As long as you only take this to mean that the mere presence of God’s word in your house will change you and therefore have no need to study, read, apply, believe, or even understand the actual text, you can seemingly defy the truth of this verse.
When I see a Bible well cared for, never marred, spine unbroken, looking as well preserved as the day it was bought ten years before, I know I stand in the presence of someone truly untouched by the Power of scripture to change lives. On the other hand, when I see a man or woman whose Bible is marred from use, crumpled, written in, torn pages, seemingly treated as a favorite book, rather than a sacred text, then I know I have found someone truly lost to the power of scripture’s mind and life changing power.