Thursday, January 24, 2013

Read the Bible to Change?

There is a new saying which I have heard in a few places which goes, "We don't read the Bible to finish, we read the Bible to change." While I agree with the sentiment, I do not think it is quite accurate to say that the goal is change anymore than it is finishing. Sure, we read it to change, but why do we change?

The point of the first part, "we don't read the Bible to finish," is that reading through the Bible is not an end in itself, which is partly true, and partly false. Yes, we do not read the Bible as an end in itself, but neither do we read the Bible for any end outside of itself. We ought to be hungry to read the Bible because in the Bible we see Christ, and then we change in order to show that beauty to those around us and because we see that it is good for us. But it is good for us because it is to be conformed to the likeness of Christ, and we have been made in the image of God and therefore to be like Christ, who is God, is to be like we were made to be.

The second part, "we read the Bible to change," is the part I question most. Yes, when we read the Bible it ought to change us, but that is not quite why we read the Bible. To change up a relatively common question, if you got to heaven, and God was there but you were unchanged, what would it matter? If you are in it for the change itself, you won't get it, if you are in it for God himself, then you will be "changed from one degree of glory to another" because of your love for he who is most glorious. The reason it would matter, is that to be in the presence of the holy God and still fallen would result in a crushing sense of how unholy we are.

This logic works for all sorts of spiritual disciplines. We don't fast to finish, nor for self-improvement, but out of a desire for more of God. We do not pray to pray, nor to get anything, but to seek God's will and his aid, to gain more of God in our lives. To pray that God do something for us, then, is to ask that he show us himself more in us. The goal of preaching, likewise, is to show forth God, and thereby glorify him.

1 comment:

  1. Were you in my Men's group Wednesday? I said almost the same thing then.