Monthly Archives: January 2013

Bibliolatry

Bible on high
The second commandment says, “thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image” (Ex. 20:4). It’s a prohibition against idolatry. An idol is anything that we worship other than God, or anything that takes God’s rightful place in our lives. In biblical times idols were mostly statues. Today they’re usually not. We can turn anything into an idol, even good things like theology or the Bible itself. When we are so committed to a doctrine, theory, or ideology that we judge everything else by it, then it has become an idol. Systems of thought can be guides to point us to the truth. They are not absolute truth themselves. Even the Bible, which I believe is the product of divine inspiration, is a guide to point us to the truth. As precious as the Bible is, it’s a means to an end. It’s not an end in itself. That’s why we worship God and not the Bible. Worshiping the Bible is a form of idolatry. It’s Bibliolatry.

The Bible is inspired by God, but do we know what that means? The word “inspire” means “to breathe into.” God breathed the “breath of life” into Adam’s nostrils (Gen. 2:7). God also breathes life into his Word and into us through it. We are mistaken when we try to reduce the Bible to a set of propositional truths or a theological system. When we do this, we risk missing the whole point. The Bible is like a raft to help us cross a river or a finger pointing to the moon. We shouldn’t mistake the finger for the moon or the boat for the shore. If we cling too tightly to the raft or fixate on the finger, we miss the greatest reality: God himself.

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