In as much as we use the term today Jesus was very far removed from being a “Bible believing Christian”.
Well He wasn’t even a Christian.
He was a Jew.
But that’s besides the point I’m trying to make here.
We in the church today have a religious fervor for obeying the “letter of the law”.
A Christian must be “Bible believing”. Which basically means if the Bible says it we must believe it at face value and apply it to our lives.
We run into problems with this way of thinking.
I mean there are hundreds of things the Bible says we ignore on a frequent basis.
Not only that there are hundreds of things we think the Bible says that it isn’t saying at all once we contextualise the text.
Finally, when we look at the life of Jesus, this approach seems to fall apart even more.
I mean He quite frankly didn’t follow what the Bible commanded at times.
Breaking the law
He broke the law, for example:
- The Bible says don’t touch lepers – He did.
- The Bible says if a woman with an issue of blood touches you you must remove yourself from people till the evening – He didn’t, He kept on ministering.
- The Bible says don’t touch dead people – He did that too.
And those are just a handful of examples.
Correcting the law
He also contradicted the law:
- The Bible says an eye for an eye – Jesus says that’s a terrible model and tells us to turn the other cheek.
- The Bible says stone a woman caught in adultery – Jesus says we all have sin, forgive her and give her another chance.
Again just a couple of quick examples of many times Jesus contradicted what a good “Bible believing” Jew would have taught.
So where does this leave us?
What does it mean to be a Christian? Because Jesus Himself at times didn’t adhere to the recorded word of God in the Bible. In fact He even went so far to correct it!
What does that mean for you and I?
First and foremost:
If we don’t it’s very easy to miss the entire point of scripture.
Secondly I think it should challenge us.
Because if you base your faith upon your ability to believe and follow the Bible then you are on rocky ground.
We all interpret the Bible through our own life. Our circumstances, relationships and beliefs inevitably get read into the Bible. So what does a “Bible believing” Christian even mean? One “Bible believing” Christian could oppose another one completely. Both accusing the other of not believing the Bible.
What are we really saying?
You see when we say “Bible believing” we mean… I believe my interpretation of the Bible.
The Pharisees and Scribes stood face to face with God in the flesh (Jesus). And He told them… You know the scriptures inside and out and yet God stands here in the flesh and you can’t recognise Him.
One who holds the scriptures in very high regard but recognises they only point to Jesus. And if we are too busy reading our own interpretations into the Bible they won’t even do that!
The only solid, constant we can stand upon is Jesus.
It is through Him, the “Word of God”, that we must interpret the scriptures.