A Pointer to God
I consistently find myself returning to the doctrine of scripture. Why should we believe the Bible is inspired? Why should we believe any book is inspired? Why these 66 books? Why not more? Or less? And I have some thoughts and some answers. I have a lot more questions than I have answers. I am convinced that my current doctrine of scripture is not adequate, and I am searching for more answers.
But this much I am sure of: the Bible is a pointer to God. If you have a hunger for God and you bring that hunger with you as you begin to read the Bible, you will be satisfied. You will be reoriented and guided towards the living God. There is a certain character about the Bible, a certain quality it possesses, that goes beyond an ordinary book. It is more than just inspiring. It is like a road sign that helps us find the God we long for.
It is at exactly this point that most of us go astray. We want to turn the Bible into a manual. We want to analyze it, dissect it, critique it, and judge it. Liberal scholars want to expose its flaws. Conservative scholars want to defend its perfection. Some fundamentalists want to turn it into a club to beat people with. Some radical atheists want only to mock it and turn it into a whip to flog believers with. These are all a misuse of its purpose.
It is not wrong to study the Bible for itself. It is an interesting, challenging, and often frustrating book. But it is the living God who stands behind the book that we ought to care most about. Believers ought to be most concerned with encountering God. The text ought to point us in that direction. But many people have missed the point.