Monday, July 11, 2011

A Signpost & Compass (Part 3 of the Bible)

N.T. Wright is one of my favorite biblical scholars (certainly the one I've read the most from). (I realize that when I make that statement, it already puts me in the danger zone in the eyes of many of my brothers and sisters in Christ.) Wright talks about the signposts of scripture. I love this image and find it very useful in talking about what scripture is and does:

A sign along the road is something that points us in the right direction to get to a destination. It is not the destination in and of itself, but without it, we may never get to the destination. Once we've passed a road sign and arrive at our destination, we don't need the sign anymore.

So to flesh the image, the destination is to be "in Christ," with Christ, etc. The Bible is a signpost to get us there. We will always need the Bible in this lifetime. But in eternity, the Bible will be quite moot. It's not part of God's creation. It's of human hands, inspired by God.

(By the way, this is one thing that separates us from those who were directly given their scripture from God like Islam (via Mohammed) or Mormons (via Joseph Smith).)

At the same time, scripture is more like a compass than it is a roadmap. A roadmap tells us exactly where and when to turn, with every step along the way. A compass points us in a direction, and we often find we need to return to the compass to be re-aligned.

The destination is Jesus.
The point is Jesus.
The Bible tells us about the point and isn't in and of itself the point.
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This is Part 3 of a series on The Bible. I'll post the fourth tomorrow.
Part 1 - Chan, the Bible, & Jesus
Part 2 - I love the Bible. Really.
Part 4 - The Wild Goose

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