The Bible Is All About ___________

June 17, 2013 at 5:15 am 2 comments

Bible 1The Bible is all about __________.

How you fill in this blank makes a big difference in how you approach not only the Bible, but your life as a believer in Christ.

I have no doubt that most Christians would fill in the blank with “Christ.”  After all, a respectably orthodox theology demands no other answer.  “The Scriptures…testify about Me,” Jesus declares (John 5:39).  But what we say about the Bible and what we want to know from the Bible are often two very different things.

I once had a lady who felt the need to give me some preaching advice following one of my sermons.  “The problem with you,” she began, “is that you always end your sermons the same way:  by talking about Jesus.  I already know what Jesus did,” she continued. “I want to hear about what I need to do to live a better and successful life!”  She expressed publicly the way a lot of people feel secretly.  To learn about Jesus is fine and good, but what we really want is to learn about ourselves – how we can be successful.

Tullian Tchividjian, pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, calls such a desire “reading the Bible narcissistically.”  He explains:

We often read the Bible as if it were fundamentally about us: our improvement, our life, our triumph, our victory, our faith, our holiness, our godliness. We treat it like a book of timeless principles that will give us our best life now if we simply apply those principles. We treat it, in other words, like it’s a heaven-sent self-help manual…Even our devout Bible reading can become fuel for our own narcissistic self-improvement plans, the place we go for the help we need to “conquer today’s challenges and take control of our lives.”[1]

But this is not the purpose of the Good Book.  The Bible is not about us being better.  It’s about Jesus being perfect.

“But what about me?” someone may protest.  “I have concerns I need answered!  And they’re not just concerns about how I can go to heaven after I die, they’re concerns about how to deal with things while I’m still alive!”

This is where we can modify how we fill in the blank a little bit.  Because the Bible is indeed all about Jesus.  But Jesus came for us.  Jesus lived for us.  Jesus died for us.  And Jesus rose for us.  The Bible is all about Jesus who just happens to be for us.

Tchividjian continues:

The Bible is one long story of God meeting our rebellion with His rescue; our sin with His salvation; our failure with His favor; our guilt with His grace; our badness with His goodness.

The problem with the way so many people approach the Bible is that they skip over Jesus to get to themselves.  The Bible is indeed about us, but it’s about us in light of Jesus.   And it is when we read the Bible in light of Jesus that we discover that we are more deeply sinful than we ever thought, unable to improve our lives under our own power and will, and Jesus is more magnificently gracious than we ever imagined, able to save us from our sin and our selves.  You see, Jesus is not only the key to reading the Bible correctly, He is the key to reading ourselves correctly – as sinners in need of a Savior.  It is when we see Him as the center of the Scriptures that we find we need Him as the Savior of our lives.

[1] Tullian Tchividjian, “Reading The Bible Narcissistically,” The Gospel Coalition (6.10.2013).

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Rev. Kevin Jennings  |  June 17, 2013 at 8:34 am

    Zach, as usual, an excellent post. And, the Bible does talk about us, but not in the way we want to hear:
    The thoughts of man’s heart was only evil continually.
    I was brought forth in iniquity and in sin did my mother conceive me.
    There no one who does good.
    Nothing good dwells within me.

  • 2. irene  |  June 17, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    I’m sorry, I couldn’t control myself. I just had to laugh when I read your story about “what about me?” That is a perfect example of the human condition. And yes, I’m guilty of thinking the same thing at times, even praying, “Lord – I trust you and know you’re in control but when are you going to help me?” You ever try to pray without mentioning yourself? It’s a challenge. This was a great blog today.


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