Monday, July 13, 2009

Tool Talk

Yesterday I presented a lesson on God's Tool of the Bible, and what an incredible tool it is too. The more time I spend with it, digesting it, and meditating on it, the more I realize how little I've understood about it in the years past. I am especially overwhelmed by the challenge God had of trying to communicate a totally spiritual message to a totally physical world. And add to that, say it all in such a way that it could be grasped by a first century culture or a twenty-first century culture. Still, as amazing as it is, I pointed out yesterday that the Bible is a tool to use not a god to be worshipped. We've all been raised to respect and honor the book, but to elevate it - as a physical icon - is idolatry. Sometimes it's easier to exalt a book than it is to live it's message.
God said it was a tool. It's part of what He gave us so that we would be completely equipped to do all He asked us to do (2 Tim.3:16-17). Our challenge is to use it correctly(2 Tim.2:15). That's why I shared the four "C's" of interpreting/studying God's Word. They're not that amazing, but they are essential if we are going to use the tool properly. They are Context, Consistency, Command, and Christ. Context means we look at the "whole" message and understand the author, the audience, and the limitations of what he was doing. Consistency is simply keeping the spirit of God in the forefront of what we study and let His Spirit - His nature - guide us. Command? Do it! God is clear about what He wants. He doesn't imply or create puzzles or make you guess about examples. And the most important one is Christ. What does this passage tell me about Him? How does He want me to see it? How will this help me be more like Him?
The Bible is a tool. Like any tool it's only effective if we use it. It's not the only tool and it was never God's intent for it to replace any of the other tools, but there is only ONE message from God.

We'll be at a retreat for the next four days. Hopefully I can update this blog on Friday evening. Have a great day, and don't forget to use His tools.

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