Have you heard the concept, “The BIBLE stands for Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth?” I struggle with that concept. My fear is that we will turn the Bible into a glorified self-help book that we try to control, rather than the Word of God that comes to recreate us in God’s image. God’s Word has more than great advice; it has the power to transform us.
N. T. Wright describes this transforming power. “The Bible isn’t there simply to be an accurate reference point for people to look things up and be sure they’ve got them right. It is there to equip God’s people to carry forward his purposes of new covenant and new creation. It is there to enable people to work for justice, to sustain their spirituality as they do so, to create and enhance relationships at every level, and to produce that new creation which will have about it something of the beauty of God himself.” (Simply Christian, p. 182-183) God’s Word is to actively work at transforming us into the image of Christ. It calls and empowers us to love God by loving our neighbor in creative, just ways.
Jesus himself had to reinterpret the law because the Pharisees and other religious officials had misused it. The Pharisee’s loved the Torah (first five books of the Bible), but in their love they tried to control and protect it by building sharp boundaries between holy and unholy. They tried to avoid all contact with unholy people, so as to remain pure before God. They used the scripture as their way to stand apart from those in need (lepers, tax collectors, prostitutes, sinners). Jesus proclaimed a message that engaged the unclean and envisioned a new creation. Jesus did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17).
How is God’s Word transforming your life?