Scripture Alone? || Carson Nyquist
Growing up I thought faith was all about the Bible.
Whether going to church, waking up early for devotions, or searching for answers to life’s questions – the Bible was the answer. We read the Bible, memorized the Bible, and quoted the Bible.
And rightly so.
But, as I’ve grown to the ripe age of 24, I’ve been challenged in my childhood perception.
While the Bible is God’s Word and the ultimate authority in the life of a believer, we must also understand what it is not.
Myth #1: The Bible provides answers to all of life’s questions.
Life would be a lot easier if this was true. But it’s not. Think of most contemporary issues and you’ll likely find issues the Bible does not directly address. While one could argue the Bible gives principles for every area of life, which is probably true, this still does not provide concrete answers. ‘Discernment’ is left to make the call.
And there are plenty of situations where said discernment results in choices that challenge our assumptions of what is ‘biblical’.
Myth #2: Studying the Bible will make you a mature person.
The Bible has many purposes. (cf. 2 Tim. 3:16) And God promises to give us everything for life and godliness. (cf. 2 Pet. 1:3) But, simply reading, studying, and memorizing Scripture does not necessarily lead to maturity.
Here’s my rationale.
Our Christian subculture places enormous value on Scripture. And we should. It’s God’s primary communication with us.
But, when we produce communities that value Scripture to this level, we may risk devaluing the truth found outside of Scripture.
The Pharisees are a simple example of this: religious leaders, well-versed in Scripture, yet lacking in maturity.
St. Augustine famously taught, “All truth is God’s truth.”
In his book, On Christian Teaching, Augustine continues this thought:
A person who is a good and true Christian should realize that truth belongs to his Lord, wherever it is found, gathering and acknowledging it even in pagan literature, but rejecting superstitious vanities and deploring and avoiding those who ‘though they knew God did not glorify him as God…’ (II.75)
I believe his point is this:
A mature believer sees and learns from truth everywhere. Anything is fair game; scripture, nature, anthropology, and even science. Truth finds its foundation in God, therefore, whatever idea or action that is truthful, is of God. Yet, discernment is vital here as the world can so easily distort truth.
During the Reformation John Calvin spoke of truth by using the analogy of two ‘books.’ Rather than physical pages, he was referring to two means by which we know God and His truth. The books were Scripture and nature. Special revelation and general revelation.
There is much to be learned from God’s truth. Both within His word, and His world. The church should guard against de-spiritualizing the truth found outside Scripture. This is a deadly mistake.
Instead, may we be followers of Jesus who see His truth in every area of life.
Here are a few places I’ve found truth:
Counseling has the potential to change your life. Literally. So often Christians walk around, completely ignorant of their past pain. You cannot work through these things alone. God built us for community. Counseling provides a safe place to experience that community. And bring about healing.
From my experience, few things are as important to an individual as self-awareness. For those who are unaware of themselves, it is painful to watch them continually hit social and relational walls, unsure of what to do. While the Bible can assist us in understanding ourselves, we shouldn’t neglect the tools and people that can help us uncover blind spots.
- Relational Intelligence
In a similar vein to self-awareness, relational intelligence is all about understanding people. It is a skill that can greatly improve relationships and communication. As you grow as a person, this is one area you should not neglect.
|Carson Nyquist is a photographer, author, and storyteller. He is the Lead Creative at @WeAreEnvision, author of "The Post-Church Christian" (Moody Press - Feb. 2013), and Director of @StoriesThatGive. Follow him @carsonnyquist or www.carsonnyquist.com.|
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