“You have your heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you’ll find eternal life there. But you miss the forest for the trees. These Scriptures are all about me! And here I am, standing right before you, and you aren’t willing to receive from me the life you say you want. (THE MESSAGE)
It is very possible to be an expert in the Bible and be a stranger to Jesus. It is very possible to absorb a lot of information from the Bible without any personal transformation. It is very possible to get all excited about the so called “Word of God” and be indifferent to the living Word to which it testifies.
Jesus reminds the Pharisees of this danger. It was the Bible scholars who ultimately drove Jesus to the cross. It was those who most devoutly searched the Scriptures that missed the point of them. And yet we can’t look down our noses at these misguided experts.
There are Bible study groups in churches that don’t engage wholeheartedly with what they study, content with just understanding the text in front of them. Their heads are filled but their hearts may remain empty. There are Bible teachers who pore over the Scriptures even in their original language but who keep Jesus at arm’s length.
Words don’t need to be just studied, but heard. We don’t just read the Bible but we let it read us. If we are to be passionate about the Bible, be sure such passion is not the means by which we transfer our devotion to a book rather than a person. Our goal in life is not to love the Bible but love the one of whom it speaks.
Our Bibles are a means to an end, not an end in themselves. They contain living words and not dead letters. In the words of Eugene Peterson, we are not to let printer’s ink become embalming fluid.