Dick Lucas, Rector of St. Helen’s Bishopgate Church in London from 1961-1998, once told a story about a man who walks into the Metropolitan Museum of Art, goes into the Renaissance exhibition and, with those who are alongside him, he begins to give critical remarks of the works: what the artist should have done, what would have brought more color to Giovanni Bellini’s “Madonna and Child,” how Jean Fouquet could have been more discreet, and on and on and on. And, of course, this was about as much as the curator could handle and he walked straight up to the man and said, “Sir, these works are not up for evaluation, you are.”
It’s easy, especially today, with books like The Da Vinci Code or documentaries like James Cameron’s “Lost Tomb of Jesus” to come to the Bible with a skeptical eye.
Can we really trust it?
Isn’t it just a myth-filled book?
What in the world does the Bible, a book that’s over 2000 years old, have to do with me today?
But let’s assume for a moment that the Bible is indeed God’s Word just like 2 Timothy 3:16 says,
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.”
And let’s also assume that its contents are true because God does not lie, just like Numbers 23:19 says,
“God is not a man, that he should lie; nor a son of man, that he should change his mind.”
And since God is the Creator of this world, He has authority over you to direct your life and all authority is established by him (Romans 13:1). And since He’s kind, He’s provided a way of salvation to reconcile the world to Himself (Ephesians 2:5).
Let’s assume all that is true, that the God of the universe has revealed truth about Himself, guidelines to shape our lives, and grace for salvation.
Do you not see the audacity to come to the Bible with a critical eye, to judge whether you believe it’s true or not, whether it’s worthy of your attention or not? God has revealed Himself and His great salvation. It is not up for evaluation, we are.
But, even for Christians, who believe the Bible is true, we sometimes can make a similar mistake. We can treat the Bible as only a bunch of problems to be solved, questions to be answered, theological conundrums to work out—and that’s it. We spend all of our time excavating the contents of the Bible, without letting it excavate our hearts.
But God comes to us through His Word and says: I will not simply be analyzed; I will be adored.
Now, I am not against analyzing and close study of God’s Word. If we believe God’s Word is true, then every word, every phrase matters. And we should pay careful attention to all that it says.
But just like the author of Psalm 119 finds that the Lord is his portion (his delight, his joy, all that he needs) by meditating and pondering God’s Word (Psalm 119:57-64), so we also analyze—not as an end to itself—but in order to adore.