Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Bible belt

We live in the Bible Belt after 14 years in the relatively unchurched Northwest and Alaska.  Here in Florida there are Bibles on the counters of many businesses, car dashboards, and in homes. Church signs quote the Bible and many houses have the Ten Commandments prominently displayed on their front laws (businesses often have them displayed on a wall, as well). Public teachers were given Bible verses on Kickoff Sunday before the new school year. Some churches  proudly announce which Bible they teach from, i.e., KJV, alone! I wonder if all this focus on the Bible is a good thing. The people in Jesus day who were his most vocal opponents were the ones who were most focused on the Bible (look at John 5: 39-40). F. Bruner reminds us that "there is Bible study and then there is Bible study. The Bible is not about the Bible... and it is not meant to be a religious encyclopedia of facts... it is meant to be the book that points to Christ... let us watch like hawks that our own poring over the Bible has no other goal than to know Christ." Well put.

When the Ten Commandments are taken out of context, it can easily lead to moralism or legalism. The verse that precedes the Ten Commandment in Deuteronomy, verse 6, is a word of grace and salvation. The Ten Commandments are a way of life in which we respond to the God of grace who has saved us. In the same way, the Old Testament prepares us to find Jesus as our Savior and Lord in the New Testament. Bible study on it's own can totally miss the point which is to lead us to Christ. See John 5:39-40, again. Jesus want us to believe in Him and to follow Him and, Bruner states, when we do, Jesus says,  "You are the Light of the world, You are the salt of the earth."

The key to life is Jesus Christ. In the words of the Spiritual, Lord I want to be a Christian in my heart. (thanks again to Bruner for this reference.

There are a lot of Bibles here in the Bible Belt. I know that can be a good thing. When it gets from the belt to the heart.