Today’s Daily Light
Unashamed of the Bible (2 part article by John Piper)
Part 2 (continuing in context from Part 1..condensed version 😇)
So my ten aspirations for Christian communicators, whether pastors, preachers, writers, teachers, editors, parents, or friends, are all formulated in relation to that — our thinking and our feeling about the Bible.
Hearts That Hear
Someone may ask — indeed I ask — “But don’t deep heart realities of humility, and spiritual life, and submission to God, and sensitivity to spiritual reality precede and enable a right handling of the Bible? And shouldn’t that be the goal of Christians — to cultivate a kind of heart and mind that creates the humility and submissiveness that then is yielded to everything the Bible teaches?”
“We cannot escape the absolutely unique and essential role that the Bible plays in God’s purpose for the universe.”
Certainly, we should have a commitment to those deeper realities. But here’s the catch: the only reason we know that such realities must exist before the Bible can be known and loved and handled as it ought to be is that the Bible teaches us that they must.
The Bible teaches us that something deeper than the Bible makes it possible for the human heart to submit to the Bible. Therefore, how will we ever articulate and justify the goal to pursue something in the heart deeper than the Bible without using the Bible?
So let me suggest ten aspirations, or aims, for Christians as they relate to how we think and feel and act toward the Bible.
1. Embrace Inerrancy
Let us make it our aim that every pastor and teacher, every faculty member and administrator every writer and speaker will give joyful and hearty assent to the complete truthfulness — that is, inerrancy — of the Bible in all that it teaches.
2. Be Unashamed
Let us make it our aim that we will be unashamed of everything that the Bible describes as the will of God as it was or is to be done when God appointed for it to be done. For if we are embarrassed by parts of the Bible, the love of human approval over God’s approval has begun to take root. And this root is the source of much defection from biblical truth, especially in the academic life (John 5:44).
3. Pursue the Authors’ Intentions
Let us aim to be committed to all the teaching of the Bible in such a way that congregants and readers and students are equipped to pay detailed attention to its words and phrases and clauses and logic, and to penetrate through these human instruments to the authors’ mental, emotional, and behavioral intentions, and to the great realities that they are trying to communicate.
4. Build a Biblical Vision of Reality
Let us aim to build and train students and readers that reflect so deeply on the realities of Scripture in relationship to all other observations in all other disciplines that students and readers are enabled to see the profound relevance of the biblical vision of reality for everything they think and study, so that there will be no embarrassment whatsoever that we relate everything to Scripture, and test everything by Scripture, because we have discovered that God’s revelation about the world can never be superficial or irrelevant.
5. Speak with Precision
Let us aim to handle the Scriptures with such precision, and care, and insight, and spiritual illumination, and experiential authenticity, that we do not default to speaking in vague generalities about God’s will and God’s way, but actually are able to point to specific verses in the Bible where glorious reality is revealed and where the will of God and the ways of God are made explicit, and can do so in such a way that we happily cite the very words of Scripture with little concern whether we are criticized of proof texting.
6. Love the Languages
Let us aim to put a high premium in our pastoral training on the mastering of Greek and Hebrew to the extent that future preachers have sufficient confidence that when they interpret the Greek and Hebrew text of the Old and New Testaments, they are extracting the author’s intention, and are in touch with the reality God is revealing behind and through the text. Let us never allow the pragmatic pressure for pastors to be more immediately helpful to diminish our confidence that the teaching of Greek and Hebrew will, in fact, make them even more helpful in the long run in the church of Christ.
7. Cultivate Habits of Heart
“The Bible teaches us that something deeper than the Bible makes it possible for the heart to submit to the Bible.”
Let us aim to make the Bible so foundational and so pervasive in all aspects of our lives that we really do perceive that the serious study of Scripture deepens our capacities in six habits of heart: observation, understanding, evaluation, feeling, application, and expressing. Let us seek to make the Bible so prominent and so pervasive and so profoundly relevant in dealing with every kind of subject matter that we grow in their confidence that what can be known only through the Bible enhances and deepens and clarifies and empowers everything we learn from other sources.
8. Celebrate the Relevance
Let us aim to handle the Bible in such a way that the Bible will always stand out to those who read what we write, and hear what we say, as a source of utterly timely, relevant, and indispensable divine revelation concerning the world we live in. Let us never give the impression that this Book is somehow dated, or passé, or irrelevant, but in fact is brimming with the kind of human, historical, cultural, social, psychological, relational wisdom that goes deeper, and lasts longer, than the passing trends of all the humanities and social and physical sciences.
9. Display Contagious Esteem
Let us aim to teach and explain the Bible in such a way, and live the Bible in such a way, as to encourage and equip and empower others to recognize their highest esteem for the authority and wisdom and value of the Bible, and will be thankful, and even amazed, at the treasures that they share from Scripture for the living of the Christian life with all its joys and sorrows.
10. Pray Earnestly and Continually
Let us aim to cultivate an ethos of earnest and continual prayer for the God-given humility and illumination that not only opens us to the deepest and richest meaning of what the Bible teaches, but also enables us to see the self-authenticating glory of God in and through the text, which provides the foundation of our unshakable confidence in the divine origin and authority and universal relevance of the Bible.