Jesus answered the men who were getting on to Him about working on the Sabbath (i.e. healing a man by making him walk). He told them many things, but one thing that stood out to me was this: “You search the scriptures, because you think that by them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me, that you might have life.” Jn. 5:39
The scriptures don’t hold life. They speak about life. They speak about Christ. They show us the way to Christ. But they are not Christ.
Recently, I’ve become frustrated with Bible studies, Sunday schools, and church services where milk is being fed to people who ought to be grown adults. I hear the same things over and over, ceasing to be challenged, stimulated, or encouraged. Sometimes I’ll find myself leaning forward in my seat, listening intently, thinking I’m about to gain something to feed my hunger. My anticipation grows as one sermon after another, one video Bible study after another, one testimony after another, dances on the edge of being substantial.
Then my heart sinks a little. I walk away with no change taking place in my life.
This summer I was in a Bible study with some girls. I remember telling them at the beginning that I wanted to be changed. The info in the book we were doing was really good and I wanted it to stick and transform me. I was tired of having emotional responses to the good things, only to forget and continue life as always.
So on one hand I’m not being fed. On the other hand, I’m having an emotional response to the good stuff without actually being changed. All this indicates to me is, if I were being fed, I still wouldn’t be changed.
Referring back to the above verse, I wonder if the Bible even has the power to do that. I hear so many churches claim to be Bible based: then they disagree with the Bible-based church next door. I hear godly people claim “scripture alone” is their foundation.
You search the scriptures, because you think by them you have eternal life…
Is it possible the Bible is not enough?
It is these that bear witness of Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me, that you might have life.
Life, eternal life, the gift of righteousness, grace, reconciliation to God. These, all of these, come through Christ.
The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword. It is the instrument in the hand of the Holy Spirit.
But it is not the Holy Spirit.
If I expect a pastor, a friend, a Bible study leader, a book, a Bible verse, to have the power to change me, I will always be disappointed.
Simultaneously, if I expect to change people by my life, my writing, my good works, I am sadly mistaken.
Christ alone is the source of all life.