Tim Gombis, a professor of New Testament studies at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary who blogs at “Faith Improvised“, started a series of posts a couple of months back about evangelicals and the Bible. In this series of posts he is looking at comments he hears from students and others that betray a warped sense of understanding of the proper place of Scripture in our lives. The first three posts in the series were about the comment “I’ve never heard this before” as a response to some new or different interpretation of Scripture, and its implications for how evangelicals relate to the Bible.
Recently Tim Gombis has added two more posts to this series. These deal with the comment “What would you say to someone who says …?” This question arises from a place where we view Scripture as nothing more than a collection of source material for arguments that will convince unbelievers or fellow believers who disagree with us on some theological point or another, of the rightness of our position and the wrongness of theirs. The idea: The material is all there, the arguments are all there, and those who are more advanced in their understanding of Scripture know all the answers and all the arguments to use in any conceivable theological conundrum. It is our responsibility to learn what the Bible says so that we may instruct others and convince them. This is an inappropriate use of Scripture.
Christians ought to engage Scripture in order to first understand, and then to give extended consideration with the further aim of strategic, glad obedience.
…We don’t have the Bible for the purpose of fighting and squabbling, strategizing so that “our side” might dominate “their side.” God gave his word to his people that we might gain a heart of wisdom, that we might love and serve God, loving and serving one another with gladness and singleness of heart.