“Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.”
Reading Scripture Through the Right Grid
John 5 shows the folly of fixing on the Scriptures while ignoring the God of grace. Jesus crossed paths with a troop who liked to think of themselves as soaked in the Scriptures, but they were getting them all wrong, taking them in through the wrong grid. What an epic tragedy: they had God himself in the flesh, standing in their very midst, and they missed him because their Bible reading was going awry with self at the center. Jesus says to them, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life” (John 5:39–40).
The lesson for us is to never disconnect our searching of the Scriptures from a conscious awareness and pursuit of Jesus as our Savior, Lord, and Treasure. The gospel of Jesus is the core, culmination, and meaning of the Scriptures. No matter how passionate the study, regular Bible intake that is not in accord with the truth of the gospel is akin, at best, to zeal without knowledge (Rom. 10:2).
Displace the gospel from the center, and studiousness in the Scriptures soon becomes a massive self-salvation project.