Jesus-centered, not Bible-centered

You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.

John 5:39-40

The Pharisees Jesus was dealing with were meticulous in their application of Scripture, along with their reading and memorizing of it. Not enough. Simply not enough. They missed the trees for the forest, the forest for the trees, put simply, they missed the point.

I have lived in a Christian evangelical culture for decades. Scripture is central in that culture. Memorizing Bible verses emphasized for the young and old. Just be in Bible is the mantra. The rest will take care of itself.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. We’ve missed so much. Maybe not the entire point, but enough of it, that I fear sometimes we actually have. No, I’m no longer interested just in what the Bible has to say about anything. I want to see how Jesus fits into any and all of that.

Scripture is important. I believe it’s primary in how we reach the main goal. But it’s not the goal itself. The fulfillment in Jesus is the goal. Reading all of Scripture in that light. All of it is edifying in that light. Without that light, no it’s not. And hold to what Jesus taught us, how he lived. Nothing more, nothing less. In and through Jesus.

25 comments on “Jesus-centered, not Bible-centered

  1. Kim Balogh says:

    Jesus is the word made flesh. Paul talks about another Jesus and having another Spirit. If your Jesus is not the Jesus of the Bible it is a false Jesus. Opinion is not objective truth. Jesus who is truth reveals himself through the written word. To undermine IT IS WRITTEN is to undermine the God who through Holy Spirit inspiration wrote it.

    • Yes. Which is why I say Scripture is primary. But Scripture itself is not the point.

      • Kim Balogh says:

        That is a contradictory statement. Jesus is the logos made flesh. He is his word. John 1:14 That is logos. All scripture is given by inspiration of God or God breathed. Therefore based on the premise of logos incarnate you cannot separate Jesus from his word. To do so is error. Just trying to point that out.

      • Wasn’t Jesus making a distinction when he told the Pharisees that their study of the word, even faith in that word was insufficient, that indeed they did not have eternal life? If Jesus is simply equated to the written word of God, then why would he say that? What he’s getting at is that he was and is the fulfillment of that word. So that we have to learn to read all of Scripture with that in mind. Scripture points us there. So in a sense God’s written word is indeed distinct from the word made flesh.

      • Kim Balogh says:

        Jesus said that his word the scriptures bore witness to who he was but the Pharisees refused to see Jesus in the scriptures.

        Jesus in fact is all through the Old Testament.

        A Jesus outside scriptures is not the true Jesus.

        Another Jesus is one who comes from the mind of man trying to fit Jesus into their image.

        The written word Jesus said to the Pharisees bore witness of him.

        Jesus is the word incarnate.

      • I completely agree. I’m beginning to think we’re speaking past each other. The Jews were not ready for how God would fulfill the promises. Jesus fulfilling them by dying, indeed being hung on a tree was anticipated by no one. And Jesus calls us to love our enemies, turn the other cheek, live completely different than the power players of the world. God spoke in the past in many ways, but in these last days has spoken to us in his Son. We must not be centered in Scripture, but in Christ who is the fulfillment of it. I insist on that language, because I see what I perceive to be a neglect of Scripture’s true intent, yes among Christians.

      • Kim Balogh says:

        The difference between what you are saying and what I am saying is that you separate Jesus from scriptures while I say they are one and the same. JESUS IS THE WORD OF GOD. LOGOS. WHAT HE HAS WRITTEN IS WHO HE IS. THE WORD BECAME FLESH AND DWELT AMONG US.

        As long as you view Jesus as a separate entity from his word you will never be able to be transformed by his word. The Spirit and the word agree together.

        The words in the Bible are the very words of God himself! Holy Spirit initiated, inspired and written down.

        Jesus was the Logos incarnate. Torah made flesh. 🙂

      • Jesus is the Bible? God’s written word is the word made flesh, you’re trying to say? Well Jesus said the Scriptures testified about him. So he himself made a distinction. He also said things are different now, no longer an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. Jesus is human and God. Scripture is both from humans and God, certainly God-breathed. Certainly the Spirit and the word agree with each other. I’m shaking my head. Well, do you believe something new has come in Jesus? That he is indeed the fulfillment of Torah. That something greater than Moses was present? I think you do. Christian theology does make a distinction between God’s written word: Scripture, and the Word made flesh, God actually coming into the world becoming one of us.

      • Kim Balogh says:

        Yeah, just as I thought. You are trusting in a man centered gospel which is error. Jesus was God himself, the Logos incarnate. Why do you think God calls himself THE WORD if he is distinct from his word?

        In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1).

        Scriptures clearly say that God is the word. The scriptures are GOD BREATHED.

        In other words the BIBLE is the very breath of God.

        All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,

        The doctrine you are proclaiming is one that is error and being propagated by others in these end times. As an apologist I recognized it right away.

        To separate Jesus from scriptures is to trust in a false Jesus.

        Examine your Jesus. Does your Jesus line up with scriptures or how you personally view him? How you want your Jesus to be.

        Jesus is the word. The word testifies of him because was written by him. 🙂

        Jesus put on flesh to be the sin bearer. Not to be like men so that thy could identify with him.

        Jesus was GOD HIMSELF.

      • Didn’t I say Jesus is God? Fully God and fully human. All Scripture is written for us. What church do you belong to? Or can you send me a link to understand what group you’re a part of? I say Jesus came in the flesh. I am wondering if you’re not in error. You don’t seem to deny what I’m saying. And I think just because I’m not saying Jesus and the Bible are one and the same, then you say I’m in error. You might say in a certain sense they are, but in another sense, not, just like the Persons of the Trinity are distinct yet One.

      • One more thing: I couldn’t care less what I or anyone else wants Jesus to be. I go to Scripture for that. To the Gospel accounts: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and then to the rest of the New Testament, and then reading the Old Testament in light of that.

  2. Kim Balogh says:

    The very title of your post reveals what you believe.

    • The Bible is the primary way God speaks to us, though it also tells us other ways, like in dreams and visions, prophesying. People can hold the Bible so high, but miss the point, not unlike what the Pharisees themselves did. Though I’m sure it can be done in many ways. Jesus told the Pharisees that they missed the point of Torah. He didn’t tell them he is the Torah. He is God’s final word to us in flesh and blood, fulfilling in himself and his work the true intent and goal of Scripture. That was my point.

      • Kim Balogh says:

        Still disagree. Misinterpreting scripture does not undermine the validity of scripture. The Spirit and the word always agree. Its in the Bible. Any revelation that does not have a scripture application or contradicts scriptures are to be disregarded. Satan is a crafty one. “Has God really said?” is the age old deception.

        God’s word is infallible, the final authority. So much so that Jesus said that his word is above even his name. Psalm 138:2

        All scriptures are given by inspiration of God. all scriptures are God breathed. Jesus is the word incarnate.

      • Kim, I’m amazed you keep telling me things I already said, as if I need to be instructed on them. Like Jesus is the word incarnate. Here’s something to consider: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%20138%3A2&version=NIV,NET,NLT It’s strange that you insist that I deny the message and truth of Scripture or that I can’t receive it’s truth. I am in Scripture all the time, and I know God teaches me and helps me grow over time.

        Like Dennis said, we worship the Triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And we thank God for the gift he has given us in Scripture, and especially in his Son, in the gospel. Scripture is the infallible pointer to that, and to the Story of God.

      • Kim Balogh says:

        It amazes me how you can say that Jesus and his word are not one and the same thing. That is the point I am making of which you have denied both in your blog and in our conversation.

      • Kim Balogh says:

        Let me try to explain because maybe you just do not have a revelation by the Holy Spirit about the Word of God.

        You cannot say that we must focus on Jesus rather than scriptures. That is a complete oxymoron.

        To separate scriptures from Jesus is like saying you focus on Jesus first scriptures secondary.

        The Bible is God very own words.

        If I write you a letter and tell you all about myself. All my history and life’s experiences and you say “well I see Kim but the letter she wrote me telling me about her self is not as significant as Kim herself.

        Well by separating me from my word could make me anything you want me to be.

        Do you see the point?

        But not only that the word of God has the power to transform a person, set them free and deliver them.

        You don’t even necessarily have to have a Holy Spirit sign or wonder.

        God’s word not the paper its written on is so powerful when acted on by faith that your whole life can be changed.

        The bible is a supernatural book. The words of God himself.

        Faith in God’s word is the main key to the kingdom of God.

        You cant even get saved without believing the word of God.

        Signs confirm the word. Signs do not save. Faith in Gods word saves. Signs FOLLOW the preaching of the word.

        There is a big apostacy of undermining the Bible today and many are being deceived.

        Scriptures tell us that a Jesus or gospel or spirit out side scriptures is a false dynamic. Its error and dangerous spiritually.

        Many are falling from God’s truth in his word today and scriptures tell us that before Jesus Christ comes again and just before anti Christ appears this will happen.

        Those who trust in God’s word will not be led astray.

      • You’re saying stuff about what I said that is simply not the truth. If you don’t think I take the entire Bible seriously that’s because you again missed the point of what I was saying. Jesus is who we worship, the Triune God: Father, Son and Spirit, not the Bible. The word of God in the New Testament refers to the gospel, the message of the gospel, to Christ. Scripture is holy writ. From God for us, all of it. Jesus brings us to God, and the Bible points that out. Of course we take it all seriously. Look at my post today on grumbling. Kim, Scripture is God-breathed. And it centers us on Christ, not on itself, just like the Spirit does. At the same time that doesn’t mean we ever set Scripture aside. If you knew me you would know that’s not the case. I always have a Bible with me, opening it up all day.

      • Kim Balogh says:

        Ted back track all you want but I addressed what you wrote in your post.

        The Lord pointed that out to me and I was accountable to obey him and speak into it.

        When the Lord uses the donkey to bring his message it’s still his word. 😀

        Jesus is the Word incarnate. You cannot separate him from his word.

        I will not be responding any more. I told you what is sola scriptura and that’s all I can do.

      • Kim, we were both thinking the same thought, that this conversation needs to end. You don’t take me seriously and apply no grace. I see you as probably a child of God, greatly mistaken. But we’re all mistaken. You refuse to see this post in context. Really kind of unbelievable. But that’s in part why I’m an evangelical no more. God be with you, and may the Lord help us all to truly know and follow him.

      • Kim Balogh says:

        Says it all Ted. You don’t like correction so you take flight. God’s word is truth. His grace loves you enough to point out your error so you don’t end up astray from him.

        You could have just admitted that you did not look at it that way. I got corrected yesterday by the Lord myself. The fear of the Lord is wisdom. Get it right and he will bless but continue in rebellion and it’s not good.

        His love sent me to point this out to you.

      • I take flight? Your point is that Jesus is the Bible; the Bible is Jesus, just to make sure any reader understands. And my point is that the Bible leads us to Jesus, and that Jesus is the fulfillment of what the Bible says. Now I hope I’m not putting words in your mouth. Jesus told the Pharisees that studying the scriptures is not enough, that one has to come to him. Scripture centers us in Christ. Let’s not go round and round anymore. We can let it go at that. Let’s end it here. You’re welcome to have the last word. Of course the Lord always actually has the last word. Thanks. Peace.

      • Kim Balogh says:

        I leave you to it then

  3. Dennis Moles says:

    Hey Ted! I couldn’t agree more. I think we’ve come to an idolatrous place in evangelicalism—the same place those Jesus was correcting in the passage you site found themselves—they had elevated the gift above the giver.
    Hebrews tells us that Jesus is the truer and better communication from God—that he is superior to all previous communication.
    We worship the triune God (the Giver of the scriptures) not the Bible (the gift that tells us the story of the whole world).
    Thanks friend!

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