Let me begin this post by saying that I absolutely love the Bible. I have read a lot of books in my life and the Bible by far has been the most intriguing work I have ever engaged. With the exception of The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave, C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity, and The Autobiography of Malcolm X, the Bible is the only book I have read more than once. And it is the only book that I continue to read some of daily. In fact, I can say that the most difficult periods that I have had in my life have been those periods where I got out of the habit of reading something from the Bible at least weekly. I can honestly say that if the Bible had not been accessible to me in my life, I do not know who I would be and I don’t know if I would have any aspirations in my life, because ultimately I think that the only thing worth giving everything for in this world is to, at least for a second, come into contact with the reality that I believe Christ knew, embodied, and was. One second of that knowledge is to live in the only true life that there is–the eternal absolutely fulfilling world of God where nothing is lost and all that we could imagine to gain is already wholly present. As Solomon taught in Ecclesiastes 3:14, “I know that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it; God has done this, so that all should stand in awe before him.” It is my belief that by becoming intimate with the Bible one’s eyes can be opened to see the Way toward touching that reality.
All that being said, I believe that the Bible falls short of one book—the one God has written within every human heart1. I believe that within everyone of us is a gospel. In that gospel we discover the good news of who we are in God–the person that God knew before we were formed in our mother’s wombs and the person God knows even now2. As I have experienced the Bible, its purpose is to call me into remembrance of what Christ came to reveal—that we are as he is—the pure children of the living God3. But because we have been deceived by our own selfishness, we have forgotten who we are and who God is and chose rather to be the god of our own lives. That is a sorry enough state as it is, but in our desire for power many of us took it a step further, seeking to be the god of other people’s lives as well, spreading the deception that some of us know more of God than others. But the fact remains, all children know the voice of their parents. But often we ignore it because we want to do what we want to do. And because misery indeed loves company, we often encourage others to stumble with us for the sole purpose of justifying our illusions that there is such thing as a life without God. We think we are fooling someone with our denial of reality when in fact the only one we are fooling is ourselves4.
The Bible is trying to get us to snap out of it. It is trying to wake us up and help us to see that we have never been away from God, for God is wholly present. There is nowhere that God is not—absolutely positively nowhere. God is even in the depths of the hells that we choose and the even the hells we create, fully present as the eternal radiant light that God is5. We lie when we say otherwise. For the fact is that we live and move and have our being within God6. This is what the Bible wants us to know. But once we accept it, the real work of our salvation begins7. It is then that we look for the word written on our hearts—our gospel—and we stop telling our brothers and sisters how to know God for themselves7 and start taking responsibility for the truth that we know but deny first in Christ, then in ourselves, and lastly in others.
I know that there are some among us who, though we call ourselves Christians, will not like hearing this message. We are grateful for what Christ has done, but don’t want to do what we are called to do. We don’t want to read the gospel written on our hearts, because we know that when we do we will lose all of our excuses. We hide behind legalism because we think it protects us from the vulnerability love demands and from taking up our own crosses—whatever they may be. Each of us has one and no one can carry it for us. Not even Jesus. He shows us how to carry it, but he doesn’t carry it for us8. But don’t worry. If you will just take the risk you will find what he reveals—the yoke is easy and the burden is light9.
For those of you who believe that the Bible says it all and has left nothing to be revealed in the gospel of your own life, I don’t know what to tell you. There is more to be revealed and it is in you. The Bible will point you to Christ and Christ will point you to your true self10 so that you can know yourself as you are known11. Even the Bible will tell you that it does not tell us everything that Christ did, but tells you just enough for us to be able to believe that Jesus was who he claimed to be, not because he needed his station qualified, but so that we could live the life that we are called to live as you truly are 12 and thus become a living gospel that can be read by others seeking their own true life.
If you feel that I am off base in this, then feel free to let me know. But don’t bother if you have not first gone to the hyperlinks I have provided. If after looking at the links, you still feel like the Bible is not pointing you to the gospel within you, then please respond back with your own verses declaring otherwise and I will reconsider my position. Until then I will remain in the belief that each of us has a message of good news to reveal and that to not seek it is a great disservice to this world.
The Bible tells us much, but there is more to the story. I’m not saying all of this because I want to take anything from anyone, but rather hope that people will receive the invitation to be added to by the fullness of God–whose reality cannot be contained in form.
Biblical indications that the Bible doesn’t tell us everything
This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true. But there are also many other things that Jesus did; if every one of them were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.– John 21:24-25
About this we have much to say that is hard to explain, since you have become dull in understanding. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic elements of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food; for everyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is unskilled in the word of righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, for those whose faculties have been trained by practice to distinguish good from evil.–Hebrews 5:11-14
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah,the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.–John 20:30-31
Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed on to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the truth concerning the things about which you have been instructed.–Luke 1:1-4
In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.–Acts 1:1-3 (It tells that Jesus spoke to them about the kingdom of God after his resurrection, but it doesn’t tell us what he said. Also, as you can see whoever wrote Luke also wrote Acts which shows that both books are a product of investigation.)
“I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe.–John 14:25-29
Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.–John 14:11-13
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the human heart conceived,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—
these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For what human being knows what is truly human except the human spirit that is within? So also no one comprehends what is truly God’s except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. And we speak of these things in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual things to those who are spiritual. Those who are unspiritual do not receive the gifts of God’s Spirit, for they are foolishness to them, and they are unable to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. Those who are spiritual discern all things, and they are themselves subject to no one else’s scrutiny.–1 Corinthians 2:9-15