What is the Bible?

Coach Vince Lombardi is a legend in the professional football world. He won the first two Superbowls and the trophy is named after him today. He coached some of the toughest and most skilled football players of his time. But every season, he began his opening day speech the same way. Lombardi would stand in front of these battle-tested champions in silence, surveying the room. Finally, he would raise his arm, ball in hand, and methodically say, “Gentlemen, this is a football.”

When it comes to Faith, it is easy to get caught up in all the things we are supposed to do- pray, go to church, be kind, don’t do this or that. But really, that is just learning how to live out our Faith. If we want to learn about the core of our spirituality, we would have to start with the Bible.

But what is the Bible?

Photo Credit: noerden_dk via freeimages.com
Photo Credit: noerden_dk via freeimages.com

Does that sound like a stupid question? We know what the Bible is, right? Of course, those football players probably knew what a football was, too. But when was the last time you really thought about the Bible? I am not talking about the last time you opened it or read it. Let’s take a step back. What is this thing we hold in our hands?

Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth

Some have said the Bible is “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.”

Um, yea, that’s bullcrap.

Are there guidelines and instructions in the Bible? Of course. But the Bible is no more an instruction manual than the love letters from my wife she gave me when we were engaged. Those letters aren’t guidelines for our relationship! They are expressions of love and hope. She is sharing her heart with me and the dreams she has for our future. She desires to know me more and to grow together in love.

THAT is what the Bible is. God’s Word is His expression of love, not a list of rules. He is sharing His love and hope for our lives. God’s Word is not basic instructions. It is the redemptive story of God’s grace and how He will reconcile the world back to Himself through the sacrifice of His son, Jesus.

The Bible is not a How. It’s a Who.

I had an interesting conversation yesterday with a retired Methodist minister about this very topic. And he made this comment that made me stop for a second.

“The Bible is not a how. It’s a who.”

Wow, doesn’t that sum it all up? So many of us look at the Bible as a list of guidelines and rules. But the Bible has one main purpose: to reveal who God is in our lives and what He is doing in this world. That’s it. That is the Bible.

You may be tempted to push back. What about all the rules and guidelines? The Do’s and Don’ts? But let me ask you this: If you spend your life getting to know who God is, don’t you think that stuff would all fall in line? That is the beauty of the Bible. My wife doesn’t need to give me a list for our marriage. If I simply seek to know and love her more deeply with each day that passes, I will honor her with my life.

If we stop reading the Bible like a list or rules or a stale history book, and read it as the life-giving narrative of God, it would radically change our lives.

How about you? What is your definition of the Bible? Do you agree with these thoughts or have a push-back?


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