I am afraid that we have often grafted the Bible into a story for us rather than a description about God.
St. Augustine said it right: “Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance.” This is why replacing our pride with humility is so critical. It is the beginning of us realigning our life correctly.
One instance God used to mold my theology, ideology, etc. was a sermon preached by Matt Chandler at Elevation Church’s Code Orange Revival. In essence, Chandler’s sermon was about how the Bible has been dangerously misinterpreted the past years, if not decades. And it is not just an exegetical error on part of the “untrained” church member, this skew in interpretation is practiced by the most skilled of pastors. The exegetical norm of today is to read yourself into the Bible, and what happens in turn, you attempt to learn more about yourself than God.
When I heard this, it shook me; it convicted me, because I have been so guilty of this. The more I looked for this, the more I found it in our prevalent Christian books, churches, worship songs, etc. It is sickening. We get so consumed with what God can provide for us and how we can better ourselves, that we forget the Perfecter; we forget the Creator; we forget that God Almighty is the one from whom all things exist and thrive.
Yes, there are verses elevating the adoption, kingship, and blessed position of the saints, but Chandler makes the point that there is a far greater underlying theme to those verses: the greatness and grace of God! All God does is for His sake; His glory. This makes us unsettled, because we are told not to be selfish, but here it seems that we are worshiping a God who is selfish. But, the reason we, or any failed and broken human, can not be selfish is because we are nothing without God. Yet, He is all sufficient. He is all knowing. We are not worthy, but God is all worthy!
Instead of believing and reading the Bible as “God’s Love Letter To Us” or “Life’s Handbook”, Chandler reveals that the Bible is all about God! It is about revealing His nature, character, works, etc. It sounds so obvious, but seriously analyze the statement. Yes, we find God’s love towards us in the Bible. Yes, we find instruction to live, but that is not the ends of the Bible. I’ll repeat, the revelation of the Bible is about who God is!
Both exegetically and practically, we need to view the Bible foundationally as the description of God and His plan, rather than a few simple self-helps for ourselves.
God grant me wisdom in reading your truth.