I occasionally hear a preacher say, “Now, what the Bible is trying to say is this…” I know what they mean. We don’t immediately grasp everything that a text says, and the preacher is trying to explain it so that we understand it.
Still, I bristle. The Bible isn’t trying to say anything. It says it.
When we say that the Bible is trying to say something, we imply that it failed and that it needs our help. That’s why I bristle. I know the preacher didn’t mean to say it, but I almost hear, “Poor Bible. It made a good effort to communicate a truth. Thank goodness that I’m here to help it out!”
I’d much rather say, “This is what the Bible says. Now let’s work to understand it.” I want to cultivate a humble heart before Scripture, one that recognizes that the problem is never the Bible’s failure to communicate. By all means explain the truth of Scripture and apply it, but let’s never imply that it’s failed in its effort to communicate.
Every Sunday at Liberty Grace Church the person who reads Scripture says, “This is the Word of the Lord,” and we respond, “Thanks be to God.” God has spoken, and we are grateful. Let’s cultivate hearts that are ready to hear and receive and obey. That’s the heart and attitude we should cultivate as we approach Scripture.