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We Are People of the PersonI realize that sounds weird. First let me quote Reunion:
We read the Bible because it is the best God-given window through which we get a clear view of Jesus – who is God’s ultimate self-disclosure. The Bible is not a painting to be looked at, but a window to be looked through, and through that window we see Jesus. […] In other words, Christ-followers are not actually “People of the Book”, as the Qur’an calls Christians. WE are People of the Person. We don’t follow the Bible – we read the Bible so we can follow Jesus. – ch 4 of ReunionThe author goes on to explain the difference.
…if I follow the Bible, I can use its stories to justify all kinds of violence, from beating children to waging all-out holy war. But if I follow the Jesus whom I read about in the Bible, he won’t let me get away with anything short of active, other-centered, nonviolent, enemy-embracing love.
Misunderstanding the BibleI never realized it before reading this chapter but that is so true. I used to not believe in the Bible because I couldn’t see how bad things could happen in the bible when God was supposed to be good. I’d think, “if we don’t stone people when they cheat why do we have to follow the other laws?” I thought the Bible was just a set of laws to follow. I hadn’t actually read the Bible let alone studied it so I didn’t understand.
The stories of the Bible took place over many, many years and the laws changed and Jesus came and so the Bible isn’t saying we should live the way every person in every story lived. It’s not a bunch of stories of perfect people it’s the stories of sinners.
This all might make perfect sense to some or make you think, “duh!” But let me tell you it wasn’t obvious to me so if someone you are reaching out to has trouble with the negative things that happen in the Bible please keep this in mind. We are not following the Bible, we are following Jesus.
The Bible isn’t the Center of Christianity, Jesus IsBruxy Cavey continues…
[…]”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)So Jesus himself told us to not just grip the Bible tightly but to come to know Jesus through the book. The Bible is a tool to get to Jesus. Jesus is the center of Christianity. Thank you to Bruxy Cavey for your book Reunion which helped me to understand that.
Herein lies the beautiful irony: we learn in the Bible that Jesus wants us to move beyond just learning the Bible. Sure from the outside in, we look like a People of the Book, reading and studying our Holy Scriptures like people of any other religion. But looks can be deceiving. From the inside out, we are a movement of people who follow Jesus, and that shapes how we read our own Bibles.