Monday, January 12, 2015

Bigger than the Bible

I was glad to see this article about Anglicanism at the Gospel Coalition. I love my Anglo-Catholic friends, I love all my other Reformed friends, and it's good to see them celebrating what they share in common. 

It's also good to get a bit more clarity on the ways in which I disagree with both of them.

"In Anglicanism, Scripture alone is supreme as the saving Word of God."

I love the Bible, and the more I read it, the more I find in it to love. But like all faithful messengers, the Bible does not point to itself. It points to Jesus.

Jesus alone is supreme as the saving Word of God.  


Not Moses, not Elijah, not John the Baptist, not the angel Gabriel or the Virgin Mary. Not even the Bible.

Just Jesus.

Scripture is God-breathed, and useful for instruction and training in righteousness. But Jesus is the living and active Word of God who sees every inward thought, understands our weakness, and stands before the Father as our great high priest.

I've often heard Hebrews 4:12 quoted as though it referred to the Bible, but that is an impossible reading of the text. 

The writer of Hebrews does not praise this Word for its power to teach us, but for his power to see, understand, and judge us. "No creature is hidden from his sight" is a very odd thing to say about the words that became our book, but it is most emphatically true of the Word made flesh.

Moreover, this reference to the "Word of God" appears within an argument for the supremacy of Christ over every other form of divine revelation, including (indeed, starting with!) the Bible. 

At various times, God has revealed himself to us through various prophets. Some of their words have been preserved for us and bound into books. This is a very great blessing.

But Jesus is greater.

The Bible is an important messenger,  and we should listen to it well. But if we listen to it faithfully, we will obey it's call to worship no mere book, but the living Christ, the Wisdom through which the Father created the world, revealed in human flesh.

We search the Scriptures, because we believe that in them we have eternal life. And indeed we do.

But only if we are willing to look beyond them, to the Word to which they point.


  1. I *knew* there was something wrong with that statement when I read it! Thank you for articulating the problem so clearly. And for the record, I don't think that "Anglicanism" actually thinks what they said it thinks.

    1. The 39 Articles are much more carefully stated! :)