The Word for today:
2 Timothy 3
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
Both Peter’s and Paul’s final thoughts—found in 2 Peter and 2 Timothy—emphasize the Word of God and the gospel.
When it came down to their final thoughts, these two great apostles did not emphasize prayer or good works or fellowship or worship. Their parting advice was to hold tenaciously to the Word of God (from whence all of those things will issue.)
I want to re-echo their sentiments today. Moreover, I want us to develop a biblical worldview—a habit of mind that places the Bible not only at center stage, but at the center of a far wider stage…
Because ultimately the Bible will not be thought of in the narrow way it is thought of now—as a religious book. The Bible will, ever more and more so, come to be recognized as the lens through which all reality is to be comprehended, if it is to be comprehended at all.
By all reality I mean all of it. What we normally think of as secular—let’s say the stock market and the Super Bowl–can not be seen for what they are until they enter through the aperture of the Word of God.
That may sound crazy, but only because we have been trained to think that the stock market and the Super Bowl somehow occupy a sphere that is outside of scripture’s purview.
They are not. The Bible is as infinite as its author, as all-encompassing as He who IS; who is the all in all (1); who is the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End who has no beginning and no end.
The Bible teaches us that Jesus holds everything together:
He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:17/NIV, NASB, ESV)
The New King James Version says it in a way that permeates even deeper:
He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. (Colossians 1:17)
Without him factored in, no equation is relevant—on any topic whatsoever.
I have a great deal of respect for the intelligence of my readers. I don’t dumb down scripture and people who want it dumbed down soon stop reading Stand in the Rain. What I’m left with are some serious heads. So I want you to take your serious head and wrap it around a quote from Graeme Goldsworthy, an Aussie Bible commentator and a hero of mine. I will only help you with vocabulary: hermeneutical (I looked it up!) has to do with interpretation, as I’ve inserted. For all the rest you are on your own, so read slowly and gather as much as you can from what I consider the most all-encompassing paragraph of commentary that I have ever encountered:
The hermeneutical (interpretive) question about the whole Bible correlates with the question, ‘What do you think of Christ?’ … The hermeneutical (interpretive) center of the Bible is therefore Jesus in his being and in his saving acts – the Jesus of the gospel. … We can say that, while not all Scripture is the gospel, all Scripture is related to the gospel that is its centre. … The Bible makes a very radical idea inescapable: not only is the gospel the interpretive norm for the whole Bible, but there is an important sense in which Jesus Christ is the mediator of the meaning of everything that exists. In other words, the gospel is the hermeneutical (interpretive) norm for the whole of reality.
–Graeme Goldsworthy, from “Gospel-Centered Hermeneutics”
I’m not smart enough to know what Jesus thinks of the stock market, or the Super Bowl, or Facebook, or the presidential primaries, or casinos, or the Constitution, or Mozart, or Mickey Mantle, or Mickey Mouse, or Dickens, or Dostoevsky.
But I am smart enough to know that until we relate all of the above to him, we have untethered them from any meaning at all.
We as Christians may or may not be right on this issue or on that issue, but we are smart enough to know that until we filter everything through the Word of God, our ignorance on those issues is guaranteed.
We must—deliberately and proactively–cultivate a habit of mind that Jesus himself cultivated:
“I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge.” (John 15:30)
Jesus enforced, for himself, a biblical worldview—an outlook that consults the Word of God on absolutely everything.
On our own, we see through a glass darkly (2). But scripture doesn’t. So let’s emulate Jesus’ way of looking at things. We will never see what he sees until we look through the same lens.
(1) 1 Corinthians 15:28; (2) 1 Corinthians 13:12