I Never Go To The Bible For Wisdom: Because The Bible Tells Me Not To

I Never Go To The Bible For Wisdom: Because The Bible Tells Me Not To March 8, 2019


I don’t know about you, but I’m in a very uncertain place, these days. I moved to a new state. Took a new job. Lost that job. And now I’m trying to figure out why were are here, and what we should do next.

I have a lot of pretty big, and scary, unanswered questions.

Maybe you can relate?

Are you unsure of what to do with your life? Are your worries about your kids keeping you awake at night? Are you wondering whether or not to make that big career change? Are you trying to decide whether to buy that new house, or to wait for a better time?

Chances are, you are probably in some phase of your life where you’re not sure what to do. In those moments, what should you do? Where should you go for wisdom?

I would suggest that, if you’re looking for wisdom about these types of questions, the last place you should go is to the Bible.

In fact, I have never gone to the Bible for wisdom about what to do about something in my life. Not once.

Do you want to know something funny? The reason I don’t turn to the Bible for wisdom is because the Bible tells me not to.

So, ironically, by not turning to the Bible for wisdom, I am actually following the wisdom of the Bible.

[Insert sound of gears grinding in Evangelical Christian brains everywhere].

See, if you need wisdom, the best place to turn – according to the Bible – is to Christ.

The Bible never points us to the Bible. The Bible always points us to Christ.

That’s why, in the Bible, we read things like:

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5)

“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.” – Jesus (John 16:3)

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” – Jesus (John 10:27)

“As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.” (1 John 2:27)

What’s more, Jesus urged us not to search in the scriptures for life, but to come directly to Him. [See John 5:39-40]

So, here’s why I don’t ever go the Bible when I need wisdom – because the Bible tells me to go to God directly.

Instead of going to the Bible, try going on your knees. That’s where you’ll find true wisdom for your daily life. Not the Bible.


Keith Giles was formerly a licensed and ordained minister who walked away from organized church 11 years ago, to start a home fellowship that gave away 100% of the offering to the poor in the community. Today, He and his wife live in Meridian, Idaho, awaiting their next adventure.

His new book “Jesus Unbound: Liberating the Word of God from the Bible”, is available now on Amazon and features a Foreword by author Brian Zahnd.

He is also the author of the Amazon best-seller, “Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb” with a Foreword by Greg Boyd.

Keith also co-hosts the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast on iTunes and Podbean. 

BONUS: Want to unlock exclusive content including blog articles, short stories, music, podcasts, videos and more? Visit my Patreon page.

"Yikes, I would suggest further study of the Bible, and reflection on what Jesus did ..."

Why Is Jesus A Minor Character ..."
"Though Catholic, I have occasionally gone to Bible churches while vacationing and found the preaching ..."

Why Is Jesus A Minor Character ..."
"The difference between you, Hillside, and me, is that you insist that GOD couldn't keep ..."

Why Is Jesus A Minor Character ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

TRENDING AT PATHEOS Progressive Christian
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • soter phile

    O, Amelia Bedelia, you’re such a kidder!

    And when you’re there on your knees, mystically communing with the transcendent,
    unaided by any of what Jesus called the “word of God” (Mk.7:10-13),
    how will you know anything about this ‘being’ from whom you are attempting to solicit wisdom?

    Despite your claim: Jesus did not say “don’t search the Scriptures” to the Pharisees in Jn.5.
    He said (next phrase!) these are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come…

    How should we know to come to him? Through the Scriptures.
    Let him who has ears hear... said Wisdom Incarnate.

  • Al Cruise

    I will refine it a bit. Never go to conservative evangelicals for wisdom.

  • soter phile

    And never go to progressives for truth. Wisdom ≠ “whatever you want it to be.”

  • R/R 2016

    Conclusion: The Bible says do not go to the Bible because the Bible never says go to the Bible.

    Reduction: The Bible says the negative because it doesn’t say the affirmative. Or more succinctly, the Bible says because it doesn’t.

    No thanks.

  • Patrick

    How about trusting the Holy Spirit? See John 14: 16-17 and 26

  • Iain Lovejoy

    Your reading comprehension seems remarkably poor. The author expressly says the Bible points to Christ, that the Bible is where you go to learn about God, rather than for wisdom for answers to questions about how to deal with the kids, or job worries, or whether to buy a house etc.
    Did you actually read the whole thing?

  • soter phile

    Evidently you haven’t read many of Keith’s blogs.
    Before you lecture me about reading comprehension, go read some of them & catch the theme.

    The ol’ “bibliolator” meme is a caricature – a purposeful red herring.
    The greater issue is Keith wants to use that caricature to avoid what the Scriptures say.

    Case in point: revisit what he said above about John 5:39-40.
    He says: Jesus urged us not to search in the scriptures for life… (his emphasis)
    As I said before, what is the very next phrase out of Jesus’ mouth?

    So, how’s your reading comprehension?

  • Iain Lovejoy

    John 5:39-40:
    “You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that testify on my behalf, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”
    The “very next phrase” you refer to is “yet you refuse to come to me to have life”.
    The passage says not to search the scriptures for eternal life, but come to Jesus directly, just like the scriptures (and the above article) say to do. It would be impossible to be more plain.
    I really do wonder if you actually are capable of mentally processing written English. When I said this earlier it was just intended as a bit of a diss, but now I seriously wonder if you can actually see words written on a page and form your own conclusion as to their meaning based on what you see, rather than project onto what you are seeing what you already believe, or are told to believe, unconnected to anything you in fact see written in front of you.
    How did the letters on the page assemble themselves in front of you that what you see when you look is the exact opposite of what is written down? I am genuinely intrigued now.

  • Just-a-me

    Love seeing your posts, R/R–too bad I’m blocked from practically every writer that I’d be able to plus them.

  • Just-a-me

    Here’s what this post practically confirms for me:
    Progressive Christianity (yes, you are a part of it) is seeking to be “edgy”, not truthful. So they begin producing immature material such as this, because they begin selling the “gotcha” hook. The problem is, perhaps God tells you to go to the bible?

    All I’m trying to say is, sometimes is less diabolical to just be silent–I recognize you gotta sell your books and all and stay relevant as a blogger, but at what point are you supposed to do something else with that time?

  • Just-a-me

    Iain, it’s really simple:
    Jesus saying “You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life” nor anything that follows that phrase implies “don’t search the scriptures.”

    The passage says not to search the scriptures for eternal life”
    *Face palm* no it doesn’t.

  • Iain Lovejoy

    Someone else with reading comprehension issues.
    If a person says “You think X, but Y is true” do they mean (a) you were right to think that X is true or (b) you were wrong to think X is true?
    The correct answer, for anyone who understands how language works, is (b). If you are incapable of grasping something as basic as this, there is simply no point in your reading anything more complicated than, say, a children’s bedtime story, because you will lack the capacity to comprehend it.

  • Just-a-me

    “You think X, but Y is true”
    Iain, what is X that they whom Jesus was speaking to believe. In addition, what is Y that is true in your above proposition?

  • Iain Lovejoy

    The verse is written in completely plain English and you have quoted it yourself.

  • Just-a-me

    What a wuss. Here you go:
    Proposition X: “You believe that the scriptures have eternal life in them.”
    Proposition Y: “What’s is true is that I [Jesus] am the giver of that eternal life.”

    Nothing here implies it is bad to search the scriptures or to not search the scriptures.

    Plain English, you arrogant, smug, and insulting abuser of scripture.

  • soter phile

    You quoted the verse but bypassed the next phrase – even though you quoted it.
    Do we have to diagram the sentence?

    No, the very next phrase is not “yet your refuse to come to me…”
    that’s the second phrase after.
    the very next phrase is “these are the Scriptures that testify on my behalf…

    that’s exactly the opposite of Keith’s claim.
    Jesus is not saying “do not go to the Scriptures.”
    He’s saying “read the Scriptures, but don’t miss the point: namely, me!”

    He’s calling out the religious right for reading the Scriptures and missing the main point.
    That’s the direct opposite of Keith’s asinine “do not go to the Scriptures.”
    NO – as you yourself wrote – it is they that testify on my behalf.

    ‘Reading the Scriptures should have led you to me.’ That’s his entire point!

    That is not “come to Jesus directly” (as if people prior to Jesus’ birth or after his ascension had the same option as the Pharisees here). There is no claim at some direct mystical access to Jesus apart from the God-ordained means (i.e., the same Holy Spirit that lives in believers [1 Cor.3:16] is the One who wrote the Scriptures [2 Pet.1:20-21] which Keith is now denigrating in order to bypass what he doesn’t like). Instead, he says: “the Scriptures are the very place that should have led you to look for me – as you see me now.”

    And so for us: want to hear from Jesus? Want to know who he is? Go to His Word.

  • Iain Lovejoy

    Right. So it’s Keith’s blog you lack the capacity to understand (or have so far just read the title and not bothered to read the words underneath).
    Keith didn’t say don’t go to the Bible, he said don’t go to the Bible looking for wisdom in your everyday life. He says, as you (now) say, that the Bible points to God, and is there to go to read about God, not for wisdom in your everyday life.
    It’s always nice when everyone is now in agreement.

  • Cynthia Brown Christ

    What do you make of the verses he quoted for this article? Can you refute them with verses of your own choosing?

    Why should anybody believe your tear
    down of the more progressive christians that believe in the word and works of christ?

  • Cynthia Brown Christ

    Well, that is what the verses quoted in this article are clearly saying.

  • Cynthia Brown Christ

    I agree. Conservative evangelicals have the faith and the comprehension of a 6th grader, or am I being generous with that grade?

    Their pastors tell them what to believe, and teach them that questioning, and getting a deeper knowledge of the scriptures is a BAD BAD thing.

    And BTW, look up the word for word. It never meant the written word, but rather the wisdom of God/Christ. Logos.

    It has been translated for the dumbed down conservative evangelicals, who cannot yet see the truth, the depth of truth found in God/Christ.

  • Just-a-me

    Is it not wise to point people to Christ?

  • soter phile

    Assuming the least of those with whom you disagree – isn’t that what progressives normally accuse conservatives of doing?

    And an emphatic NO on your ‘word for word’ claim.
    It is written… (Gk. gegraptai) is literally what it says: written.
    Never mind the fact that Jesus was constantly quoting it… and claiming it all points to Him.

  • soter phile

    Now you are being asinine as well…

    Here’s the quote from Keith above:
    What’s more, Jesus urged us not to search in the scriptures for life, but to come directly to Him. [See John 5:39-40]

    At no point did Jesus urge us “not to search the Scriptures for life” or “come directly to me” (i.e., apart from the Scriptures) – especially not as pitted against some sort of mystical direct access to Christ (as Keith is intimating).

    The very next phrase (as I’ve said repeatedly – and which Keith purposefully ignores, not just here but in most of his blog entries) stresses that Jesus expects us to go to the Scriptures.

    Keith’s entire point is to remove the Scriptures as authoritative.
    Jesus’ entire ministry (including his comment here in Jn.5) is precisely the opposite.

    These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me for life.
    That’s not: “don’t go to Scripture” or “go to Scripture but you won’t find life there” – no, the entire point is “go to Scripture because you should find life – namely me – there.”

    The tragedy is not that they go to the Scriptures.
    The tragedy is that they do not see Jesus there. (Ironies abound for Keith here.)

  • Iain Lovejoy

    Your seem to be unable to grasp Keith’s point because you don’t actually have or believe in or even understand what it would mean to have any experience of Jesus or God other other than reading about him in a book: exactly the same problem that Jesus saw in the Pharisees and condemned. “Some sort of mystical direct access to Christ” is what “coming to Jesus” means, not signing up to your church of choice’s theological position statement in order to book your ticket to a better class of afterlife.

  • soter phile

    Now you are fully joining Keith in his oversimplification. You might as well call biblical conservatives “bibliolators.” I have yet to meet a conservative who matches your caricature.

    No, the point is that God alone dictates the terms on which we come to know him.
    And Jesus repeatedly & clearly affirms the Scriptures as the way we would know him.

    Yes, there remains an existential and mystical element to that – but at no point is that conceiving of God apart from or (as Keith often asserts) contrary to the Scriptures, which are God’s own Word about Himself.

    That is not signing up for “your church of choice’s theological position statement.”
    Read the Gospels. Nobody quotes the Scriptures more than Jesus. Nobody.
    And he says they are all about him. And he calls out the Pharisees for failing to see that.

    So if one claims to follow Jesus, why not share his view of the Scriptures?
    No, I’m not failing to grasp Keith’s point. Peruse his blogs with that question in mind.