No Bible? Know Christ.

No Bible? Know Christ. April 1, 2019

 

Every single time I try to point out that the Bible never points us to the Bible, but always points us to Christ, and that we can know Christ without the Bible, someone always says this:

“But, Keith, you wouldn’t know anything about Christ without the Bible.”

And that’s the problem, I think.

See, people who have made the menu the meal, or confused the map with the treasure, cannot understand that there’s someone beyond the written words ABOUT Jesus and the realization that those written words are telling you to have an experience WITH Jesus.

So, my usual response to this statement that “We can’t know anything about Jesus without the Bible” is this:

If I came to your house and took every Bible away from you, would you have no connection to Christ?

Sadly, for many Christians, the answer would be “Yes,” but I suspect for many of them the answer is actually “No.”

See, we read about Jesus and learn information about Jesus from the Bible, certainly. But, once we actually encounter Christ and become filled with the Holy Spirit, then [according to the Bible, and to actual experience] we begin to KNOW Christ and the Father in a more real, intimate way.

Does that mean we don’t need the Bible? Does that mean we toss it out? Or stop reading it?

Never.

But, what it does mean is this: We stop trying to make the menu the meal and we start feasting on the Bread of Life and the Living Water that we receive daily through our vital connection with Christ.

If this is hard for you to grasp, there’s a very good chance you have not truly understood those words that you’ve read in that Book.

This is why I keep trying to explain this to my brothers and sisters in Christ. I’m not trying to diminish the Bible. Far from it. I’m trying to do what the Bible does: Elevate Christ!

Jesus is the Word of God. Jesus became flesh and dwelt among us. Jesus abides in us as we abide in Christ.

We are called to know Christ in an intimate way that goes way beyond mere information and that truly inspires transformation from within.

No book can do that for you. It may tell you that it’s possible, but you have to move beyond the idea and step into the reality.

Try it.

**

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.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Respectfully, Kieth, i disagree – it seems to me as if you’ve setup a false dichotomy between the person of Christ and his word; which he directly identifies with in John 14, in conversation with Thomas (popularly known as the doubter). He states that, “I am the way – the truth – & the life…” inpart directly identifying Himself with the truth of G-d’s word. And secondly Paul does the same in Romans 10:17, pointing us back to the word as source material for our faith.

  • olbab

    Sounds like you are conflating the Word that God spoke to create everything, and the Bible. ALSO, Paul and John both predate the New Testament almost by definition. But this is not so respectfully…

  • I just re-read John 14 and found no reference whatsoever to the Bible. I think you may be reading into that chapter what you would like it to say.

    Jesus says that he came to fulfill the Scriptures and now they are passing away. We don’t need them now that we have Christ living within us. The entire New Covenant is that everyone would know God personally and intimately. Now, because of Christ, we can all know God directly. No one needs to say, “Know the Lord” because all can know God through Christ.

    Also, I really think you’re misunderstanding the “I am the way, truth and life” verse. He is the exact image of the Father and no one will come to know the Father except through knowing Christ. [And we don’t need a Bible to do that].

    Christ is the cornerstone of our faith. Christ is the foundation that has been laid for our faith. Not the Bible. The Bible never claims to be our foundation, but in the Bible we hear that Christ is the foundation.

  • John Campbell

    The Scriptures are not the end. ALL Scripture points to Jesus Christ.
    “You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me, that you may have life…. the one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have set your hope. If you believed Moses, you would believe in Me; for he wrote of Me.” ( John 5)

    Peter, in Acts 3:22-23, quoting Moses in Deuteronomy 18:15,19—“ and it shall be that every soul that does not heel that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from amoung the people.”

  • Etranger

    If you do not have the bible (and years of indoctrination) you would not know what Jesus preached. So how would you know Christ?

  • KontraDiction

    You know what? I like this. This is my first time reading the Bible – all of it – and I find it deeply problematic in so many ways, it’s hard to imagine anyone thinking it’s all talking about the same religion (there are at least three religions described, by my count). It’s history is sketchy, such as Keith demonstrated above. Plus the rife inconsistencies. Plus an entire world of context that is just missing. AND mistranslations?! I’ll be honest, most of the Bible is not for me.

    But I like that I don’t need any book. Love is love, and something deep in me comes alive when I witness it in others or experience it myself. I don’t care what you call it, but I know I want to move toward it like a plant to the sunlight, for the same reason. Book or no, the sun shines on all of us the same.

  • Once again Keith I must give you a lot of credit for going where so few dare, or more correctly are even aware of. So many Bible indoctrinated Christians fear the very Truth that you are sharing with them! The early Christian followers of the Apostles and Disciples and their converts were won over by the spoken spirit filled words of the enlightened. They were Truth hungry Souls who recognized the wisdom and love of our Heavenly Father as revealed by the life and words of Jesus before they were ever written. Each Blessed Soul could hear the voice of our Savior and Shepard, which resonated with the spirit of God within them. The same has always been True. The written word points to, frames, and illustrates beautifully the love of God for us all, but it is the Living Word of God, as revealed in Jesus, the Christ, who we must come to Know in our hearts, to love God and His Divine Purpose for human life.

  • Armed Citizen

    i agree with @a_Jpusa_survivor:disqus – as i find the Bible to be God’s Word and by knowing It, we know of Him.

    Jesus Christ IS Truth ~ John 14:6
    Thy Word IS Truth ~ John 17:17
    Thy Commandments ARE Truth ~ Psalm 119:142/151

    i don’t believe that there is any difference between knowing the Bible and knowing Jesus Christ – as these are the Words of God.
    again, Steve is right – false dichotomy.

  • bigriver00

    Except every Christian prior to the creation of your new sect in 1840 believed differently than you do.

    Did you have an answer as to why?

    Did you want to claiming your superior knowledge and faith to those that faced death and persecution for their Christian beliefs – and who you won’t even call “Christian?”

  • It can happen that people realise that God speaks through the Bible, but they make the sound of that Voice synonymous with the Bible rather than God. I liken it to an iPod. With an iPod, what comes through is the music but the iPod is not the artist that did the music.

    Similarly, the Bible is of course (one of the) means by which God speaks, but it is not God and some people make the mistake of deifying the Bible for that reason.

  • But the Word became flesh, not the Word became a Book.

  • Also, the question that springs to my mind is this: before the Bible was ‘completed’, and given that most people could not read in those days anyway, these people could not have known Him via the Bible.

    Another thing is that I’d much rather have my wife here for real rather than just her love letters….

  • By spending time with Him. How else do you really get to know someone? Certainly not by just reading about them. I could read all I want about Billy Graham, for example, but I wouldn’t really know him unless I had actually spent quality time with him. Although I appreciate it’s a bit late for that 😉

  • Etranger

    Spending time with Him….interesting. I think we probably do the same thing but I call it talking to myself/connecting with my conscience.

  • Chuck Johnson

    Keith, you are foolish to set up this argument or conflict between Jesus and the Bible.

    The things of value are the lessons, the knowledge and the understandings.
    Jesus provides the knowledge and the Bible also provides the knowledge.
    They cooperate.

    The radio (program) provides the music and the radio (machine) also provides the music.
    They cooperate.

  • Armed Citizen

    and He left us with His Word, which He quoted from often.
    you denying the Word of our Creator, Tony?

  • Armed Citizen

    ‘…some people make the mistake of deifying the Bible for that reason.’

    while i have personally never seen nor heard of a Christian bowing to or praying to the Bible – It is held in reverence as It is His explicit will in written form and as such, the easiest and most thorough way to know Him.

    i do find it sad that the majority of folks i have come into contact only demote the Words in the Bible if they happen to be catholic.

    Jesus Christ used ‘It is written – when exposing satan and his evil.
    today Christians still do this.

  • Armed Citizen

    and if one doesn’t have knowledge of the Word – they can easily be misled as the Word is the measuring stick for Truth – Isaiah 8:20.

    (@disqus_nxavioAbSu:disqus )

  • Armed Citizen

    well said, Chuck!
    why would any create a false dichotomy like this is beyond me.

  • Iain Lovejoy

    Jesus didn’t leave us with the Bible – as far as we know he didn’t write down a single word, none of the books of the Bible were written until decades after his death, resurrection and ascension, the Gospels were written even later than the letters from Paul etc that we have preserved, the process for producing a canon of books that later became the Bible not even started until at least a century and a half later and the first official Bible canon not produced until the late 4th Century, over three hundred years after Jesus left.
    The Bible is a subsequent product of the church recording its understanding of the message of Jesus, it is Jesus himself, not the Bible, who is the Word of God.
    If you can’t be a Christian or know Christ without the Bible, the founding fathers of the Christian faith were not Christian.

  • John

    Agreed. This is a case of both/and, not either/or. I don’t think Keith is intending to denigrate scripture or even minimize its importance, but I find that many progressives who left evangelicalism often overplay the problems they have with it in order to make a seemingly corrective point. I don’t know any evangelical who would really argue with knowing Christ by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and how this brings to life what we read in scripture. He, and others, are prone to taking a selective angle with their criticism of evangelical beliefs and creating certain caricature that supports their points.

  • Armed Citizen

    Jesus quoted Scripture and showed Christians how important the Word is. history, archaeology and prophecy all confirm the inspiration can only be that from God, the Creator Himself.
    it has told and tells us things that only He could have shown us.

    now, it’s very thoroughly showing all what is happening in the last days.

    ‘The Bible is a subsequent product of the church recording its understanding of the message of Jesus, it is Jesus himself, not the Bible, who is the Word of God.’

    false dichotomy – John 1:1,14 ~ ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God….And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us….’

    ‘If you can’t be a Christian or know Christ without the Bible, the founding fathers of the Christian faith were not Christian.’

    what makes you think that John, Peter, James, Mark, etc – didn’t have the Scriptures?
    after all, Jesus was often quoting from them on Sabbath.

    while our Creator and Redeemer can surely judge one righteously by knowing their heart, one would be very much lacking if they were able to access the Bible and didn’t do such.

    again – Jesus said ‘It is written
    so if one wants to be Christian (Christ-like) then they too better comprehend what is written – as He is our ultimate Example.

  • R/R 2016

    “… according to the Bible…”
    “Jesus says that he came to fulfill the Scriptures…”

    Weird. While making an argument against the authority of Scripture, you appeal to the authority of Scripture.

  • Chuck Johnson

    Yes, exaggeration is often used as a tool of communication.

  • High Tony! Greeting you from mid-Willamette Valley in Oregon. I hope you remember me? I think you are just wonderful!

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/972b72fcddb424015cbb39b51596b7fcb8559c7ad4420fad7ceaf6ae707d6c79.jpg

  • Damian Matthew Hall

    I don’t read the Bible really and I have a living relationship with Christ, who is better off? And how do you know I haven’t found another way in which to learn these lessons, even another book?

  • Hi Charles! Hehe thanks 🙂 Yes, I certainly do remember you, in fact I just recently read one of your comments on my blog. I haven’t been doing many comments on Disqus of late, which Is why it looks like I have gone missing 😉 Hope you’re doing well 🙂

  • No. He’s my Best Friend 🙂

  • Armed Citizen

    ‘But the Word became flesh, not the Word became a Book.’

    then why the false dichotomy?
    we learn about our Saviour Jesus Christ by studying His Word – if we study the Bible – it’s Him speaking to us – and guiding us through the Holy Spirit.

    ‘No. He’s my Best Friend :)’

    excellent!
    then you should be excellent at knowing His life and desires for us – start with John 14:15 – if you do love Jesus – doesn’t this say that you should keep His Commandments?

    start tonight – sundown – by recognizing the LORDs day and keeping the Sabbath Holy!

  • Harvey James Johnson

    I learned about Jesus Christ from my parents, grandparents and great aunt, who learned from theirs, all the way back to St Paul. But I made the same mistake for a long time, thinking it was the Bible. Since then, I accept the Bible as the source and norm of my faith that keeps me from making up all kinds of stuff about Jesus and theology. Of course, sometimes the Bible doesn’t even do that when it is interpreted contrary to the “real” Word of God, namely Jesus.

  • And by now am regretting the use of a popular refrain of a “false dichotomy!” But there it stands! As well as to say i regard Kieth as a freind, even if i cannot spell his name right! But no, KG is no fool! I only think we’ve overcorrected from institutional to house church paradigms. But if anyone’s foolish, it is i for dropping that bomb!

  • Chuck Johnson

    There are many ways to learn all sorts of lessons.
    I am an atheist, and I give no special privilege or credibility to lessons that are said to be from a magical or miraculous source.

    They are just “said to be” from such special sources.

  • I fully agree that Jesus speaks to us through the Bible. But that’s not the only way; specifically in this context I wonder: do you believe that Jesus can teach us personally about Himself, directly, in addition to Him speaking through a book? (I do have a comment/reply on Jn 14:15 but I won’t give it just now so I don’t pose a double question.)

  • Armed Citizen

    ‘do you believe that Jesus can teach us personally about Himself, directly, in addition to Him speaking through a book?’

    absolutely – but why would we presume when it’s all been written?
    also – yes, however, it will never be in opposition to what the Bible teaches – Isaiah 8:20.

  • Good to hear that. To answer your (probably rhetorical) ‘why presume…’, I would say that I’d far rather hear my Loved One’s voice than simply read it. When my wife was alive, I’d far rather hear her voice in my ears than read our old love letters from when we were dating.

    I too used to think that about Jesus never speaking in opposition to what the Bible says. But, firstly, that meas that we also have to believe that Jesus agrees with such verses as Psalm 137:9: ‘Happy is he seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks’. No doubt such difficult verses can always be explained away, but there will always be someone – maybe not you or I, but someone, somewhere – who believes that Jesus agrees with the idea of smashing children’s heads in makes some bloke somewhere happy…and this leads to the second objection in that I’m sure we both know that it’s not as simple as just reading the plain Scripture in a flat way and apportioning it all the same ‘authority’. One of the reasons there are thousands of Christian denominations is precisely because of different interpretations of Scripture – and that’s before we start talking about different translations and whatnot. My point for this second objection is that the Bible is rarely clear on what Jesus is saying, especially when two verses appear to contradict – which in places they do (e.g. Prov 26:4, 5) – when you take into account different interpretations. If it was that clear, then there would be no discussion. So how would we know whether what Jesus is speaking to us, personally, is in accordance with Scripture if our interpretation that we’ve held all our lives is different from what He actually meant originally?

    I’m not presenting this as a challenge; to me this is a serious question which I am still working on, and probably will be for the rest of my life. But for me, at the moment, it means that I would trust the voice of Jesus that I know (being one of His sheep, and all that) over a merely human interpretation of a Scripture passage, and if that means changing my view on what it means for me today (which was probably originally given me by someone else like a pastor or someone), in the light of what Jesus has said, then who am I to argue with my Master and Shepherd?

  • Armed Citizen

    paragraph 1 – presuming that you can hear His voice is not something that i’d recommend.

    paragraph 2 – this verse is dealing with the Babylonians – know the context, Tony -this IS the key to Truth.

    the Bible has zero contradictions – but it’s very obvious that you believe It does – this is a sickness, Sir -a catholic sickness which has no good ending for it.

    paragraph 3 – i left roman catholicism because they aren’t following basics, Sir. see, when understanding the Bible you must first start with the non-negotiables – then build from there.

    for me – i start to build upon His Ten Commandments – and sadly, this automatically eliminates most of the one’s who claim Christianity (let me know if you need more on this). you end it with

    ‘…in the light of what Jesus has said, then who am I to argue with my Master and Shepherd?’

    my Friend – if you’re questioning the Bible – you haven’t yet heard the voice of Jesus Christ as the Words of our Wonderful Creator and Counselor are that of the Holy Bible.

    i seriously recommend you leave romanism, Sir – before they ruin more of your outlook on Truth.
    but if you have any more serious questions, just know that i will base them totally upon the Word of our Creator and His Truth.

  • Well, I tried to be reasonable with you, but it looks from here as if you have superiority complex. ‘Sir’, indeed! What a shame; I was hoping for a much more reasoned and discursive response. If you can’t cope with someone else’s reasonable opinion without resorting to the old ‘I’m right, you’re wrong’ trick, then I would say you are the one who is missing out.

    Don’t judge my relationship with God, as I do not judge yours. I have nothing to prove to you. Feel free to have the last word; I will not be replying nor indeed reading it.

  • Armed Citizen

    you came to me buddy! i didn’t seek you out, but you sought me out to correct me – 9 days ago and 5 posts ago.
    if you can’t keep up with Biblical literacy then i suggest you leave that counterfeit occult you’re in and come to Truth, Sir.

    ‘Don’t judge my relationship with God….’

    i am no judge (yet) – but i can show you where Scripture shows that you:
    1 – don’t know God – 1 John 2:3
    2 – don’t love Him or your neighbor (1 John 5:2-3/John 14:15)
    3 – are a ‘Liar’ – 1 John 2:4

    when you enter a discussion platform Sir – come to discuss and not just correct another and then run when corrected – there is zero integrity in that.

    if you care to dig further into the Bible and the Truth that It gives to a Christian – lets discus!
    if not, i can only pray His will (eventually) to be done in your life.
    your family deserves Truth.

  • Jay Hinkelman

    Actually, I have had a Christian acquaintance tell me, straight-faced, that “Jesus is the Bible.” Meaning that somehow they were one and the same. Did she mean mystically? I’m not sure exactly what she was implying because I was so flabbergasted by the statement and then someone else intervened to put an end to the conversation, alas.

    Anyway, I suspect that she believed this because the scriptures as a whole refer to both Jesus and the scripture as the “word of God,” and since the Bible (in her mind) has a consistent message and only one author, they must be the same thing.

  • Jay Hinkelman

    Not at all. That’s like saying that if the New York Times correctly reports a SCOTUS ruling, then the Times somehow has authority equal to or greater than SCOTUS.

  • R/R 2016

    Wrong. To say that X is because Y says (or because according to Y) employs a basic mode of argument that appeals at least to the reliability of Y as a source. Of course, by “reliability”, we mean that Y is assumed to speak truly, accurately, and even authoritatively to the reality of what is. This mode of argument is known casually as an “appeal to authority”.

  • Yes, i am/ was. See the gospel according to John 14:6; wherein Jesus Himself made the very same ‘error;’ if, indeed, i am in error? But i’ll gladly err on Jesus’ side, if err i must (according to your imagination – of course – please excuse the attitude?)!