Here’s something that will shock those “Bible-Believing” defenders of Orthodoxy: Jesus admitted there was more for us to know than what he told us. In other words, everything God has to say to humanity is NOT contained in the Bible.
How do we know? Because the Bible tells me so.
For example, just before he’s taken away to be crucified, Jesus says something more than mildly shocking to his disciples:
“I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them at the present time. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.” -[John 16:12-13]
So, the words of Jesus found in the New Testament are not the entire sum total of wisdom and truth that God wanted to communicate to us.
There is more to know than we already know. The Bible is incomplete.
The Truth is still “out there”, or “in here” if you prefer.
What’s more, according to the author of the Gospel of John, what’s in the New Testament isn’t even a complete picture of everything Jesus said or did:
“Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” [John 21:25]
Whenever another Christian tries to tell you that the only way to know Christ is through the Bible, and that the Bible is the only way we could ever know anything about Jesus, please quote these two verses above to them. Remind them that, according to the Bible, the Scriptures are an incomplete picture and record of who Jesus was and what Jesus said or did.
You might also remind them that, according to the Bible [and Jesus], the best way to hear the voice of God [and Jesus] is to draw near to the Spirit and….listen.
Or, as God compels us: “Be still and know that I am God.” [Ps. 46:10]
This might also be a good opportunity to mention that the word “Scripture” never actually appears in the original Greek text of the oft-quoted passage: “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.” [2 Tim. 3:16]
This gross mistranslation of the text forces a meaning here that is frankly not here at all. The word translated as “Scripture” in our English Bibles is actually the very common Greek word “graphis” which simply means “the writings.” A better way to translate this text might be something closer to:
“All of the God-breathed writings are useful for teaching, correction and training in righteousness…”
This begs the question, then: “What are the God-breathed writings?”
And I would suggest that “God-breathed writings” are any writings that “are useful for teaching, correction and training in righteousness.”
What are those? Well, you tell me. My list is probably a bit different from yours, and that’s okay. At least, it was okay for every single follower of Christ for the first 300 years or so. In fact, this is why we see that every early Church Father, teacher, thinker and writer prior to the Canonization of Scripture each had their very own, unique list of writings that they considered sacred or “scripture” – and guess what – everyone was totally fine with this individualized perspective on what writings were “God-breathed” and which were not.
I’d love for us to get back to that way of thinking. We have just as much authority as those who sat on the appointed Council of Rome or the Council of Trent to determine what writings “are useful” to our “training in righteousness” or not.
What writings do you find inspiring? Which voices resonate with your spirit and draw you closer to God? What are the words, poems, songs, lyrics, stories, films, or plays that whisper Truth to your innermost being? Who are the people who inspire you, bless you, heal you, set you free, touch you, affirm you, release you, cleanse you, or teach you like no other?
Jesus promised us there was more to know than we know. The Gospel writers affirmed that more was spoken than we have ever written down.
The Canon is only closed if your own heart and mind are also closed. Once we open ourselves up to the living God and receive the Truth that continues to resonate and reverberate throughout the universe, our inner tuning forks will begin to vibrate accordingly.
Never stop searching. Never stop seeking. Never reach the end of your curiosity about God, Life, Truth, Wisdom, or Love.
Embrace the endlessly unfolding Mystery of Christ.
This is the river of living water that Jesus promised would flow from within us. This is the abundant life that he said he came to show us. This is what it means to abide in Christ, as Christ abides in you. Not a “knowing” of facts, but a “knowing” that evokes a deep intimacy that transcends knowledge, or vocabulary.
Never settle for a glass of certainty when you can become immersed in the endlessly unfolding ocean of mystery that is Christ.
Want to see Scripture thru the lens of Christ? This 3-week online course will guide you away from the dry desert of the Flat-Bible perspective and into the wide-open wonder of the Jesus-Centric approach to the Bible.
Jesus Unbound: Reading Scripture Thru The Lens Of Christ starts August 9, 2021.
Keith Giles is the author of the best-selling “Jesus Un” series of books available on Kindle and Paperback at Amazon HERE>
He’s also the co-host of The Heretic Happy Hour podcast, the Peace Catalyst Podcast, and the new Imaginary Lines podcast.
He lives in El Paso, TX with his wife, Wendy.