The Only Problem with the Bible


2 Corinthians 13:5 (NIV)

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?


“Wake up sleeper and rise from the dead . . .

Your turn: “And Christ will shine on you!” 

As we head to our next destination, I want to have a small sidebar with you. I want us to look at the little card on which we wrote yesterday:

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?

And if for some reason you didn’t actually do it, I’ll give you a mulligan. Do it now. Why? Because the many martyrs who gave their lives in response to the revelation of the Word of God—that it might come to us—never intended that these words would remain bound in a book on our shelf or bedside table or stuck in an app on our phone. The only reason the Word of God has been bound into books is so it might become unbounded in our hearts, our minds, our very flesh and blood bodies and unleashed through our lives in the world. We are meant to become living bearers, holy manifestations, burning bushes, Spirit-filled fiery pillars of the living Word of God who is Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah. 

Before the New Testament was the New Testament it was thousands of little scraps of papyrus and parchment on which were inscribed the inspired revelation of the Holy Spirit to and through human beings. Bits of this gospel account and that one, pieces of this letter and that sermon, this verse and that passage, carefully scribed in multiple copies and then unleashed into the world through apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers. It took a few centuries to collect and compare and collate all of this under the most rigorous processes you could imagine, to come into the document we know today as the New Testament. 

The Word of God was inspired by the Spirit of God and inscribed by the people of God for one reason—that it might be transcribed by the Spirit of God onto the tablets of human hearts and transcendently enfleshed in the lives of human beings—the image bearers of God. 

From the very earliest days, we get signature instructions like these:

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:6–9)

The dear saint who handed me the carefully crafted business card last Sunday was living out Deuteronomy 6:6–9 via 2 Corinthians 13:5.

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?

We must get the Word of God out of its bookish bindings and into the many varied processes that unleash it into our lives. The Spirit is ever searching for, willing, and working to sow the Word of God into the deepest recesses of our heart and mind. The only problem with the Bible is its bindings. It is a problem easily solved. 

It starts by writing it on a card. (smile emoji here) 

Still day one. 


Father, how we thank you for your Word, your inspired, revealed, powerful Word. Thank you that it has been written down and bound in a book. Thank you for the Bible—THE BOOK. And thank you for your Son, Jesus, who is this Word perfectly unveiled in an actual flesh and blood person—the Word made flesh—the one who is fully human and fully divine. How we love you Jesus. And thank you for the Holy Spirit, who gloriously brings all of this into our lives. We are all gratitude and praise today. Praying in Jesus’ name, amen.  


How do you go about getting the Word of God out of the bindings of the book and into the shape of Deuteronomy 6:6–9? 

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt

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P.S. There is still time to jump into the Holy Spirit Course. It starts Monday. 

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

4 Responses

  1. Good word!
    Truthful words!
    The only challenge (problem) I had was the title. The problem is not the Bible but people. When I read the title, I wondered if you chose it to see if it would churn our thinking. It did. And it didn’t stop me from reading the devotion; it helped me to understand that by examining the Bible, I can examine myself.
    It reminds me of a story where a pastor’s who purposely said the word “dam” (misspelled on purpose) in his sermon. Then he commented that many missed the message after that because they concentrated on him saying this word. Then the story goes, we shouldn’t critically focus on the person, for none are perfect, but on the message.
    I get it.
    But, if he hadn’t said “that” word, no one wouldn’t have lost focus because of it.

    1. I kinda like the title. As you say it shakes you up and provokes a careful read. Upon doing so we find out the problem with the Bible is not in the Bible itself, but in our binding up of the words in a book that is (dutifully read) then pretty much forgotten, when we ought instead to be absorbing the Word into our hearts, minds and everything we think, say and do, and so as rivers of life would be proclaiming it the world, as did the martyrs.
      I like your story, Doc. Awful paradox isn’t it.

      One name only

  2. JD, if I’m understanding your question correctly ; you’re asking how are we allowing the WORD of God (Jesus) to dwell in our hearts richly and thereby transform us into the manifest image of himself. I believe it begins by immersing oneself into the study and meditation of God’s written word. Then the sharing of insights revealed with other Saints to test proper interpretation. Finally sharing theses revealed truths with those individuals whom God places in your path in some sort of small group setting. God has placed upon my heart the need to seek out individuals who have strayed away from the “institutional church “ like the one sheep in the parable of the lost sheep, and invite them to reconnect with the body of Christ through a small group setting. Many of these folks require some sort of spiritual triage due to having been injured by an experience within the institutional church.

  3. –Be a Scripture Catcher–

    Jesus told His disciples
    That the Holy Spirit
    “Will remind you
    Of everything
    I have said to you.”
    Let God’s Spirit speak
    Scriptures in your spirit.
    Catch them when they come
    And let them
    Repeat in your heart,
    Spreading like fire
    Within you.

    To be reminded of the words of Jesus you have to have read or heard them first. So read the Bible every day with tenderness and let God write it on the tablet of your heart. Then ask God to remind you of what you have read. When Scriptures come to your mind, ponder them. Let them repeat over and over in your consciousness. Cherish and treasure them. Savor them like a refreshing spring of water in a toasty desert.

    Gather with other Christ-followers and go beyond an intellectual, knowledge-based Bible Study. Instead, pray together and ask the Holy Spirit to remind everyone present of Bible verses. Then allow anyone in the gathering to freely quote Scriptures as they come to mind. This is an amazing (even life-changing) experience–to sit quietly with a group of believers sharing Scriptures one after the other. Why not try it the next time you gather with your band? You’ll be glad you did!

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