“You don’t need Christ, you just need Scripture”

The Pharisees were the first to think, “You don’t need Christ, you just need Scripture.” They didn’t think they needed Christ at all, because they knew Scripture, and that’s what counted. They had their beloved Old Testament, and in their minds that’s what gave them the edge. Scripture made them feel secure. It made them feel good. It also made them feel superior, which also felt good!

When Christ turned up, however, he focused their attention on himself. “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew ME, you would know my Father as well,” John 14:6-7.

There was only one way to know God, find God and experience the life, the comfort and the security of God. It wasn’t through knowledge of Scripture, it was through knowing Christ. So Jesus switched their thinking to, “Don’t depend on Scripture for all your needs, depend on me,” which he made abundantly clear to the Pharisees when he told them, “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that BY THEM you possess eternal life,” John 5:39 – but what they really needed to understand was, “These are Scriptures that testify about ME, yet,” verse 40, “you refuse to COME TO ME to have life.”

I made the same mistake. I thought the way to knowing God, finding God and experiencing the life of God was through knowing the Scriptures. Study enough and “the way” to God, “the truth” about God, and the door to eternal life itself would all open up to me. So I studied and studied and studied. I did hundreds of sermons, involving thousands of hours poring over Scripture. I discovered amazing things as I studied, and I could whistle round Scripture in the most impressive way in public.

But at no point did I realize my need for Christ. What did I need him for anyway? I knew Scripture, and that’s what made me “come alive.” How, then, did I come “alive WITH CHRIST,” Colossians 2:13? And what did Paul mean when he said, “Christ is your life,” Colossians 3:4?

But then, one day, it hit me. I was in a black mood at the time, frustrated and in despair at how little my life actually reflected all that I’d been studying. But it helped me realize that life isn’t about what I know, it’s about Jesus sending me the Holy Spirit to live everything that HE is in me. It’s about time, therefore, I let the Holy Spirit lead me to Jesus Christ as the source of my life and love. And study Scripture to keep that in focus instead.


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