By Neal Griffin

Idolatry is idol worship and those who do it are idolaters. Bibliolatry is book worship and those who do it are idolaters. The Pharisees of Jesus' time were such. Jesus said that they looked to the Scriptures for eternal life. They Deified the Scriptures. Eternal life is of God. Matthew 19:26. They were so into the written word that they missed the point of it. They failed to see that it directed them to the Incarnate Word. They failed to see that salvation is in a Person and not in a book.

There is a world of difference between the written word and the Incarnate Word. The written word is not the Incarnate Word. Jesus is the Word of God. The written word can be dated. It had a beginning and will have an end but the Incarnate Word always was and always is. He is the "I Am" of the book of Exodus. In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. John 1:1. The Incarnate Word is Deity and the written word is paper and ink. Elevating the written word to Deity is "bibliolatry".

Having a healthy regard for the written word is noble, good, and becoming of all sons of God. It is the inordinate affection toward it that Jesus attacked in John 5:39. Inordinate in the sense that the written word is elevated to Deity, and that is exactly what this writer has in mind. If our reading of the written word does not bring us to focus on the Incarnate Word we, like the Pharisees, simply have missed the point of it. If our reading of Scripture brings us to issues instead of bringing us to Jesus we have missed the point of it. The Incarnate Word is the focus of all Scripture. All Scripture was written for and by Him. The glory of all Scripture is in Him.

Book worship has several inherent dangers. It causes men to legislate their private interpretations into law status and teach for doctrine the commandments of men. It causes men to claim that the truth of their intellectual conclusions are God inferred and that anyone who does not comply is refusing to comply with the Word of God. The Incarnate Word is easy and His burden is light. Even the simple can understand His Gospel message but the one-hundred or so issues that are generated by the written word are not so easy to understand. There is wide-spread disagreement on its meaning even among those who hold the Bible as Deity. Hardly ever can they get through a gathering of Saints without a bitter dispute over its meaning. It causes men to form parties around their conclusions and gives birth to new sects. It is not the written word that causes sects. It is the inordinate affection for it--the Deifying of it, that causes sects.

As was the case with the Pharisees bibliolatry brings its readers to issues. Their focus is on issues. Jesus said that the written word points to Him but bibliolaters are never pointing to Jesus, pointing to Who He is, and what He has done to effect salvation. Their focus is on what man does to effect salvation. Their's is an intellectual relationship with a book while Jesus is pleading for an intimate relationship with Him. They Deify their private interpretations and insist on compliance. Their continual arguing, prompted by pride, can have but one purpose and that is to focus on their intellectual prowess. Maintaining, in the bond of peace, the unity of the Spirit is not their goal. Maintaining control is their goal and the goal of sectarianism and denominationalism.

Our unity is in Jesus. He has made us one with Him. He is in us and we are in Him. It would appear to me that maintaining this relationship "in the bond of peace" is a very small request for Him to make in light of all that He has done for us so I am, by the tender mercies of Jesus and in His Name, calling on all who feel compelled to Deify the written word to consider these thoughts in light of the Incarnate Word.

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