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God’s ultimate word: not a book, but Jesus

January 20, 2022

Daily Scripture

John 5:35-40; Hebrews 1:1-4

John 5:35-40

35 John was a burning and shining lamp, and, at least for a while, you were willing to celebrate in his light.

36 “I have a witness greater than John’s testimony. The Father has given me works to do so that I might complete them. These works I do testify about me that the Father sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me testifies about me. You have never even heard his voice or seen his form, 38 and you don’t have his word dwelling with you because you don’t believe the one whom he has sent. 39 Examine the scriptures, since you think that in them you have eternal life. They also testify about me, 40 yet you don’t want to come to me so that you can have life.

Hebrews 1:1-4

1 In the past, God spoke through the prophets to our ancestors in many times and many ways. 2 In these final days, though, he spoke to us through a Son. God made his Son the heir of everything and created the world through him. 3 The Son is the light of God’s glory and the imprint of God’s being. He maintains everything with his powerful message. After he carried out the cleansing of people from their sins, he sat down at the right side of the highest majesty. 4 And the Son became so much greater than the other messengers, such as angels, that he received a more important title than theirs.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Did You Know?

Resurrection offers two basic studies to help understand the Bible: “Meet Your Bible” (8 weeks) and Disciple Bible study (24-week sessions). Links when both are scheduled are on The first guiding principle for Disciple 1 Bible study groups is: “The Word of God is Jesus Christ, and the words of the Bible tell us about that Word. Therefore, when we study the words of the Bible we always look behind, in, and through the words for God’s Word—Jesus Christ.”


A fancy word for one Christian attitude is “Bibliolatry.” That means worshipping the Bible more than the God of the Bible. Jesus challenged the “bibliolatry” of some Hebrew Scripture experts. Many of them memorized huge sections of the Bible. Yet Jesus said they missed the focal point of the Bible’s story—they wouldn’t recognize him as God among them. They “knew” their Bible (at least their view of it) so well they couldn’t accept God in the flesh.

  • Scholar Scot McKnight said some Christians “read the Bible as a collection of…sanctified morsels of truth.” * But the Bible isn’t just a set of short verses, all equally true and making the same point. That’s why the writer of Hebrews said although God had spoken through the prophets “in many times and many ways,” God’s ultimate word was not a book, but a person: the Son, Jesus. How has (or can) the Bible, above all else, draw you to know and love Jesus?
  • Pastor Hamilton wrote that reading the Bible wisely calls for a principle like “a kitchen colander or strainer, holding the important things while the less desirable are rinsed off.” He said the best “strainer” is “What is the heart, character, and will of God that Jesus reveals?…It is Jesus who serves as the final Word by which other words of scripture are to be judged.” ** In what ways can making Jesus the ultimate standard of truth cast clearer light on many of the Bible’s difficult parts?

Lord Jesus, lead my mind and heart beyond theories, abstractions and rigid ideas. Meet me as I come to the Bible, and speak your life-giving word into my heart. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Janelle Gregory

Janelle Gregory

Janelle Gregory serves on the Resurrection staff as Human Resources Lead Director. Janelle finds that her heart is constantly wrestling with the truth that she needs a Savior, and the times when she's at her very best are when she's just too tired to put up a fight.

My perspective on the validity of all scripture has evolved over time. I’ll be honest, this one is a tough one for me. It would be easiest to throw scripture into one of two buckets:

Bucket 1. Every bit of text is accurate and relevant to my life. The cultural context and writer’s perspective have no application as all words in every chapter and book come directly from God. Because of this, every text carries the same weight and importance.

Bucket 2. Scripture is complete garbage.

Unfortunately, I don’t think that it is quite that simple. The Bible is a wonderful collection of testimonies, accounts, allegories, instructions, and words of hope and truth. It’s a wide variety of types of information that probably made perfect sense at the time but can be confusing for us some 2000+ years later. Yet I wonder if it should be as confusing as we try to make it, because this is also how we communicate today. For example, here is a sample of the text messages I’ve recently sent my husband:

“If you’re still at the store, can you pick up hand soap and black beans?”

“Isaac said he wants Chipotle. You good with that?”

“Did you know I love you? I do. It’s true. 😊”

I wrote each one of these and they each served a purpose for that given moment. However, let’s look at them individually. Is anything significantly lost if my husband doesn’t pick up hand soap or black beans (which, for the record, he did not)? Does it matter that our son wanted Chipotle? Sure, it helps us know that we value our son’s opinion regarding choice of dinner, but I wouldn’t say that it’s essential. It’s not what I want him to be thinking about years from now. Out of all of these messages, the only message that is going to be as significant in 20 years as it is now, is that he knows that I deeply and truly love him. That text is more relevant and more important than the others. It’s not even close.

When I think of scripture through a similar lens, I begin to see that sometimes the Bible teaches us about what God deemed important in that given time and place or I might see how the author viewed his faith in his particular contextual setting. But then there are words which take precedence above the others, words that aren’t bound by time or place, words such as:

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” – Matthew 22: 37-40


“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11: 28-30

While it would be much easier if all scripture was straightforward and timeless, I believe that just like my texts to my husband, some words in the Bible are more essential than others. As we grow in our faith and grow closer to the heart of God, the hope would be that through our reading of the Bible, we become better at identifying what God most desires for us to hear.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* Scot McKnight, The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008, pp. 46-47.

** Hamilton, Adam. Making Sense of the Bible: Rediscovering the Power of Scripture Today (pp. 176, 177). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.