It is becoming increasingly common to accuse those who hold to the inerrancy and infallibility of God’s Word of “bibliolatry,” otherwise known as “idolatry of the Bible.” Bibliolatry is defined as “excessive reverence for the Bible as literally interpreted.” Those who accept God’s clear words in Genesis as true history are often accused of worshipping the Bible and exalting it above Christ Himself. The president of American Baptist College recently applied this argument to those who believe that, according to Scripture, homosexual behavior is a sin.
American Baptist College, in Nashville, Tennessee, has allegedly been shrouded in controversy lately when the school invited Bishop Yvette Flunder, a California-based preacher and a lesbian “married” to her same-sex partner, to speak on her ministry to those with HIV and AIDS. Many pastors reportedly were upset by this acceptance of homosexual behavior and gay “marriage” on the part of the Baptist school. In response to the complaints, Dr. Forrest Harris, the president of the school, reportedly said that they would not reconsider the invitation and that he was “sad that people use religion and idolatry of the Bible to demoralize same-gender-loving people.” He reportedly defines “idolatry of the Bible” by saying, “When people say [the Bible] is synonymous with God and the truth . . . We can’t be guided and dictated by a first-century worldview.” So, according to Harris, viewing God’s Word as truth and submitting ourselves in obedience to it is idolatry!
Jesus Submitted to Scripture
In submitting to the authority of Scripture, we are doing no less than our Master, Jesus Christ, did. Throughout His earthy ministry He submitted in obedience to the Word of God even though He Himself is the Word (John 1:1).
When Jesus was tempted by Satan before beginning His public ministry, He responded with God’s Word. It was wrong for Him to turn the stones into bread, to jump from the highest place on the temple, and to bow down and worship Satan, because those are all contrary to Scripture. In response to Satan’s temptations, Jesus replied with Scripture (Matthew 4:1–11). He submitted Himself in obedience to God’s Word.
In obedience to God’s written word Jesus allowed Himself to be betrayed by Judas: “I do not speak concerning all of you. I know whom I have chosen; but that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me’” (John 13:18). In permitting Himself to be betrayed by Judas, Jesus was submitting to God’s purpose and plan as recorded in Psalm 41:9.
He also went to the Cross out of obedience to God’s Word revealed by the prophets: “How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus? . . . But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled’” (Matthew 26:54, 56). In submitting to His arrest and crucifixion, Jesus was fulfilling many Old Testament prophecies such as Isaiah 53 or Psalm 22.
While on the Cross, even while He was dying, Jesus was submitting Himself to the Scriptures: “After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, ‘I thirst!’” (John 19:28).
Since Christ was sinless (2 Corinthians 5:21), no one can accuse Christ of idolatry of the Bible or of anything else. And yet He clearly submitted Himself to God’s written Word. Since we are to follow Christ’s example (1 Peter 2:21), we too are to submit ourselves to the authoritative words of God “which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). As fallible, sinful human beings, we certainly can do no less than our Master when it comes to obedience to His God-breathed Word (2 Timothy 3:16).
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