“The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it.” WRONG!!!
While that is an accurate statement for many Christians, hopefully it’s not the case for most. It’s nowhere near good enough to glibly go with “the Bible says it, so I believe it.”
Why? Because, for one, what the Bible “says” and what it means aren’t always one-and-the-same based on a surface level reading. The Bible is an ancient, Eastern collection of literature with many authors spanning thousands of years of cultural influence, oral tradition, theological development and advancement, significant paradigm shifts, etc. And again, and very importantly, the Bible is an ancient Eastern collection of literature, NOT a modern Western book written by a single author. So, MANY of the words and idioms used by the authors of Scripture DO NOT mean the same thing(s) that they do to us today. For example, many times in Scripture when the phrase “heaven and earth” is used it is not referring to the physical cosmos but rather to the Jewish Temple. A few examples of this would be:
-Matt. 5:17 – For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.
-Matt. 24:35 – Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.
-2 Pet. 3:10 – But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.
In all of these statements made and/or written by Jewish people they were speaking of the Jewish Temple and their Jewish audiences readily knew that “heaven and earth” was an idiom for their Temple just as we today in America know exactly what we mean when we say something like, “It’s raining cats and dogs.”
So, is it good enough to always just know what the Bible says? No, not always. The Pharisees, for example, knew what the scriptures said as well as anyone. BUT, their knowledge of the scriptures completely blinded them from knowing the Word. Knowing the scriptures and knowing the Word are not one-and-the same. While we should know what the scriptures say, we should also be diligent to know what the scriptures mean.