Today’s musings have returned to the Bible—not so much on the content of the scriptures, but to its place and effect on our lives. I am thinking about our relationship with God’s Word.
It was Melvyn Bragg who got me started. I was listening to an interview with the Englishman when he made a comment that seized me. Bragg had written a book on the cultural influence of the King James Bible and was being asked about it. Talking about the Bible’s impact on his own life, he said that scripture formed “the lining of his mind.” And it is that image that gripped me.
I’m sure it’s an inadequate image, but I think it’s marvelous. For the lining of a surface is what determines the shape. Furthermore, the lining serves to preserve all that lies within. Is this not what scripture is meant to accomplish? Should not the Bible shape our thinking and preserve right belief? God’s Word aught to be the lining of our minds.
Can you make this claim? Is God’s Word the mold that shapes your thinking? Does it protect the realm of your mind from error? Too often, too many of us are willing to cherish the Bible like we do a family heirloom. It has a place of pride in our home but it is not really to our liking. And so it sits in clear sight, but it has no influence on the rest of our décor.
Yes, the Bible has a place in our hearts, but our passions and beliefs are formed and fed elsewhere. Lacking a firm lining, our minds are easily warped by the persuasive arguments of friends and media. In the end, our worldview is a smorgasbord of competing viewpoints, many of them competing with God’s truth.
Joining Bragg is John Frame. Frame is one of those theologians for whom I am deeply grateful. His recent volume, The Doctrine of the Word of God is masterful. It is brilliant and convicting.
Now imagine that when God speaks to you personally, he gives you some information, or commands you to do something. Will you then be inclined to argue with him? Will you criticize what he says? Will you find something inadequate in his knowledge or in the rightness of his commands? I hope not. For that is the path to disaster. When God speaks, our role is to believe, obey, delight, repent, mourn—whatever he wants us to do. Our response should be without reservation, from the heart. Once we understand (and of course we often misunderstand), we must not hesitate. We may at times find occasion to criticize one another’s words; But God’s words are not the subject of criticism. (pg.4)
God’s truth is immutable, and should be the measure of our lives. Can we return to the days of our forefathers who were famous for being people of The Book? I believe we can and must. It’s time to renew our lives by relining our minds.