Self Help Bible
From 7th-12th grade I went to youth group every Wednesday night. I was at the very first gathering they ever had where there was less than 40 people. I was also there when it had over 300. On paper it was the greatest youth group in the county (Not country). People thought God must be doing amazing things for it to grow that large.
I hated that youth group. I used to dread having to go and the only reason I would go is because my friends would be there. I never really was sure why I hated it until last week when I had a breakthrough.
Recently I started leading a small group to help try and improve it. It has gone from 300 people down to 100 which is a good thing. It needs a solid foundation before it gets too big. The last couple weeks we have talked about great topics such as how to treat women, worship, and idols. The topics have been fantastic. How we have talked about them has been horrible.
What we have done is strip away the power of the Bible and turn it into a self-help book. We treat it like it was written by Steve Harvey and has some good ideas for life and women. We treat it like it should be located in the advice section at Barnes and Noble. We discussed looking at women in their eyes, not staring at their boobs/butt, and treating them respect. All of which are good things. However, there are 100’s of books that say the same thing.
The Bible is not a self-help book. It is a Book that is road map for life as we keep are eyes on the Creator. We went through a 60 minute group without reading a single Bible verse. Not one! Somebody paraphrased a few verses in their own words to make a point. That’s it.
In Matthew 9:12-13 Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick…For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
When Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick,” He was not implying that the religious crowd were acceptable before God and didn’t need the forgiveness of sins He came to provide. Rather, He was getting at the point that there’s one thing worse than being sick, namely, being sick and thinking you’re well! Then you won’t go to the doctor for the cure. At least the crooks knew they were spiritually terminal. By confessing their sinfulness and by accepting God’s cure (His undeserved mercy through Jesus), they were made well. But those who thought they were spiritually well were terminal without knowing it.
We spend all group having what could be a biblical discussion of topics but instead we take the Bible out of it. The difference between the Bible and other books is simple. It’s Jesus. When we strip away Bible verses, which were left for us as a way to read the Word of God, we take away the power of what we are saying. People should look at me funny when I say things because I am somebody who sins frequently and makes 25k a year. What do I know? They should want to hear God’s word and how it affects me.
I don’t have the power to change anyone’s life. I am an electric hedge trimmer. I can trim hedges all day only if I am plugged in to the outlet. The second I am unplugged is when I become basically useless. People’s lives can be changed through me, but not by me. I am just a tool. The true power of transformation comes from God.
I don’t need the Bible to tell me how to treat women. I don’t. I can find that info elsewhere. What I do need is the Bible to point me to the power of God and that He sent His Son to die for my sins. I need it to truly have life change and for the power it holds. I need it to grow closer to my Creator.
I beg churches and people to start treating the Bible as a Holy Book again. Stop taking only the principles out of it and applying them to the world. Stop paraphrasing stories as if your friend told you them. Stop trying to strip the power away from the Bible. I don’t care what you have to say on a topic. I care what Jesus had to say on it.
I’m sure Steve Harvey writes a really good book that we can take tidbits from. However, we have something much greater. We have the road map to eternal life. We have the Bible. We have God’s Word.