Last year, I had the opportunity to interview Dr. Trevor Burke regarding some of the themes in Peter’s first letter. As we were talking about various topics within 1 Peter, he began to talk about the importance of the ministry of the Spirit within the life of the believer. As a result, he made a very interesting statement regarding the role of the Scriptures within the life and ministry of certain segments of the church [in video, beginning around 3:20]. He said (presumably hyperbolically, raising concern):
“We put a heavy emphasis upon the Word of God. And we’ve invented a “new trinity.” We talk about the Father, Son, and the Holy Scriptures. We’ve put the Word of God almost up on kind of a power with the other two members of the Trinity. And I say to my students, “We’ve nearly become bibliolaters. We’ve nearly become worshipers of a word, instead of being worshipers of the Word of Jesus Christ.””
So what do you think? Have we become bibliolaters? What constitutes a heathy reverence for, respect of, and reliance upon God’s Word? How can we avoid “bibliolatry” in our lives? How do we avoid being guilty of Jesus’ charge against those challenging his authority in John 5:39, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.”?
Dr. Trevor Burke (Ph.D., University of Glasgow) is professor of Bible at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, IL. He is the author of Adopted into God’s Family: Exploring a Pauline Metaphor (InterVarsity Press, 2006).