While at a wedding reception last week, I spoke with a youth pastor whom I have known for over 10 years. He shared many encouraging stories of what God was doing at the parachurch ministry where he serves as director. By God’s grace the ministry is growing, financially stable, seeing people saved by Christ, and he has faithfully served there for almost 20 years. I praise God for that.
We got on to the subject of preaching, and he said, “The difference I see between your preaching and mine is that you are concerned about doctrine, and, man, I just wanna tell people to live for Christ.” The implied false dichotomy aside, I replied, “…but WHO IS HE?” “How can we live for Christ if we don’t know who He is?” To that he replied, “Yeah…”
I love this youth pastor. I praise God for the work God has done through him. However, I’m once again discouraged by the assumption that doctrinal instruction is an unnecessary weight, not worth getting into, lofty head-knowledge, or not as urgent as simply encouraging people to “live for Christ.” The list of assumptions could go on… Yet I am greatly encouraged by the wealth of resources available to help people see the importance and accessibility of doctrinal truth.
Recently, I was informed that Vern Poythress’ Inerrancy and Worldview: Answering Modern Challenges to the Bible (Crossway 2012) is available as a FREE PDF via Frame-Poythress.org. This is an excellent book which answers some of the modern objections to the inerrancy, validity, and authority of God’s Word. In it, Dr. Poythress (pronounced, “Poi-tress”) includes a chapter entitled, “The Glory of Christ”. The chapter serves to illustrate how rigorous thinking concerning Scripture, and studying the matters covered in the book’s first 25 chapters, serves to glorify Christ. Furthermore, that the ultimate answer to the questions and topics addressed in the first 25 chapters is found in Christ.
Beginning his chapter on the glory of Christ, Dr. Poythress discusses the benefit of sticking with the deep study of portions in God’s Word that may prove to be more difficult than others. He writes:
Through understanding a verse deeply enough, we may sometimes be blessed with understanding more of the glory of Christ. That is, we may know Christ more deeply through our study. In 2 Corinthians 3:16–18 the apostle Paul holds out this possibility for those taught by the Spirit of Christ: “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Cor. 3:18). Paul uses the expression “beholding the glory of the Lord” in a context where he has just mentioned the reading of the law of Moses. This law remains “veiled” in its meaning to Jews who have not yet come to know Christ. But those who know Christ “behold the glory of the Lord” as they read.
We may accordingly ask how we may begin to see the glory of Christ in the passages of the Bible, including the passages that have been difficult. If we continue to struggle with these passages, asking for God’s help and illumination, we may sometimes come to a point where we appreciate more of God’s wisdom in giving the passage. This appreciation may sometimes grow even if God does not give us a complete answer. When we admire God’s wisdom, we glorify him. And the Bible indicates that Christ is the ultimate wisdom of God “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3; 1 Cor. 1:30). We are seeing the glory of Christ when we see God’s wisdom. This way of seeing is common to all passages in which we grow in appreciation of God’s wisdom.
As mentioned, from there he delineates how God’s wisdom in Christ may be appreciated in the areas of study comprising the first 25 chapters.
If you are a student, professor, or pastor involved in regular academic study, I commend this book, and specifically this chapter, to you as an encouragement and reminder that your studies can and should be a worshipful, Christ-exalting experience. If you are a person skeptical of the value or validity of the rigorous engagement of the mind as it relates to your life before the Lord, I commend this book/chapter to you, as an encouragement, as well.
 Vern Sheridan Poythress, Inerrancy and Worldview: Answering Modern Challenges to the Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012), 173-174.