Maybe you have heard the phrase, “The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it.”
Until a few months ago, I had not observed the great error contained in that phrase. However, thanks to one of the senior saints at our church, I was informed of its self-centeredness. On the occasion that someone wryly quoted that phrase in a small group Bible study, this seasoned lady kindly replied that actually if the Bible says it, that settles it.
Her response got me thinking. Based on the Bible’s own testimony, she is exactly right. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is God breathed and useful for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness.” To say it another way, God’s Word has absolute authority. Whether we like all that the Bible says or not, it stands over us. We do not stand over it.
Here is the implication: If we practice the above principal—“The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it”—then we are actually inserting our belief between the word of God and its authority. Without realizing it, we suddenly contribute to the meaning and authority of the Bible. For those who hold the Bible in high esteem, this will not do.
The danger is that we, as guilty sinners, become judges of God’s truth. Half a century ago, C. S. Lewis wrote an essay called “God in the Dock.” In it, he asserted that instead of taking the trial stand (the ‘dock’), men made by God had placed their Creator under oath and sought to cross examine him. Like denying the law of gravity by jumping from the Eiffel Tower, the results will always be disastrous.
So, while the statement “the Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it,” may seem harmless at first, upon further reflection, it reveals a symptom of God-replacing self-governance. Ironically, well-meaning Christians regularly assert that the Bible’s good news is conditioned on their unfettered ability to choose as they please. However, Scripture has a different vision of true freedom. Just read Matthew 11:28-30 and John 8:31-32.
Those who seek their freedom will lose it; those who give up their freedom will find it (Mark 8:35). This is the counter-intuitive message of the Bible. Such constraint seems like prison to those who want to give their approval to God’s word, but to those who have stopped trying to judge God’s word, freedom is found in submission to God’s truth (John 8:32). Better yet: Those who submit to the truth of God’s word will find joy, stability, and peace because if “the Bible says it, that settles it.”
Soli Deo Gloria, dss