As a child, nothing was more exciting for me than getting a new toy. From Batman to a water gun, I thoroughly enjoyed toys. I'm not sure if it was because I had nothing better to do or that toys were always accessible, but whatever it may be, I never had to play with just one. If I got tired of my water gun, I went to the Gameboy. Tired of the Gameboy? No problem. Just open up the toy chest and find something else that will peak your interest! One toy never had to satisfy my desire to play.
Sadly, I see the same thing happening with Christians today who treat the Bible as a toy. They have a lot of them (many different colors and versions of course!), but don't feel the need to read them if they don't feel like it. The problem lies within the heart. People who treat the Bible like a toy that can be picked up whenever they feel like it don't understand that the Bible is the very thing that feeds our souls. Neglect of reading the Bible is self-starvation. Jonathan Edwards said "He that has a Bible, and doesn't observe what is contained in it, is like a man that has a box of silver and gold, and doesn't know it, doesn't observe that it is anything more than a vessel filled with common stones." On the other hand, he who has a Bible and understands what the Bible truly is, understands he has a great treasure.
Kent Hughes gives us greater insight to this by telling this illustration,
"Mrs. Bertha Adams, died of malnutrition in Florida in 1976. Her neighbors testified to her begging for food at their doors, and her clothes came from the Salvation Army. When her home was investigated, however, two keys were discovered to safety deposit boxes that contained stocks, bonds, securities, and cash totaling over $1,000,000 dollars."
"The crucial question is not whether we can explain what is in the Bible, but whether we can enjoy it."
This is a great illustration that helps us understand how we should view the Bible. We must not live in abject poverty of soul when the great remedy, the great treasure, awaits, needing simply to be accessed. However, this must not lead us to go over the other side of the cliff. Wanting to know the Bible so well that we refuse to enjoy it. One theologian writes, "The crucial question is not whether we can explain what is in the Bible, but whether we can enjoy it." Dane Ortlund describes a person who knows the Bible so well but doesn't enjoy it as a chef who has mastered an elaborate recipe yet does not enjoy eating it. Edwards said "Such is the nature of man, that nothing can come at the heart but through the door of understanding." As the chef's dish is not meant to be dissected and scrutinized but eaten, so the Bible should be read. Yes, we must study the Word of God. Yes, we must constantly be testing our understanding of the Scripture so that we may not be led astray by false doctrine (Eph. 4; Heb. 13). But if our aim is to merely understand the Bible and not view it as our treasure by placing all our delight and pleasure in reading it, we've done God a great injustice.
Friends, do you view the Bible as a toy or treasure?
I am a Husband to Clarissa, Pastor at Liberty Baptist Church, reader of many books, and tweeter at @brad_merchant.