We owe to Scripture something we don’t owe any other book: our obedience.
I grew up in a home that prioritized reading. My father was a first-generation college student, and he majored in business to support his family. He allocated a portion of his monthly wages to the Book of the Month club through Easton Press. He and my mom would dine on bologna boats (mashed potatoes and cheese on fried bologna) so that he could afford to receive a great book in the mail each month.
Those leather-bound copies with gilded pages made a strong impression on me as a kid. From those beautiful editions I read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Walden, Jane Eyre, and because of their beauty, I knew they were a different sort of reading from my R. L. Stine paperback novels.
Similarly, Christians recognize the Bible as a different sort of book from all other books. While God may inspire an artist, or the Holy Spirit draw a reader toward a divine revelation through art, the Bible is more than a mere literary experience.
Recognizing the Bible as literature opens us up to a fuller appreciation of the holy book than if we treat it like an instruction manual or to-do list. It is a bibliography of genres, including poetry, song, lament, prophecy, history, narrative, parables, letters, dreams, and so forth. We should practice reading to enjoy the fullness of that literary experience.
However, as a book divinely authored by God, the Bible also stands apart from all literature penned by human authors. God inspired human writers to pen the words, but God also authorized those pages. No matter what other beauty, truth, and goodness may be found elsewhere, other works of literature lack the authority that Scripture has over Christians.
In Paul’s second letter to Timothy, he assures the young disciple, “All Scripture is God-breathed …
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