Posted by: Harry Sasnowitz | September 24, 2016

Re-Aligning Our Faith-Focus

I believe “Bible-Centered Christianity” is an appropriate phrase to describe what much of modern-day institutional Christianity has become. Read the Bible, do the Bible, live by the Bible. This is not a compliment, because the faith of the early Church (I’m referring to the Ekklesia… the Body of Christ) did not center on the Bible like we see today. Although scripture did play a role in their lives, their faith and practice clearly centered around a Person (Jesus) and the love & life of God which was shed abroad in their hearts through the Holy Spirit. Any honest exegesis of the New Testament scriptures after the resurrection of Christ will reveal this.

If all Bibles were confiscated in the USA, I have a gut-feeling that many Christians would no longer be able to carry on in their relationship with God… having been led to know “the Book” rather than to personally know its Author.

I recently came across a John Hagee broadcast on TV. Hagee, in front of thousands of people, lifted up the Bible and loudly proclaimed over and over as only John Hagee can, “The Bible Is The Owners Manual To Life!!” If Jesus were in attendance and approached Hagee after the service, Hagee would be surprised when Jesus disagreed. Jesus IS the life, and He is not an owner’s manual.

If one cannot function spiritually apart from a Bible-in-hand, then the Bible is their idol; they don’t yet know what “living in Christ” actually is in reality… having yet to experience the all-sufficiency of the Person of Jesus Christ and the indwelling of His Spirit within. They may know their Bibles, but they’re relationally alienated from its Author.

There is precedent for what I’m sharing here. The Pharisees were the most scripturally literate people of Jesus’ day. Perhaps they could best be compared to some from the “religious right” of our day. Yet Jesus sees right through their dead, lifeless religion by proclaiming the following…. and what He says has implications for today:

“I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to finish—the very works that I am doing—testify that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. I do not accept glory from human beings, but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts.” (John 5:36-42, emphasis mine)

Wow. To those who treated the scriptures as the “owner’s manual to life”, Jesus declared that they were 1) spiritually deaf to God’s voice, 2) void of God’s love in their hearts, and 3) destitute of the “true life” they claimed they had.

Not advocating “anti-Bible” here; it’s great to have the privilege of reading, studying and learning through the Bible, and putting the insight we receive into practice. But we are not called to worship scripture; we are called to worship the Person of Jesus. There’s a huge difference between the two.

Being a walking, talking Bible Encyclopedia and having a Masters in Theology does not necessarily equate to knowing God Himself and possessing/expressing LIFE.

Perhaps A.W. Tozer brings everything “full circle” with this eloquent quote on the subject matter:

“The error of textualism is not doctrinal. It is far more subtle than that and much more difficult to discover, but its effects are just as deadly. Not its theological beliefs are at fault, but its assumptions. It assumes, for instance, that if we have the word for a thing we have the thing itself. If it is in the Bible, it is in us. If we have the doctrine, we have the experience. If something was true of Paul it is of necessity true of us because we accept Paul’s epistles as divinely inspired.”

What this world needs is not more of our Bible knowledge…. My goodness, don’t we have enough of that already? What this world needs is more of Christ’s very life being expressed through our mortal bodies, which will manifest itself in love, sacrifice and service to our fellow man, to the glory of God. Demonstrating the power of the gospel in our daily lives is the need of the hour.



  1. I enjoyed what you shared in this posting. I am moved in my heart to share where I am in regards to the Bible. Some time back in my journey with our Lord I began to view the Holy Scriptures as a series of pastures. We, symbolically the sheep, must graze in these pastures guided by the Holy Spirit. Without condemning any form of Bible “study”, I believe our it is more beneficial to “feed” on God’s Word. It has come to my heart that God has provided a system (for lack of a better word) that self activates as we feed on His Word. It is a system in the same manner as the system which self activates when we eat physical food . When I eat a ham sandwich the food breaks down into various nutritional components and this system brings each component to where it is suppose to go. I do not say, “Okay sugars you go here and carbs you go there…” it has nothing to do with me…God’s purposed system takes care of it all. Much the same as we feed on the fresh grasses of the scriptures the Holy Spirit illuminates and reveals spiritually nutritional benefits that God purposes for us personally. I have been daily feeding on two chapters a day for over twenty years. I simply ingest the scriptures without any agenda or preconceived interpretation and allow the “system” to take what to where. It has been my experience that as I move from pasture to pasture or book to book I am always finding that while I was away from one pasture God caused fresh grasses of revelations to spring up. Many Christian assemblies that I have visited stay too long in one pasture and gnaw at the stubble of “traditionally held interpretations”. It is as I graze in the pastures of scripture that I hear the voice of my Shepherd. It is in these pastures that I see (awaken to) more of Him…and subsequently gain more revelation of God and His ways. Sadly, I have come to know God differently from those of the religious machine…the scholastic/academic who rely not on the Holy Spirit but on the human perspective for guidance. The interesting thing is that the Jesus I have had revealed to me in the pastures of scripture does not require effort on my end to center on. I am drawn to His incredible infinite love and even more I have ceased all my attempts at appeasing God. Jesus has appeased God on my behalf for ever. This is why I graze the scriptures in an atmosphere of rest.

    I’m not sure how this fits in to your posting but I hope what I shared has blessed your walk with our Lord.


    • Hi James, thank you for sharing. I believe it’s ok to hold different perspectives/views on scripture. My initial “church history” led me to believe that there was only one right way to approach scripture and that was through the eyes of the fundamentalist right. I’ve come to reject much of that.

      The neglect of cultural and historical context when teaching scripture is a very poor way to teach scripture.

      Personally, I enjoy hearing those who track outside the confines of the establishment’s voice; especially those who are able to teach through a New Covenant interpretive lens….. rare these days.



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