The Bible...JUST a Guide???

By Brian Barnhart

I was discussing my religious beliefs with an individual, explaining to her my feelings that the Bible was to be followed, "as written", nothing being taken away, or added. The reply was "I always thought the Bible was just a Guide". This person has attended the same denominational church all her life and I believe her thoughts on the Bible parallel those of most individuals.

Is the Bible to be followed, as written? What does the Bible say? It says that the Bible is the Word of God. The first part of 2 Tim. 3:16 says,
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God". 2 Peter 1:21 says, "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." Gal. 1:11,12, says "But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ." So, although he physically wrote only the 10 commandments on a stone, God authored the whole Bible. It did not come from man. It's not man's ideas. It's God's plan for man; God's recipe.

One might ask 'Why did God give man a recipe to follow? Everyone knows good from bad and right from wrong don't they? Not according to the Bible!

Isa. 55:8 says, "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord." Jer. 10:23 says, "O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps."

One might think - OK, it's God's recipe, but it doesn't have to be followed exactly. It's just a starting point. Some may believe this, but that thinking is at odds with what the bible says. Deut. 4:2 says,
"You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you." 1 Cor. 11:2 says, "Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you." John warns in Rev. 22:18,19 not to add or take away from what is written in his book (Revelation). Paul tells Timothy in 2 Tim. 3:16,17, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, throughly equipped for every good work"

So, the scriptures are complete, and nothing is to be added or taken away. To do so would be altering God's word, His plan. It's not "just a guide"; it is THE GUIDE.

Let's consider the dangers of treating it as 'just a guide". John 12:48 says,
"He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him-- the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day." We see from Heb. 4:12,13 that the word of God is powerful and nothing is hidden from His sight, to whom we must give account. Can we consider that by which we will be judged 'just a guide'? Nadab and Abihu might have considered God's requirements for fire 'just a guide'. Remember how they were judged? In Lev. 10:1,2, we see that Nadab and Abihu offered the Lord profane fire which God had not commanded. They were consumed by their fire. Conversely, consider Noah's treatment of God's commands as THE GUIDE. In Gen. 6:21 and Heb. 11:7 we see that Noah, by faith, did as God commanded and saved himself and his family from a world condemed by God for its wickedness.

Nadab, and Abihu were not following God's commands exactly. They offered a fire of their choosing (perhaps what they thought best or OK), not of the kind God commanded, and thier fire then consumed them. They made changes to what God desired (commanded), they were judged, and the sentence was death. But Noah followed God's plans exactly, neither adding or taking away, and was saved from the waters that drowned those that chose not to follow God. Consider Matt 7:21-23 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven...".

What are we saying to the Lord in our lives? Is it, "Here Lord, here's a fire I think you will like. I've made a few positive changes to it". Or is it, "Boy, it sure feels good to get off that ark and plant my feet on the ground. If I hadn't built it just like You said, we surely wouldn't have made it."

EDITOR'S NOTE: Thanks to Brian Barnhart for the article! Brian can be reached via email at]

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