There is a direct correspondence between our beliefs and actions. It seems as though many Christians today view the Bible much like the Pharisees viewed the law.
For the Pharisees, the law was almost an idol in that it was the means of their “salvation”. Christians often point to the bible as the means of salvation for the individual. The bible comes first, then Jesus comes second. Instead, Christ should be exhibited through the testimony of our lives and the relationship we establish with individuals.
The Pharisees view of the law was “absolute” and therefore, strict adherence to it was necessary. Many Christians today believe that since the bible is God’s Word its truth is absolute. This is not only a misunderstanding of the nature of truth, but it also demotes God by making his “Word” restricted to language.
Commentaries and reiterations were produced in mass amounts in order to expand the meaning of what was being said in order that the “Truth” could be known. The only commentary we need is the Holy Spirit. It seems as though laziness and convenience go hand in hand in today’s age. But commentaries are man’s opinion, and ultimately take us away from the intimacy that the Spirit of God longs for. It is in this experience that the Word of God is made manifest.
The Pharisees viewed the law with strictly intellectual eyes. It never penetrated to the heart, which is always evidenced through action. This is much like how many of us view the bible – as an intellectual exercise.
Finally, the way in which God revealed himself was restricted by their beliefs about revelation and truth. Many of them did not see Jesus for who he was even though “the TRUTH” stood right in front of them. In the same way, our view of the bible, has restricted God. In many cases we have substituted God for the bible. I fear that there are times when TRUTH stands right in front of us, but we don’t see it because of our narrow-mindedness.
If we view the bible as the Pharisees viewed the law, then it’s not surprising that much of our attitude toward others also reflect that of the Pharisees. Sometimes I think we confuse our opinions with God’s and our devotion to him with legalism.
Read Luke 18:9-14 and ask yourself which person are you?