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Are Bible Believers Bibliolators?

By Justin Johnson

Bibliotary is the worship of the Bible instead of God. It is a form of idolatry.

It is pejoratively used to describe fundamentalists and Bible believers who esteem God’s words higher than church tradition, experience, or scholarship.

The Bible forbids all forms of idolatry, but magnifying His words too high is a warning that is nowhere to be found in scripture.

The warning from charismatics, Catholics, and evangelicals is that esteeming the Bible too much will displace the Lord as the object of worship.

In contrast, the instruction throughout the Bible is to lift up God’s words and magnify them higher than we would any other authority.

Worship from a Book

There is never a place in the Bible that condemns the glorifying of God’s words. On the contrary, it is encouraged as the means through which we know and grow in God.

God magnifies his word above his name in Psalm 138:2.

Job esteemed the words of God’s mouth more than his necessary food (Job 23:12).

Israel was told to keep God’s law in their hearts, upon their hands, and on their doorposts (Deu 6:8-9). In reverence they stood when the words of the Lord were read (Neh 9:3).

Psalm 119 describes the love of God’s words, finding hope in His words, and standing in awe of His word. David hides God’s words in his heart.

Worshiping Christ with the Bible

It is said that this form of worship was an Old Testament form of worship and that in the New Testament God does not reveal himself in a book any longer but in hearts through personal relationships.

This is simply not the true story. We cannot worship the Lord Jesus Christ without the Bible.

The Lord Jesus instructed Israel to search the scriptures to learn about him (John 5:39).

When the Gentiles first heard the gospel about Jesus they glorified the word of the Lord (Acts 13:48).

The scripture is holy and is completely sufficient for salvation (2 Tim 3:15).

The mystery of Christ that was not found in scripture has now been revealed and written down in words for us to know (Eph 3:3).

Paul prays for the glorification of God’s words (2 Thess 3:1), since in his words people will be saved through Jesus Christ.

Trusting God is trusting His words. Worshipping God is magnifying His words.

Glorifying God’s Words not Idolatry

Most often accusations of bibliolatry come from those who have problems with the final authority, inerrancy, or sufficiency of the Bible. Beware.

Paper and ink is not God, nor should we worship the pages and manuscripts as if the very molecules are divine, but I have never heard of a Bible believer doing that.

The closest to this form of material worship are those scholars who insist on the physical preservation of the original documents as the only way to know God’s words for certain.

King James Bible believers do not require the physical preservation of the actual documents to know God’s word. We believe God has preserved His words throughout history in the Bible we have today.

Without God’s words we cannot know God or how we are to worship him. Every step away from glorifying God’s words in the Bible is a step towards real idolatry since it allows the creation of a god foreign to the scripture.

Idolatry exists when we don’t glorify God’s words as we ought, not when we do. We cannot worship God without praising his word in the Bible.

“In God will I praise his word: in the LORD will I praise his word.” – Psa 56:10

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Published: September 21, 2013
Last Modified: March 14, 2018
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