There are a significant portion, perhaps as much at 15%, of the world’s Christians who believe in the concept of Sola Scriptura. That is that the Bible alone is all they need to understand and relate to God and that it is literally and absolutely totally true in every aspect. Although he personally did not believe in biblical inerrancy the ones who currently follow the teaching of Martin Luther are the most prominent in this group. They believe that God put everything he ever wanted us to know in the assembly of documents that were put together under the leadership of the Roman emperor Constantine about 1700 years ago. For them there is absolutely nothing else that can be added to God’s message either personally or globally by themselves or even seemingly by God himself.
It may seem like I am getting off track here but please bear with me. Many years ago when I was a fairly young engineer I had a terrific boss and mentor. He seemed to know absolutely everything about the products we were designing! Even before I signed up for this particular assignment I was given a basic job description of what my responsibilities would be. But of course they were not specific enough to cover any of the particular circumstance I often found myself in. But that was not problem because my boss/mentor was just a couple of doors away and his door was always open. So when I was confused about something I could “pop in” with a quick question. Not long after I had been there he decided to take a rather long vacation with his family. Before he left he wrote memos to each of us telling us what he expected us to accomplish while he was gone. In the 1970’s when this occurred the concept of a 24 hour job was fortunately not even conceived. There were no cell phones during that time and even trying to contact someone on vacation was almost never done. So, while he was gone I did my best but was certainly relieved the day he returned and I soon found myself in his office with many novice questions. He patiently answered them. I enjoyed this boss/mentor relationship for about four years and then moved on to a different organization. But I always looked back at that special relationship I had with my first boss.
Now getting back to the topic at hand, while I certainly respect others right to believe in Sola Scriptura and total and literal biblical inerrancy it does bring to my mind that, to them, God must be on vacation and has only left us a memo (the Bible) on how to do our jobs while he is gone. He doesn’t carry a cell phone so just read the memo.
Instead of just reading the memo I want a relationship with God that is on a more personal level. To know that he can give me personal advice through the Holy Spirit whenever I come across something that I don’t know quite how to handle is certainly a relieving thing. I enjoy my personal relationship with God and know that he can communicate directly to me, even outside the Bible (memo), when I need it. To me communication with God is a two way street; it is not “I talk to him” and he tells me “read the memo”. I feel sorry for those who think they have to always find the answers to life’s questions in the memo. While the memo contains a lot of valuable information and insight it just doesn’t cover every circumstance and even those that it seems to cover it is often quite difficult to discern the message as many possible answers seem to exist within its pages depending on where you look.