Do you like the Bible?

“Christians should not only believe what the Bible teaches, they should like what the Bible teaches. All Scripture is not just tolerable, but profitable and breathed out by God (2 Tim. 3:16). The law should be our delight (Psalm 1:2; 119:77; Rom. 7:2). We should love the commandments of God (Psalm 119:47; 1 John 5:3).

This means perfunctory obedience is not the goal. We don’t want to submit to our husbands out of duty, or sacrifice for our wives because we have to do, or refrain from sex because God’s a meanie and he must be listened to, but because we want to. God wants more than begrudging obedience or external conformity, he wants us to delight in the law of God in our inner being. So pay attention not just to your wills, but to your affections.

This also means that we should do away with the pseudo-spiritual language of “I don’t like what the Bible says about this, but I still believe it.” Poppycock. While I suppose, all things considered, its better that someone embrace complementarianism kicking and screaming rather than not at all, why are you kicking and screaming at God’s word in the first place? I understand that we may all have periods of struggle where we wrestle to fully understand and embrace some element of biblical teaching. But as an indefinite attitude, begrudging acceptance is not a good option. Don’t we trust that God is good? Is not the law of the Lord our delight?

Believing but not liking what the Bible says is also a common refrain when it comes to the doctrine of hell. Obviously, none of us should be gleeful to think of sinners suffering in eternal torment. After all, Paul was pretty torn up about the plight of his kinsmen according to the flesh. But anguish over the souls of the lost is different than wholesale ambivalence about the existence of hell. When we say things like “If it were up to me I wouldn’t have a hell, but God’s word teaches it so I believe it” we are not being extra pious, only extra insulting.

First of all, it’s not about to us. It never has been and never will be, so let’s get that off the table. Second, when we put things this way it sounds like we consider ourselves better than God, like we’re trying to be “good cop” to God’s “bad cop.” Third, and most importantly, we are missing the point of hell. God is glorified in the judgment of the wicked. That’s a big gulp for postmodern (or modern) ears, but it’s true. Were it not for hell, God’s justice would not be upheld and the glory of his name would not be vindicated. If we accept the doctrine of hell only begrudgingly, we have not learned to delight in the glory of God above all else. We have not yet learned to pray as our first and foremost request, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.”

The Bible is true and the Bible is good. When we accept its truth without actually liking it, we have only come half way to mature faith. We are like kids saying “I’m sorry” while rolling our eyes, like a husband getting flowers so his wife won’t be ticked, like a lover skimming through a letter from her beloved when she should be cherishing every word and every truth in her heart.

Read the Bible.

Believe the Bible.

Delight in all that it affirms.

Anything less is not good for your soul.”

~ Kevin DeYoung

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