If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times… “I just love (enter preacher name here). They’re ideas are just so … so… biblical!”Or, how about the other version of this…the adjective, “Godly.” As in, “Oh, my! He’s such a godly man. You’ll love him!”
Whenever people use these two adjectives with me, I always stop and pause. I want to ask, “What do you THINK you mean by that?”
Because what biblical is supposed to mean and what it’s come to mean in our modern, evangelical, consumer culture is two very different concepts. Usually, what non-church going people mean when they use this term is that someone is religious — that they talk about God a lot. But believers tend to use these words to describe someone who is zealous about keeping God’s commandments and living “by the book.”
Neither of these are what the word biblical is supposed to mean.
Biblical is supposed to mean something far more organic. It’s supposed to denote someone who is messy and broken, and who is consistently saved by God. And, as a response, they’re grateful. They’re not only willing, they have no choice but to repent or worship their God! It’s supposed to take the form of the gospel playing out in their lives.
Months ago, I was tremendously hurt by someone very dear to me. The specific way they hurt me was a repeated offense in the story of our relationship. But unlike other times when they’ve confessed sin to me, this time, I responded differently. I looked at them and gently said, with great concern:
“I think you need to go to God and get healing or forgiveness. Because your sin is really against Him first and, in the end, against Him only. I think He needs to talk to you about this and heal you from this.”
I yielded my “right” to be hurt. There was something bigger going on. There was a story of redemption playing out. And if I was faithful, I could help steward that well. THAT was biblical.
In my own life, God has broken my misconceptions about this word time and time again. I’ll try to live out all the commands, and He’ll gently just reveal those words of Matthew 22:47:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 The second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.
He reminds me over and over that if I don’t get these two points, then I’ve missed the point of him giving commandments at all.
If we want to live “biblical” lives, it should look like love. It should look like friendship: with each other, and with our God.
All the rest is just modern day tassels and phylacteries, meant to try to show that we are “holy” without actually being set apart.