The Bible is not a newspaper

“Unfortunately, many Christians treat their Bibles as they would their local newspapers,” writes Anthony Carter, “because they have been taught to do so by their preachers.” I read this today in his fine book, Experiencing the Truth, Bringing the Reformation to the African-American Church (Crossway 2008), loaned to me by good friend Brian Spivey.

Here’s the rest of the passage from Anthony Carter (emphasis added) —

The faithful preacher, however, understands the Bible differently. A newspaper is a composite of many parts and sections. There is the front page, the business section, the sports page, the living and entertainment section, and so on. All of these sections make up the one newspaper. And yet, no section is actually dependent upon the other. A person can read the sports page and completely understand the issues and concerns of the day in sports without ever looking at the front page. Likewise a person can read the entertainment section and understand it fully with little to no knowledge of the goings on in sports. The Bible is no such book. …

The Bible is indeed a collection of sixty-six separate writings. A person could indeed read one of the sections of the writings and get a sense of what is happening without much knowledge of other sections. However, that same person would never really know what any section of Scripture was communicating unless that person were interested in knowing how that particular section fits into the grand, overall picture the Bible is painting.

More than a newspaper, the Bible is a literary portrait. The subject of the portrait is Christ. Each division of the Bible adds something important and indispensable to the portrait. And while a person may be able to make out the picture without all the sections together, what a glorious experience it is when one sees all the sections fitting together! This is the role of the artist. This is the calling of the preacher. He is to show that the Bible, from cover to cover, is painting a picture of Christ…

(page 66)

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