Reading the Bible for Fact
Hebrews 13:19 –->And I urge all the more to do this so that I may be restored to you the sooner.
I finished reading Hebrews this morning, and this verse struck me. Why?
Because it’s a clue to the identity of the author of Hebrews. You see, when you read chapter 13, you see that Hebrews was written by someone that knew Timothy, and that at the time, Timothy was apparently in prison, so that starts showing when it was written, and then….
This is one of the dangers of Bible reading for me. I tend to read the Bible and get distracted by facts and fact-questions.
I’m not saying the Bible doesn’t contain facts, nor that facts aren’t important, but when we read Scripture, we should be reading for truth more than mere facts.
The Exodus: Which is more important? That God reached down into history, took the slaves that were the Hebrew people, and delivered them miraculously, and made them into a nation or the name of the Pharaoh, the date, or the exact location of the Red Sea Crossing?
Fighting Goliath: 4 cubits and a span or 6 cubits and a span? Bigger than David is what truly matters, delivered by God is what matters. The principle that the people wanted someone to fight their battles, wanted a king for a guaranteed fighter, and still when the battle is joined, the king doesn’t fight, but rather God brings a deliverer, as He had been doing, that’s what matters.
I am not saying that we don’t recognize the historical truth of the facts in Scripture. There really was: a worldwide flood, a big boat, Adam and Eve, and so forth. This is not a statement to exchange inerrancy for symbolism, nor real analysis for allegorizing everything.
I was just reminded this morning that facts don’t change lives. Jesus Christ changes lives. If I could prove the author of Hebrews or show you the Ark (either of the covenant or Noah’s), you still need the Cross to be saved. You still need the Holy Spirit to lead you. I do too. All the factual knowledge in the world does not save you, rather the faith that the facts matter and that God will save.
So, while there are facts to know, and the facts underneath the truths are important, don’t bog down in them. And certainly don’t spend all your time chasing the facts to the detriment of your faith.