So often, in objection to the fact that the Lord has chosen to reveal Himself exclusively through the Bible in our age, many professing Christians have asked me the same question: Why would an infinite God limit Himself to a Book? Usually, the insinuation is that I’m attempting to limit God. Several times, it seeming as though my questioner wanted me to feel ashamed for my narrow expectations.
That question, regardless of the motives behind it, reminds me of Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the Temple:
But will God indeed dwell with man on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, how much less this house that I have built! ~~2 Chronicles 6:18 (ESV)
Solomon recognized the absurdity of believing that the Creator of the heavens and the earth could physically reside in the comparatively miniscule structure that had just been built for Him. So it was a wonderous moment when God accepted the Temple as His place of prayer:
Then the Lord appeared to Solomon in the night and said to him: “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice.” ~~2 Chronicles 7:12 (ESV)
But then, the Lord’s willingness to inhabit Solomon’s Temple wasn’t the only time He voluntarily limited Himself. God also accepted the limitations of a human body, which He still inhabits in its resurrected state. Without ceasing to be infinite, He graciously condescends to limit Himself to our smallness. He sees our limitations, and lovingly adapts to them while continuing to retain a glory that we won’t be able to comprehend until He raises us up in our resurrection bodies.
Similarly, even though the Bible certainly doesn’t tell us everything there is to know about God, it gives us everything we need to know in this present time. He chooses to reveal Himself through Scripture, knowing that none of us will ever be able to fully plumb its depths, no matter how often or how carefully we read it. After my almost 47 years of reading it daily and studying it more than most professing Christians do, I’m only now beginning to understand what He is saying through it.
As a matter of fact, God’s Word supplies such an abundance of ways for us to know Who He is, how He sees things and what His will is, that we simply don’t need any further revelation. Consider, for example, the apostle Paul’s proclamation to Timothy:
14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.~~2 Timothy 3:14-17 (ESV)
People who accuse me of “limiting” God by my insistence on the sufficiency of Scripture often really mean that they don’t want the Bible to limit them. That’s essentially what I meant when I embraced things like Charismatic theology and “Christian” psychology. Of course, I wouldn’t have admitted as much back then, but in truth I actually did want alternatives to Scripture. I didn’t always like what I read in its pages. I wanted a “bigger” God Who would say what I wanted to hear.
Yes, God is greater than the Bible. I don’t think any of us can begin to comprehend His majesty or His magnitude. But we can appreciate His graciousness to give us Scripture, through which He provides enough revelation of Himself to occupy us until He takes us home.