I’ve realized for some time now that my MA in Biblical studies has a shelf-life. I’m not just talking about the fact that scholarship moves on and that you constantly have to keep learning if your education is going to mean anything. I’m talking about the fact that eventually, there will come a time when learning about the Bible simply won’t matter.
You heard me. There’s going to come a day when READING YOUR BIBLE WON’T MATTER.
In paradise, before the Fall, there was no Bible, and there will be no Bible in the future paradise of glory. When the transparent light, kindled by nature, addresses us directly, and the inner word of God sounds in our heart in its original clearness, and all human words are sincere, and the function of our inner ear is perfectly performed, why should we need the Bible? What mother loses herself in a treatise upon the “love of our children” the very moment that her own dear ones are playing about her knee, and God allows her to drink in their love with full draughts? –Lectures on Calvinism, pg. 45
At the end of all things we won’t need to read our Bibles because the reality they’ve been pointing us to, teaching us about, will be here, fully available. We won’t just have to read about the glory of God in Jesus Christ, but we’ll be able to see, taste, and touch–we’ll swim in it. When face to face with our beloved, there is no need to read an old letter. In the New Creation, people won’t need Bible experts, teachers, etc. Once again, I’ll be out of a job. You won’t need to read your Bible.
Still, as Kuyper goes on to point out, this is not currently the case:
But, in our present condition, the immediate communion with God by means of nature, and our own heart, is lost. Sin brought separation instead, and the opposition which is manifest nowadays against the authority of the Holy Scriptures is based on nothing else than the false supposition that, our condition being still normal, our religion need not be soteriological. For of course, in that case, the Bible is not wanted, it becomes, indeed, a hindrance, and grates upon our feelings, since it interposes a book between God and your heart. Oral communication excludes writing. When the sun shines on your house, bright and clear, you turn off the electric light, but when the sun disappears below the horizon, you feel the necessitas luminis artificiosi ie., the need of artificial light, and the artificial light kindled in every dwelling. Now this is the case in matters of religion. When there are no mists to hide the majesty of divine light from our eyes, what need is there then for a lamp unto the feet, or a light unto the path? But when history, experience, and consciousness unite in stating the fact that the pure and full light of heaven has disappeared, and that we are groping about in the dark, then, a different, or if you will, an artificial light must be kindled for us–and such a light God has kindled for us in his holy Word.
–Lectures on Calvinism, pp. 45-46
One day we won’t need our Bibles, but today is not that day. We’re still in need of light. We don’t see all things clearly. Things can get a little foggy out there. Your hearts can still deceive you, so you need someone to place “a book between God and your heart.” For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. (1 Cor 13:12)
For now, keep your Bibles open and shining light into your heart and let it remind you constantly of the day, when by God’s grace, you won’t need it.
Soli Deo Gloria