I started reading Ted Campbell and Michael Burns’ Wesleyan Essentials in a Multicultural Society yesterday. In the second chapter, “Biblical Authority in a Relativist World” I came across this excellent challenge:
We need to ask ourselves, though, if we in fact own the authority of Scripture over our own lives and over the lives of our congregations. A practical test is to ask “Do you expect to be changed when you read the Bible?” If one does not really expect to be changed by reading the Bible, then for all our talk about biblical authority, we do not really own it. To own the authority of the Bible is to face the reality, every time we open it, that God will have a fresh, new message for us, one that may challenge us very deeply (21).
I think Campbell and Burns effectively point out how often we as Christians talk about the authority of Scripture without actually behaving as if Scripture really did have authority over our lives. At a very basic level, if Scripture is to have authority over our lives, we need to at least spend time reading it so that we know what it actually says.
I don’t know about you, but this passage convicts me not just to say that the Bible is authoritative, but actually to own its authority over my life.