Seeing and Responding to Scripture

Bryan CribbBryan Cribb, Leadership


When my wife and I had our honeymoon in Plymouth, Mass.—some 14 years ago now—we made the decision to drive the entire way. Now I know a 20-hour car ride on your honeymoon sounds like a bad idea, but it was really quite nice. On the way, we visited places like Hershey, Penn., Amish Country, and New York City.

One place that I especially wanted to tour was Princeton University—a theological promised land in the United States and the producer of great theologians of church history like B.B. Warfield, Charles Hodge, Jonathan Edwards, J. Gresham Machen, Gerhardus Vos, and Cornelius van Til.

We pulled into campus only to find it full of activity. Apparently, some big event was going on. Students everywhere. Cars everywhere. We finally found a place to park—right near a rather ostentatious Porsche.

A security guard informed us that the hustle and bustle due to Jerry Seinfeld being on campus. Imagine my disappointment that a school with such history had reduced itself to having a Jerry Seinfeld speak.

Princeton UniversityMy disappointment changed to curiosity when the security guard pointed out that the Porsche we had parked beside was actually one of Seinfeld’s many Porsches. I thought, “No one back home will ever believe this.”

So I did what anyone would do. I had my new bride take my picture in front of it. Some people have pictures of themselves with celebrities. I have a picture with a celebrity car.

To be honest, I took the picture so that those back home might do two things—see and appreciate, but then also respond. “Yes, Bryan, I see and appreciate you were standing beside Seinfeld’s car, and I confess that you are the coolest college professor ever.”

The Scriptures have this same provocative purpose. Sure, they present beautiful pictures of God in his glory or of Christ as the anticipated Messiah. They contain intricate stories, striking poetry, probing prophecies. But just like my picture, Scripture exists not just to inform the intellect and captivate the eyes, as some piece of literature or artwork. Instead, the Spirit works through Scripture to change us and elicit a response.

Psalm 19:7-11 illustrates this principle. There, the Psalmist extols the Word of God as not just perfect, sure, right, pure, clean, true, righteous, enduring, and desirable. But it also “does” something. It revives, enlightens, rejoices, makes wise, and warns. As Paul states, Scripture is not just “God-breathed,” but it is also “profitable”—reproving, training, and equipping us, so that we may become conformed to the image of Christ (2 Timothy 3:16).

So, the next time you pick up your Bible, don’t just see and appreciate its innate quality, but also seek to be pierced by it (Hebrews 4:12).

The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.Psalm 19:7-11

Header image modified from “Red Porsche 1600” (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) by Sherwood
“Nassau Hall, Princeton University” retrieved from Wikipedia” (CC0)