If I asked you how I could learn about God, but without using the Bible, what would be your response? That may seem like an outlandish question, but in honesty, it’s really not. I, as well as some others, have heard the discussion being made to learn about God, but use sources outside of scripture. These discussions are not being made by people in the denominational world, but by people within the Lord’s body! Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with using supplements and commentaries. However, there is and has to be a very delicate balance when using these extra-biblical sources.
First, having a commentary or some form of material can be very encouraging. There is a lot of benefits we can get from these sources. For example, I own a book titled, One Minute Prayers for Men, and it really helps to remind me of the need to talk to our God in prayer, and that it doesn’t have to be some grand falling on my knees, hour-long prayer. It can be as simple as taking a minute of your day while working or cleaning, to spend time in prayer with God. Another example would be sources like Francis Chan’s Crazy Love. That book can be a challenging and very thought-provoking reminder of the love God has for us, how we are to love Him, as well as the level of devotion we should have in our daily walk as Christians.
However, the issue comes into play when we glorify and base our entire source of strength from books like these rather than the Bible. Again, these books can be encouraging; they can have a lot of good points! However, the reason why they have good points is because these books pull from scripture. Crazy love would not be as spiritually encouraging if it did not include verses like John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” How much could I really gain from a book talking about prayer if I don’t know that 1 John 5:14-15 tells me, “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him”?
Because, really, that’s what the heart of this issue is. There is no way to learn about God unless you look at what scripture tells you. Scientific research for example has proven that this world and everything in it is so finely tuned that it must have been designed by a Creator, but that’s where it stops. The Bible goes further in that it tells you the world and everything in it was designed by a Creator, mankind was made in the image of God in that he has a soul, that God gave man dominance over the earth, and that God loves man so much He gave a perfect sacrifice so that man can be with Him when this world ends. It is utterly impossible to know of God unless you actually look at His words, and the proof of His existence.
In summary, life is all about balance. If you want to have a commentary or study material written by man in order to have encouragement and growth, do not hesitate, they are great and very helpful. However, don’t forget that the best source, and really the only source that is going to help you reach heaven is the word of God. That is the only way to know of God; He even tells us, “As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue.” And where does He tell us this? He tells us in the Bible, specifically 2 Peter 1:3. Never forget that if we submit to God and what He tells us in scripture, and leave behind the wisdom of man, we can have true paradise.