When You Should Speak Authoritatively (and When You Shouldn’t)

I was visiting a church recently (which I encourage anyone on a church staff to do periodically…you’ll learn so much), and I got called out from stage.

I was minding my own business when the theological hammer came crashing down on my head.

Let me state this first: I’m a pro-Bible guy. I’m for it. I read it. I glean wisdom and life from it. I’m convinced that it’s the very Word of God.

But I’m not convinced that it has to be printed on a page to be the Bible.

The service started out like 99% of every other service in America…a few songs, announcements, prayer, another song, then the sermon.

Don’t Miss

Here’s how it started, “Please get out your Bibles and turn to ______. If you don’t have your Bible, we have them available at the back…”

Normal, right? Nothing odd yet.

“And when I say Bible, I don’t mean your iPhone or your iPad or your digital device. I mean your physical Bible.” (He was shaking his Bible high in the air by now.) He was peering over his invisible reading glasses…right at me and my iPad.

“THIS (he holds his Bible higher and shakes it more ferociously) is how Jesus had his. I think that’s good enough for us, too.”

I wanted to say, “Well, actually, Jesus opened the scroll in the temple, and it didn’t look like that neat, leather-bound, small book you’ve got above your head…” but I didn’t. At least not out loud. 

I looked around me to the people sitting close by. I was the only one with a digi-Bible.

Uh oh. I knew I was in for a long service.

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Ben Reed
Ben Reed is the small groups pastor at Long Hollow, a multi-site church in the Nashville, TN, area. He holds an Mdiv from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Ben is also an avid coffee drinker and CrossFitter, but not at the same time. Catch up with Ben at BenReed.net. In his book, "Starting Small: The Ultimate Small Group Blueprint," he helps leaders through the process of putting a small group ministry together and creating a place where people belong so they can become.