Those who take the Bible seriously and believe all that is written in it based on an orthodox interpretation have been accused many times of the sin of bibliolatry. Wait. What is THAT? Bibliolatry means worshipping the Bible. Here is the Google dictionary definition: an excessive adherence to the literal interpretation of the Bible. What should Christians think? Is this good or bad?
First of all, the Bible, itself, is clear that worshipping ANYTHING other than God is condemned. It is sin of the highest level, idolatry. If I were to put a Bible on an altar, bring food to it, light candles around it, bow down and pray asking it to provide my needs then yes, that would be Bible worship. That would be the sin of idolatry – worshipping paper, ink, leather, etc. So are Christians who are committed deeply to the Bible guilty of this? No. They don’t leave it closed and pray to it as an object. They open it up, read it, and worship the God revealed to them in the words on the page.
This is helpful from John Frame. “God’s word, wherever we find it, including Scripture, is an object worthy of reverence. I’m not advocating bibliolatry, which is worship of a material object with paper, ink, and so on. The paper and ink are creatures, not God, and we shouldn’t bow down to them. But the message of the Bible, what is says, is divine, and we should receive it with praise and worship.”
So there’s the content which we see in the Bible. Think about Psalm 119. It is a literal masterpiece found in the Bible written to exalt the greatness of the word of God. It is the longest chapter in the entire Bible – 176 verses, with virtually every verse saying something about the God’s word. It is broken down into twenty-two sections, each one with exactly eight verses. Each section coordinates with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet. So the first section begins with the first letter, aleph, the next with the second letter, beth, and so forth to the end. Within each section, all eight verses begin with the same letter ascribed to that section. Can you imagine the effort and genius that went into writing that?
It is truly a masterpiece of literature! It would be a sin committed by the Bible itself for it to give such devotion to anything other than God. But the Bible is not committing sin by worshipping itself. That’s because these are actually the words of God and not a person or a book. God spoke the words written by the human author. And when you look at the words themselves, it is amazing what you see – more worship! Yes, you see Psalm 119 ascribing worship to the word of God. For example, look at these.
Verse 47 “I find my delight in your commandments, which I love.”
Verse 48 “I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love.
Verse 97 “Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day.
Verse 113 “I love your law.”
Verse 114 “I hope in your word.”
Verse 119 “I love your testimonies.”
Verse 127 “I love your commandments above gold, above fine gold.”
Verse 140 “Your promise is well tried, and your servant loves it.”
Verse 159 “Consider how I love your precepts!”
Verse 165 “Great peace have those who love your law”
Verse 167 “My soul keeps your testimonies; I love them exceedingly.”
THAT IS WORSHIP!
Then when you also consider that Jesus Christ our Lord actually called the word of God (John 1:1,14) you see it plainly. Of course we should worship the word of God – we’re worshipping Jesus! This is no sin of idolatry. This is the truest of all worship. Every believer, drink deeply from the word and give God praise in it!
For those who want to read more on this topic, here is more in these well-trusted articles:
Bibliolatry – A Fraudulent Accusation by Dr. A William Merrell, SBCEC
Bibliolatry by Tim Challies
What Is Bibliolatry by Got Questions