By Dr. Christian Overman
How does a banker do banking “as unto the Lord?” How does a car mechanic repair cars in alignment with Christ (pardon the pun)? How does the president of a company, or the President of a country, “think like Jesus” about issues and policies?
It starts with ideas. Fundamental ideas. Decision-guiding ideas. Commitment-shaping ideas. Rooted in the biggest idea of all: that the Bible is the Word of God in print, and that the Scriptures are totally true, for the totality of life.
I take an old-fashioned approach to the Bible. By “old-fashioned,” I mean an approach that has been around for centuries. An approach whereby Scripture is held as divinely inspired. By “inspired,” I mean “Holy Spirit originated.”
I believe inspired means the human writers put stylus to papyrus in such a manner that the words they wrote expressed the thoughts God Himself would have written had He been holding the pen. Not that God dictated the words, necessarily, but He guided the human authors to express thoughts with particular meanings. That’s not to say the human authors always fully understood what they were writing, but the Writer behind the writers did.
I realize the meanings of words change over time. I also realize certain words have different shades of meaning to different people. But I also realize that the words put to print by the human authors of the Bible, in the days they were written, had particular meanings in the mind of God. It is this meaning that’s the point.
Why is this so important? Because if I am going to make authentic connections between the biblical worldview and my daily work, then accepting the Scripture as divine communication with intended meaning (regardless of the opinion of my wife and kids) is essential.
I’m very burdened to say that biblical “truth” is increasingly subjective these days, blurred and individualized beyond recognition. It is no longer a matter of endeavoring to understand what the Writer meant by the words the human authors used. Rather than discovering what the Bible means to the Writer, it has devolved into, “What does this Scripture mean to me?”
Asking “how does it apply to me?” is very different than “what does it mean to me?” That kind of hermeneutic wreaks havoc with one’s ability to integrate authentic Christianity with one’s work, and it is particularly harmful when one’s work affects the direction of a nation.