Some, of course, will let their Biblicism run rampant. They will enjoy arguing and debating far more than they enjoy applying the deeper truths behind the words on the page. Some will use the Bible as a weapon to isolate, damn, and manipulate others. Some will justify their own prejudices, citing verses out of context in order to provide the impression they are mature when, in fact, they are malicious. But we cannot let the aberrations of some distort God’s design for all.

The church of the future will recognize the Bible provides guardrails for life’s scenic highways. No one drives with their eyes focused on the guardrails, but we need them, lest our attention be so fixated upon the wonders of the ocean that we fail to abide by the most basic concerns and drive into the waves. We need the Bible’s guardrails to ensure we do not become so enamored with wonder we neglect the mundane. We live by the Spirit, but if it weren’t for the scriptures, we’d never accurately discern how the Spirit moves in the first place. Reading the Bible gives us the confidence that we’re heading in the right direction, safely, and can therefore be liberated to enjoy all God has provided without worry.

Adapted from Then. Now. Next.: A Biblical vision of the church, the kingdom, and the future.