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A Rule of Faith and Practice

Updated on May 30, 2013

Dr. Frank P. Crane

Both the title and the subtitle of this, my first HUB, (now revised) are sure to draw some arrows. Rules by which to believe and live? Is there a "right thing"? Interesting how only in religious or spiritual issues we insist on keeping our options open. Traffic laws? That guy coming toward me better stay on his side of the road. Price tags? If it says $10.50 I expect the cashier to ring up $10.50, not $12.75, 'cause today he feels bullish. We want what runs our day to day lives to be certain and predictable. But regarding the really big questions of human existence and meaning we're comfortable with vague feel-good assertions.

An instruction manual

Down through history millions have found in the Bible reliable data by which to shape a reasonable world and life view. "Give me a break!", you exclaim, "Who believes that stuff these days?" I do. And I've got a lot of good company: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, not to mention his 16th century namesake.

Why would you use the Bible as a rule of faith and practice? For the same reason you look at your car's manual. The manufacturer knows best how it works. I study the Bible to learn how I operate at maximum efficiency and joy. I figure my Creator should know. I'm grateful He provides an instruction manual.

"Even granting your point, which is pretty archaic, how would a book written by around 40 human authors over a period of 1600 years, the latest being in 95 A.D., offer me anything relevant, not to mention authoritative?" So glad you asked!

How to know the right thing to believe and do

Here's the short answer. Read the Bible as the self-revelation of a powerful, just and loving God; not as a human record of a people's walk with God. It is the latter, but you'll make sense of it only if you accept the former. Here's how the reasoning goes. By all counts, Jesus is someone to be respected and admired. We all have our heroes. Jesus is mine. He regarded the Scriptures to be the Word of God and quoted them often. But he did more than quote them. He lived by them. He was fond of explaining his points of view and actions with "that the Scriptures be fulfilled." That seemed to settle it for him. How could you go wrong following that example?

If you accept that the Bible is worth your time and attention, then the issue becomes one of interpretation. That's my passion. Not to tell you what the Bible says but to help you figure it out for yourself. So much conflict and pain and disappointment has been generated by cock-sure interpreters who use the Bible to promote a human agenda rather than submit to it as the Word of the Almighty Creator.

Far more than an instruction manual

The Bible offers a window into God's heart. If it were just an instruction manual, we'd only need to use it when we're in trouble or confused. No, God desires more than conformity to his laws. He's looks at the motivations behind our obedience. The Scriptures read, "Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin." (Romans 14:23) Did you get that? A life of perfect conformity to God's law is a life of sin if not motivated by faith. That turns a lot of "good deeds" into "filthy rags."

The purpose of Scripture is to show how to enjoy God despite the fact that even our best efforts fail to meet his perfect standard. From start to finish it's all about God's plan of salvation through faith in Christ. The gospel is the good news that God offers you a way to be perfectly righteous in his eyes. That way is to embrace Jesus Christ by faith. He is the believer's righteousness. (Jeremiah 23:6)


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    • liftandsoar profile image

      Frank P. Crane 5 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Glad to have you come by Darrell. Thanks for your kind words.

    • profile image

      darrell 5 years ago

      Excellent hub, Frank. As you say, the Bible is a revelation of the love of God. And Hebrews 4:12Amp ends with, "...exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart." So, we read the Bible, and the Bible reads us! Thanks for doing this helpful hub.

    • Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image

      Jo_Goldsmith11 5 years ago

      Well if I ever needed a lift. This hub sure has done it for me. I will check out some things about faith and what I need to do to practice walking in faith. I sometimes feel that God thinks I can handle things I don't feel I can. And the things I can handle it seems he isn't around for me to check in with and ask. Voted it up into the heavens. I bookmarked it too. :) Thank you for writing this.

    • Artin2010 profile image

      Artin2010 6 years ago from Northwestern Florida, Gulfcoast

      Believing is not always seeing with the eyes. It couldn't be a conspiracy as long running and as many people have endeavored into the Word which is still alive after so much controversy. Very enticing hub. A quest for wisdom and understanding is never a waste. Thank you life for writing. Blessings, Art

    • liftandsoar profile image

      Frank P. Crane 6 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Thanks, CMerritt. This has been quite a trip for me.

    • CMerritt profile image

      Chris Merritt 6 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      I love this when you said...."Read the Bible as the self-revelation of a powerful, just and loving God; not as a human record of a people's walk with God.....I think THAT is KEY!

      Excellent Hub...

    • qwark profile image

      qwark 6 years ago


      In my early 20's I spent 2 1/2 yrs in Baptist seminary prepping for a life behind the pulpit.

      I was considered, at that time of my life, to be a biblical scholar.

      I studied man's religious history and the rise of christianity.

      It wasn't long before I was asked, not too ceremoniously, to leave. Why? Because I am a "student," a curious searcher!

      My questions befuddled and frustrated my teachers! Their trite response was: "ya gotta have faith."

      I wouldn't/couldnt accept that as an answer and continued to place them behind the 8 ball with questions in the fields of anthropology, biology, cosmology, chemistry, physics et al, that they had never attempted to study and understand because their bibles rested, opened, on the ends of their short noses blocking their peripheral vision of "reality."

      I finally figured it out. They were programmed robots. Touting their bigotry to all who were easily led and would follow.

      I became a "strong" atheist and remained so for many yrs until I realized that there's no such thing as an atheist!

      An atheist is one who denies the existence of god/s.

      How can one deny that which only exists in the imagination of a "believer" as an abstract concept?

      One could only deny the "concept" of whatever this god thing is imagined to be in the minds of billions of the easily fooled and led.

      That's why I always ask for a definition of this god thing before I engage in a conversation with a "believer."


    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      The conclusion to your first paragraph is far too true.

      It will be interesting to see where you are going from here.

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      I think the Bible's direction is pertinent for anyone. It is good advice to keep one from sorrow and mistakes, from evil actions that bring disaster to oneself and those we love. Even if a person is not a believer in Christ (although I pray everyone will be) the Instruction manual is a great one for life.

      Thanks for a great, reflective Hub. HB

    • liftandsoar profile image

      Frank P. Crane 6 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Sorry, you early readers. I hadn't checked the right box to allow your comments. Fire away!