Christians are often called “People of the Book.” Many Christians would agree with that label, but it is really born out of a misunderstanding. Christ-followers are not actually people of the Book, but people of the Person. We follow Christ, not a book that Jesus wrote.
Marcus Borg explains the profound distinction: “Indeed, one of the defining characteristics of Christianity is that we find the revelation of God primarily in a person, an affirmation unique among the major religions of the world. For Judaism and Islam, though Moses and Muhammad are receivers of revelation, God is not revealed in them as persons, but in the words of the Torah and Qur’an. So also in Buddhism: the Buddha as a person is not the revelation of God; rather, the Buddha’s teachings disclose the path to enlightenment and compassion. But Christianity finds the primary revelation of God in a person.”
Follow me. Trust me. Come to me. I am the truth, says Jesus.
The implication is important. Reading, studying, and understanding the Bible is not the goal of a Christ-follower. Bible knowledge is just a first step toward the goal of following Jesus. According to Thomas Adams, “The Bible is to us what the star was to the wise men; but if we spend all our time in gazing upon it, observing its motions, and admiring its splendor, without being led to Christ by it, the use of it will be lost on us.”
Of course, this method of communicating Himself through the person of Christ rather than through a holy book will always scandalize religious people whose focus is to be “People of the Book.” We need to be experts in the relationship that the Bible points towards and not miss the whole point of the book in the first place.