Is the Bible a "Blueprint Book?"

By Gardner Hall

The following phrase has become popular among some brethren, "the Bible is not a blueprint book."

In one sense, the statement is true. The Bible is generally not laid out technically like a "blueprint book," with precise lists of rules and measurements. Rather, it is contains the history of God’s people, principles, illustrations and general instructions. Therefore, it is necessary to "mine" the scriptures and meditate upon them to extract its truths.

  1. But though it is not literally a "blueprint book," the Word of God ...
  2. Is called "the oracles of God," (1 Peter 4:11)
  3. Provides "all things that pertain to life and godliness," (2 Peter 1:3)
  4. "Is a lamp to our feet and a light to our pathway," (Ps. 119:105)
  5. Reveals the commandments of the Lord. (1 Corinthians 14:37)
    1. Though the Word of God it is not technically a "blueprint book" we should...
    2. Rightly divide it and can do so. (2 Tim 3:16,17) (God wouldn’t ask us to do the impossible.)
    3. not go "beyond what is written" in it. (1 Cor 4:6)
    4. not add to it or take away from it." (Rev 22:18,19)
    5. Not go beyond the doctrine of Christ revealed in it. (2 John 9)
    6. Do everything in the name of the Lord, that is, have His approval as revealed in the scriptures. (Col. 3:17)

The basic teachings of Christ about how to become a Christian and how to worship Him as first century Christians did are simple and understandable, even though they aren’t laid out like a "blueprint book." (Ephesians 2:3,4, etc.), Though there are difficult issues that usually deal with matters of individual application (2 Peter 3:16), such do not have to be divisive if dealt with on an individual basis and aren’t imposed upon others (Romans 14, 1 Cor. 8,9). Therefore, though the Bible isn’t technically a "blueprint book," it is still presumptuous to worship in a way that has no authority from the King (1 Cor. 4:6; Romans 14:23). It is still necessary to give loving warnings to those who deny the simple and basic truths about acceptance of God’s salvation (Acts 2:38; 22:16, etc.).

Why has this phrase become popular?

Is the phrase, "the Bible is not a blueprint book," used to imply that less scrutiny the Word of God is necessary, or that we don’t really have to have Bible precedent to authorise our worship and work in God’s kingdom? If such is the motivation behind the phrase, then a loving warning needs to be given. Such a spirit has always accompanied apostasies such as those that have resulted in the development of the traditional Roman Church in the second century and the Disciples of Christ denomination in the late 1800’s. This spirit needs to be challenged with love because it will invariably lead to less importance given to the Word, a distancing from Christ, and the formation of a liberal denomination like the "Christian Church, Disciples of Christ." We don’t need more liberal denominations, but rather humble, sincere people who take the Word of God at face value and refuse to go beyond what is authorised in it, whether it called is a "blueprint book" or not. Such people will be simple Christians, just like the first followers of Jesus. That’s still possible today!

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