When we read the Bible or come under the teaching of the Bible, we are hearing from God himself. We do not worship pen and ink—this would be to lower the Bible, not elevate it—but we do treat Scripture with reverence, regarding it as the very presence, power and authority of God. Really, it is difficult to imagine how we could have too-high a view of Scripture. It is much more likely that our regard for Scripture is too low, too human, too safe.
More than once I have been accused of being a bibliolater, a person who idolizes the Bible, who has excessive reverence for the letter of the Bible. I’m sure many other Christians have been accused of this as well. In my experience, this charge tends to be leveled against those who affirm the infallibility or inerrancy of Scripture; it may also be leveled against those who affirm the sufficiency of Scripture. People who level such a charge are objecting to what they see as a woodenness of faith and practice that stems from an understanding of Scripture they deem too literal.
I am quite sure that I do not idolize the Bible and I am quite sure it is far more difficult to do than the accusers may think. Let me tell you how I think about this charge.
We, as sinful human beings, have lost the right and the ability to have unmediated access to God. Before they fell into sin, Adam and Eve had the privilege of walking and talking with God. They had direct, face-to-face access to the Creator. This is a privilege we eagerly anticipate reclaiming when the Lord returns, but in the meantime, polluted as we are by sin, we have severed that direct communication. We now rely on communication from God that is mediated by Scripture. John Stott once said, “God has clothed His thoughts in words, and there is no way to know Him except by knowing the Scriptures. … We can’t even read each other’s minds, much less what is in the mind of God.” God’s Word tells us that we can only know God as he actually, truly is, through that same Word.
The Bible is the Word of God.