The Bible is not an Encyclopedia

Here is an excerpt from Paul Tripp's Book, Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands.  It is a wonderful book that I commend to you.  Here is what he writes on how Christians often handle the Scripture.

Many Christians simply don't understand what the Bible is.  Many thing of it as a spiritual encyclopedia: God's complete catalog of human problems, couple with a complete list of divine answers.  If you turn to the right page, you can find answers for any struggle.  A more sophisticated variation views the Bible as a systematic theology textbook, an outline of essential topics you must master to think and live God's way.  In either case, we tend to offer each other isolated pieces of Scripture that seem to fit the need of the moment.  What we think of as ministering the Word is little more than a spiritual cut-and-paste system.

This Kind of ministry rarely leads to lasting change because it does not bring the power of the Word to the places where change is really needed.  In this kind of ministry, self is still at the center, personal need is the focus, and personal happiness remains the goal.  But a truly effective ministry of the Word must confront our self-focus and self-absorption at its roots, opening us up to the vastness of A God-defined, God-centered world.  Unless this happens, we will use the promise, principles, and commands of the Word to serve the thing we really love: ourselves.  This may be why many people read and hear God's Word regularly while their lives remain unchanged.  Only when the rain of the Word penetrates the roots of the problem does lasting change occur.