Why not everything in the Bible is the Word of God…
Now before you stone me or brand me a heretic, let me clarify. I totally, 100% believe that every verse in Scripture is the infallible, Holy Spirit breathed Word of God. But there are other things in the Bible that are not the Word of God…the contents page for one thing…the title and verse divisions…and of course the headings above certain passages. In my NIV Bible, the heading above Mark 10v46 says “Blind Bartimeaues Receives His Sight” – this was of course not in the original text but was added later by the scholar who compiled the scriptures. So thanks in part to this heading, Bartimeaus has come to be known as “Blind Bartimeaues” or “the blind beggar” (going by Luke’s account). The reason this annoys me a little is that of course after this encounter with Jesus, Bartimeaues wasn’t blind anymore! Neither was he a beggar either. Surely a better heading would have been “Bartimeaues Receives His Sight” – after all that was his name. But instead the theologians who compiled the Bible insisted on putting “Blind” before his name, therefore condemning him in our minds to forever being defined by his issue rather than his new identity after he had met with Jesus. The problem with religious scholars, are that sometimes they can err on the side of fact, when the Bible deals not just with facts – but faith. And when faith and facts don’t match up, the Bible always errs on the side of faith. The facts tell me he was blind. But faith in a healing and compassionate God, tells me he is blind no more!
How many times do we define ourselves, or we allow other people to define us by our issue. I am / you are – “A sinner” “sick” “poor” “sad” “depressed” “lonely” “divorced” “an addict” “hurt” “bitter” “angry” “confused” etc.
Of course, the wonderful news about the gospel is that when “Blind” Bartimaeues encountered Jesus, his issue was sorted out and his identity changed back to simply being “Bartimaeues”. In the same way, the New Testament tells us that when we encounter Jesus we have a new identity that is no longer based on our issue. This identity is based on us being “In Christ Jesus”. Our definition of who we are “In Christ Jesus” is totally different to how we were before. “In Christ Jesus” we are – children of God, forgiven, redeemed, holy, righteous, more than conquerors. “In Christ Jesus” we have forgiveness, healing, provision, peace, joy, self control, freedom, blessing and much much more.
If you had met a perfectly healthy man with 20/20 vision the day after the account in Mark and asked him his name, would you not consider it strange if he said “Blind Bartimaues”?! Of course, he wouldn’t have said that, his issue had been dealt with, it was no longer who he was. And yet, how many of us continue to say “I am…” followed by a description of a past identity that Jesus has set us free from. As long as we live in that identity, our issue will always be who we are. But as we allow our mind to be renewed to the Word of God, and we match our thinking and our speaking up to what God says about us, we will become all He has made us to be.
Of course, the thing about Bartimaues was this his blindness was dealt with, but you may argue “yes, but my issue is still there”. But when Jesus died on the cross He really did deal with your issue. He really did remove it and take it away. You really are a “new creation” in Him. But just like it took Simon / Peter and Jacob / Israel a long time to really live in their new identity it can take a long time for us to get this revelation of just who we are in Jesus. Who we are in Jesus is actually the reality, everything else is just deception. It’s in knowing this truth that we are set free.
So next time you make a confession of who you are, don’t focus on your issue. Instead remember your identity is now “In Christ Jesus” – that is who you are! In verse 51 of Mark 10, Bartimaues is called “the blind man” but in verse 52 he meets Jesus, and he was never called that again. Choose to live in verse 52 today!