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Light iron-age reading
The Bible
Icon bible.svg
Gabbin' with God
Fundamentalist: I believe Jesus is my Savior because the Scriptures are inspired and they say He is.
Lutheran: I believe the Scriptures are inspired because Jesus is my Savior and He says they are.[1]
—Kevin D. Vogts on bibliolatry vs. orthodoxy

Bibliolatry (from the Greek, biblion, "book," + latria, "worship") is the practice, within Christianity, of worshipping the Bible in the place of God.

The practice of bibliolatry received a boost in the Reformation when proto-Protestants emphasized the doctrine of sola scriptura.[2] Such high regard for books came in the wake of the Renaissance with its respect for old texts, and not so long after medieval times when literacy was uncommon, books were rare, and the written word represented Strong Magic.

Another form of bibliolatry is using the Bible as a symbol without referring specifically to its contents. Examples of this are waving the Bible in the air like it has some magical effect, swearing on the Bible, or using the Bible as a photo opportunity, such as when then-President Donald Trump held it in the air after having peaceful protesters tear gassed on June 1, 2020.[3][4]


The term is used exclusively as a pejorative, and is mainly used against fundamentalists who interpret the Bible very literally, or put such great stock by it as to make the appearance of upholding the Bible for the Bible's own sake rather than because they believe it was dictated by God. In other words, the accusation of bibliolatry is to directly imply that the accused essentially worships the Bible, itself, as or in place of God, thus, using the Bible as a graven idol.

Southern Baptists[edit]

In 2000, the Southern Baptist Convention removed language from their creed, the Baptist Faith and Message, that had established God as the "exegetical standard" for interpreting the Bible. They also went on a witch hunt, purging seminary teachers and brass who suggested that advances in history and archaeology could lead people to a better understanding of the Bible. These actions drew charges of bibliolatry, and SBC vice president A. William Merrell, in a colossal snit, accused those making the charges of political motivations and heresy.[5]


Beware the man of one book.
—- attributed to Saint Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of The Church[6]

Examples of careful enough wording not to count as bibliolaters[edit]

  • Institute for Creation Research's tenets has this:
    • "Its unique, plenary, verbal inspiration guarantees that these writings, as originally and miraculously given, are infallible and completely authoritative on all matters with which they deal, free from error of any sort, scientific and historical as well as moral and theological." Notice "infallible and completely authoritative" leaves room open for God to change matters, whereas "ultimate authority" or "final authority" does not.
  • Discovery Institute
    • Perhaps certain legal cases make them careful enough not to include religious material on their website.
  • Got Questions
    • We believe the Bible, comprised of[sic] the Old and New Testaments, to be the inspired, infallible, and authoritative Word of God (Matthew 5:18; 2 Timothy 3:16-17). In faith we hold the Bible to be inerrant in the original writings, God-breathed, and the complete and final authority for faith and practice (2 Timothy 3:16-17). While still using the individual writing styles of the human authors, the Holy Spirit perfectly guided them to ensure they wrote precisely what He wanted written, without error or omission (2 Peter 1:21).[9]

See also[edit]