WHAT IS THE BIBLE?
By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth." (Psalm 33:6,9) God spoke and the earth appeared. God spoke and every living creature" appeared. God spoke and man appeared.
But God's power did not stop at creation. The word of God is still powerfully with us today! You can have its power in your life. . .its influence for joy and truth. The same power, from the same source as creation, can be yours.
The Bible says, "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God." (Hebrews 11:3) What power there must be in the utterances of God! This is something to think about-- something that can fill us with wonder and joy.
Just as God created the world by his spoken word at creation, so too he can create new hearts and lives today through his written word, the Bible. Both were brought into existence by the breath of God! Both were inspired by God! As the apostle Paul explained, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God." (2 Timothy 3:16)
No wonder the Bible has stood the test of time. It has the breath of God in it! It has withstood every attack upon it, no matter how concentrated. It has proven to be true throughout every change in man's thinking and approach to life. It has proven itself indestructible under the hammer blows of cynicism and criticism.
The power of creation and the power of the Bible are the same. Both come from the mouth of God. We would certainly be rewarded by making the Bible a part of our daily living as much as we make air, food, and sunlight part of our living. It's no wonder the Bible is often called "The Bread of Life."
But, you may ask, what can the Bible really do for you? Can it really help you live more joyfully? How can you know what it says for your happiness today?
First, it would be well for us to understand how we got the Bible. The apostle Peter declares: "Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." (2 Peter 1:21) God, through his Spirit, spoke to his prophets. This happened sometimes through direct communication, or through visions, dreams, and other means. No wonder expressions like "Thus saith the Lord," "God said," and others are found over 2,500 times in the Bible.
David the Psalmist often referred to the Lord speaking through him. One example is, "The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and his word was in my tongue." (2 Samuel 23:2) Other Bible writers used similar expressions.
So, we see that God used human prophets and penmen to write down his messages to us. He gave them the thoughts, the visions, the dreams, and then they put them down in their own language and style.
Since this is the Word of God. . .since it has come from his mouth. . .just think what it can do for you! But there is a crucial factor involved in your deriving the Bible's power for your life, and that is a proper approach to studying it.
Why can one person read the Bible and get so much good out of it while another person isn't helped at all? What you get out of the Bible depends on how you approach it. What is the spirit, the motive, the attitude, you bring to your study of the Bible? If you approach the Bible like some sort of encyclopedia of religious information, you will likely get just bits and pieces of religious information out of it. . .just facts. . .but nothing that will have a great impact on your life.
But if you come to the Bible with a sincere desire to follow God, to know him better, to listen to his words for you, then you will find great spiritual truths. You will find a way of life that will bring happiness and fulfillment you never thought possible.
Before you open the Bible, pray, as David the psalmist did: "Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law." (Psalm 119:18) Prayer and study are important in your search for truth and life.
A Bible that remains on the shelf, covered with dust from long neglect, is only ink and paper. It can only become the living Word for you when you take it down and bring your mind and heart to it and let the Spirit of God impress you with his Word. "Search the scriptures," Jesus said. "They testify of me." (John 5:39) So, if you would know the love and power of Jesus in your life, search the Bible. As Jesus said, "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed." (John 8:31) A disciple is one who follows his master and learns from him.
What will you learn from your Master, Jesus? This is his promise: "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:32) To know the truth. . .to be free from sin and the power of evil--what a glorious promise! It can come true for you, but you must do your part. What is that?
It is like that of a group of devout believers in the city of Berea in Greece. Luke, the writer of Acts, says of them, "They searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so." (Acts 17:11)
As much as you need physical food each day, you need spiritual food daily as well. As you study God's Word each day, you will noticea new confidence, a new peace, coming into your life. No wonder Jesus said, "Men shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." (Matthew 4:4)
There is another very important step in learning the way of truth and life, and that is to obey what you learn in the Bible. When it comes to living the Christian life, knowledge isn't enough. Practice is essential. Of course, we may know very little of God's way to begin with. But we must follow what we know is true. If we want to learn more and obey, God will lead us. That should be our attitude to him and his Word.
If we come to the Bible with that attitude, with our heart longing to follow God, then God can and will lead us. He will teach us his truth, his way to happiness and a whole life. As Jesus said, "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God." (John 7:17)
This is the assurance we're given: If we are willing to obey the truth God reveals to us, he will guard us from error, and he will reveal even more truth to us. But if you don't obey, the final results are dreadful. It is rejection by God. As the Bible says, "Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee." (1 Samuel 15:23)
Friend, never reject the truth God brings you in his Word. . .not even what you might consider a little truth. Obey the entire Word of God. . .that is your only way to truth and life.
In your approach to the Bible, these three things are essential: prayer. . .diligent, regular study. . .and a willingness to obey what you learn. Your rewards for following these principles will be many. The apostle Paul clearly told us what they would be. He wrote: "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." (2 Timothy 3:16) This verse tells us that the Word of God will help us in many ways.
Doctrine: The Bible will tell us what is truth, what are the laws of God, how we came to be, what is our purpose, and where we are going.
Reproof: The Bible will tell us where we are wrong in our living and thinking. It will point out our sins and weaknesses to us.
Correction: The Bible will tell us how we can go about correcting the wrong thinking and wrongdoing in our lives. It will not only show us what is wrong, but how we can get right.
Instruction in Righteousness: The Bible will guide us step by step to the source of righteousness. It will strengthen us to follow the path of right doing and right living. There is power in God's Word! No wonder we should do as the apostle Paul advises--"Take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." (Ephesians 6:17)
The apostle Paul had a young disciple named Timothy. Paul sought to train this young man to be a follower of Christ, and this is what Paul told Timothy: "Thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." (2 Timothy 3:15) There it is--the study and love of God's Word will make you wise in salvation--it will supply you the knowledge which is necessary to be a saved, whole person. But more than knowledge, it will also produce in you a deep faith in Jesus Christ, and that faith will enable you to follow his way to a happy, fulfilling life now and eternal life to come. All of this in the Bible! Yet there is more. . .much more!
Peter, that grand apostle of Christ, who so often learned things the hard way, had this to say about the scriptures: "We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts." (2 Peter 1:19) The Bible is a "sure word of prophecy." What it says about the future will happen.
If you heed this Word of God, you will find it a light in this world's darkness. You will find a new day dawning for you, and you will find the "day star"--who is Jesus--filling your heart.
Actually, the purpose of all scripture is to lead us to Jesus Christ. As we make God's Word a vital, living part of our lives, we will find the truth and life of Christ. For he said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." (John 14:6)
But sometimes we human beings find it hard to grasp the truth. That is why God did something startling to illustrate his truth for us. The apostle John describes it this way: "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." (John 1:14) God's Word--his truth, his way to life eternal--was all packed into Jesus. God's gift of truth and life was wrapped up in human flesh and delivered to us free of charge.
The power that created the universe--our world--life on earth--took the form of a man. He lived among us as one of us. Except he did not yield to sin. He was holy. He was the perfect sacrifice.
He hurt with us. He healed the sick,and offered comfort to the sorrowing. He was God's Word living among us. Everywhere he went he bent down to lift people up. He was the love of God dwelling with us, and that's why there is so much power in the Bible-- because the Bible points us to the Word of God as embodied in Jesus. When we have the Bible in our lives--we have the Word of God working in our lives. That means we have Jesus Christ himself.
No wonder the Bible gives life a meaning which helps us meet the trials and sorrows that come to us. God's Word makes life really worth living. It assures us that there is a God who cares for us, loves us, and wants to save us from sin.
The Word of God helps the broken-hearted to face the loss of loved ones. The Word of God helps the sinsick soul find strength and forgiveness in God. "Thy word have I hid in my heart," said the psalmist David, "that I might not sin against thee." (Psalm 119:11) The Word of God helps the lonely and weary find comfort and rest.
Above all the Word of God gives you Jesus. Both the Old and New Testaments tell us about him. In fact, soon after his resurrection Jesus himself used the Old Testament scriptures to help his disciples understand why he died. He told them: "All things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures." (Luke 24:44,45)
Today, Jesus through his Spirit will open our understanding, too. If we come to him sincerely, he will reveal himself to us and give us his power for victorious Christian living. He will speak to us through his Word as recorded in the Bible, and to listen to him, to know him, is The Way To Truth And Life.
Friend, why not open your heart to Jesus right now and begin learning about him. . .begin knowing him as your way of truth and life? Pray with us:
Dear Father, I want to know the power of your Word. I want to discover the way to a full life, a life of truth, fulfillment, and righteousness. That's why I want to see him as I've never seen him before. I want to see him as my Savior and my Lord. Thank you for providing the way that I can do this starting right now. Amen.