As the month of May began, I cracked open the shrink wrap on a new pocket-sized Bible…the cover on the old one had finally worn out! Frankly, I am like a kid with something new, excited about the freshness of the feel of the cover and the aroma of the leather…but there has to be something more. This is the Word of God!!
Although I have been committed to the final authority of Scripture since my college days, over the years I have seen trends that have been unsettling in some cases, and disturbing in others. People who speak well of the Scriptures have not always thought well of the Scriptures. Saying we believe in the veracity of the Word is great. But basing what we believe and do on what the Bible says is far better!
The drift away from truth in our culture in general has also impacted the way many treat the truth of the Bible. They say they believe it is true, but then hedge their bets when it gets down to specific points of biblical teaching. For example, it has become acceptable in some quarters to affirm “what the Scriptures teach” and then assume the right to put your own spin on an “interpretation” you like best and then declare that is what the text teaches. The result is a diluted view of biblical authority that says, “I see what the text says but I don’t think that is what it means.” Convenient perhaps, if you want it to mean something other than what it says, but not exactly faithful to the understanding that we are under the authority of the Scripture, not vice versa!
Another troubling example I have heard is a division of the house regarding which parts we can affirm confidently and which parts we can dismiss inconsequentially. Some Bible teachers have actually stated that they affirm what Jesus says (or in some cases, ‘implies’), but not what Paul says. So their approach to Scripture is the ‘red letter’ stuff that Jesus said is more trustworthy than what Paul wrote. To quote one advocate of this position, “I prefer what Jesus said on this subject to what Paul says…I’m going to go with Jesus on this one!” Great applause grabber in a truth-denying culture, but an affront to the inerrancy of Scripture!! If all Scripture is inspired, God-breathed, the same Holy Spirit authored all of it…what Jesus said and what Paul said and what Moses said and what Isaiah said…He is the source of every word! The unity of Scripture comes from the One Author responsible for all of it!
So here is my plea…let the Bible speak and allow it to say what it means and mean what it says! Does that mean we can understand everything in it all the time? Of course not, but much of the time the issue is not whether we understand, but whether we like or agree with what it says! Take the Word at its word! The trustworthiness of the text has long been attacked, as many try to undermine its authenticity. The meaning of its words has long been questioned, as many try to impose an ‘interpretation’ that is in fact nothing more than a ‘substitution’ or a ‘refutation.’
In the following verses, hear what the Bible says about itself. This is what I believe. This is where I take my stand as a follower of Christ. And this is my delight!
2Tim. 3:16-17 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
Psa. 18:30 As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.
Psa. 119:89, 97, 103, 105 Your word, O LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens… Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long…How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! …Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
Psa. 138:2 I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.
Matt. 24:35 “ Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall not pass away.
1 Pet. 1:24-25 For, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you.
Are there more portions of Scripture that affirm these same kinds of things? Absolutely! Go see! Dig into the sweet mines of eternal truth and let the Lord convince you of these things and then allow them to shape what you think, believe and do. One last word and I will stop!
Jesus said, “Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them” (John 13:17). If you know that the Scriptures are trustworthy in all things, then have at it…believe it…and in the power of Jesus’ name, go do what He says!