Torrey Clark Contributing columnist
October 4, 2013
Last week, I gave an introductory snapshot about what the Bible is all about and its major divisions. This week, I will take this introduction a step further.
First of all, the Bible answers the big questions we have in life. It answers the question of the origin of life, “Where did I come from?” Genesis 1:1 says “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” God also said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness” (Genesis 1:26).
The Bible affirms that God created humankind. The Bible tells us the purpose of life, “Why am I here?” There is no trite answer to this question, but the Bible teaches we were created for love (1 John 4:7-11; Matthew 22:37-40) and to glorify our Creator (1 Corinthians 6:20).
The Bible also tells us about destinies, “Where am I going?” The Bible affirms that there is an eternal realm, and the life exists beyond the grave. Life on earth is not all there is.
The Bible also instructs us how to be pleasing to God. The Bible is pictured as a “lamp to [our] feet and a light to [our] path (Psalm 119:105). The knowledge of the Scriptures is that which makes us “wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15).
The Word tells us what sin is and what it does (1 John 3:4; Ephesians 4:22). Sin is a transgression of God’s word, and therefore His nature. As a result, it corrupts our souls. Therefore, the Bible exalts the idea of reading, studying, meditating upon and memorizing Scripture so as not to commit sin and protect our souls (Psalm 119:11).
Further, consider the words of the apostle Peter: “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence” (2 Peter 1:2–3). From this passage, it is clear that God has given us everything pertaining to life and godliness through the knowledge of God and Christ.
The knowledge of God and Christ comes from the Scriptures given by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20-21; 2 Timothy 3:16-17). This means if I want to know how to live so as to please God, I must go to the Scriptures and live according to them.
The Bible is indestructible. Sure, someone may be able to burn a copy of a Bible, but the word of God is not going anywhere. What other book has survived the annals of history like the Bible has?
This is not by accident. Jesus said “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away” (Matthew 24:35). The apostle Peter said “the word of the LORD endures forever” (1 Peter 1:25). The Psalmist wrote “O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89).
If God expects mankind to heed His word and live by it, it would be a violation of His character to allow the Scriptures to vanish from existence. A study of the preservation of God’s word through antiquity produces a state wonder and awe of the fact that the Bible has survived despite many situations where it was almost completely destroyed and lost.
Because of all of these things and more, the Bible offers stern warning about tampering with His Word. God’s word is not to be substituted with the teachings of men (Mark 7:7-9).
Jesus said that the religious leaders of His day worshipped God in vain because they laid aside the commandment of God and held “the tradition of men.” How many churches do this today? Those who preach and teach are commissioned to preach and teach only God’s word: “Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God” (1 Pet 4:11).
Much of what passes as teaching and preaching today focuses very little upon the word of God. The sermon will consist of a cute story, a poem, a political statement, a man’s opinions, an entertaining anecdote, or something else. Scripture may be smuggled in towards the end or throughout, but it serves more as garnish than the main course.
There is zero percent biblical authority for anything being preached besides God’s word. Illustrations may be used and applications may be made, but a sermon is to be focused around and saturated with a “thus saith the Lord.” Further, God’s word is not to be added to or taken away from (Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 30:6; Revelation 22:18-19).
May God help us to reverence His word and give heed unto it.