The Wonderful Bible
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1. The Wonderful Bible
One of the boldest statements Jesus ever made is that found in John 10:35, "The Scripture cannot be broken." Our steadfast faith in the sacred text is a definite bulwark of Christianity. As the prophet wrote long ago, "So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it" (Isaiah 55:11). The great German thinker, Immanuel Kant, said, "The existence of the Bible as a book for the people is the greatest benefit the human race ever experienced. Every attempt to belittle it or to do away with it entirely is a crime against humanity."
God's word is true from the beginning (Psalms 119:160) and will still enthrall us when the earth has been cast aside as an old garment (Matt. 24:25; Hebrews 1:12). The psalmist makes this point so powerfully: "For ever, O Jehovah, Thy word is settled in heaven" (Psalms 119:89). Sir Walter Scott said of it: Within this powerful volume lies The mystery of mysteries, Happiest he of human race To whom God has given grace; To read, to fear, to hope, to pray. To lift the latch and learn the way But better had he never been born Who reads to doubt or reads to scorn.
The Bible can transform character, change hearts and point men to heaven. Christ has "the words of eternal life" (John 6:68) and the entrance of God's word gives light (Psalms 119:130). The dynamic results of Scripture in our daily conduct is piercing, pungent and provoking (Hebrews 4:12). We will never be the same, once we open our hearts and our minds to the revelation of God's truth! When Paul bade farewell to the elders of the Ephesian church, these were his noble words of departure: "And now I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you the inheritance among all them that are sanctified" (Acts 20:32). The word of the Lord will judge us one day (John 12:48), and it cannot be bound (2 Tim. 2: 9). When we live in harmony with its precepts, our lives are richer, fuller and blessed indeed. As the prophet wrote, "The grass withereth, the flower fadeth; but the word of our God shall stand forever" (Isaiah 40:8).
As to the inspiration of the Bible, these passages stand out in clarity and richness: 2 Sam. 23:2; 2 Pet. 1:;21; 1 Corinthians 2:13; 1 Thes. 2:13; 2 Tim. 3:16,17; Jeremiah 1:9; John 16:13; 17:17; 8:31,32. In a compelling summation, these verses tell us that the Holy Spirit inspired some forty men to write sixty-six Bible books that contain the very WORDS (not just the ideas, the notions, advice or concepts) that the Almighty God wanted mankind to clearly know. Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. It was truly the word of God, not the word of men. Not only so, but these passages reveal that the Bible contains ALL of the will of our Maker.
The Scripture cannot be broken, according to John 10:35. Through the centuries, evil men have tried to destroy the Bible, but still it stands because truth never dies. Earthly leaders have desperately tried to destroy heaven's message through means of persecution, inquisition, torture and by burning volumes of the Bible by thousands of copies, but still the Book of books circles the earth and blesses millions. The great influence of the Bible upon society is still seen through the actions of Presidents, Kings and courts of law. At weddings, and funerals and anniversaries, millions turn to it for comfort (Rom. 15:4). It is still a "light unto our path" (Psalms 119:105). The Bible is a joy (Psalms 119:97) as we meditate upon it day and night (Psalms 1:2). So precious is this Book that, during the "Dark Ages," when few copies were available, villages blessed with a rare copy would chain it to the pulpit, so that each family would have access to it.
The indestructible nature of the Bible, by God's providence, speaks of its divine origin and protection. Since "the law of the Lord is perfect" (Psalms 19:7), we should not be ashamed to speak of it before kings (Psalms 119:46). Preaching the oracles of God should be a delight for faithful and loyal soldiers of Christ (1 Pet. 4:11; Ephesians 6: 17). Jehovah has been gracious to allow us the honor to boldly tell men His marvelous message.
Someone has well stated that "the Bible is the perfect anatomy of the soul." Since our Creator is its Author (Psalms 33:9), no one knows us better. Jehovah has revealed His will and way to us in understandable tones and terms (1 Corinthians 14:33). Not only is the Bible God's revelation to man, it is truly an infallible guide that maintains and sustains us as we travel through this pilgrim land on our way to glory. The psalmist spoke accurately and eloquently in Psalms 119:105 of that rich book: "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, And light unto my path." Paul reminded the Ephesian elders that the sacred Scriptures had the ability to provide an eternal inheritance for them (Acts 20:32).
The Bible, in sixty-six powerful and precious books, is a map that guides us safely and effectively through life and then on to mansions above in the presence of the redeemed (Matt. 8:11). All of these beautiful building blocks of spiritual endeavor point us to Christ, who is the heart of Scripture (Rev. 19:10). No other book has heaven's message of redemption and no other message has the guidance necessary for our fruitful sojourn on earth. Because the Bible is its own best witness, WE are on trial, not the BIBLE.
To really read the Bible to find out what it means, you need to read with the following questions in mind:
- What does the text say? (observation)
- What does it mean? (interpretation)
- How does it apply to me? (application)
The following guidelines are helpful in proper Bible reading:
- Scripture interprets Scripture. If an idea you get from one verse is out of line with the rest of what the Bible says, you need to reevaluate what you thought that verse said. "Let everything be established by 2 or 3 witnesses" before you make a doctrine of something.
Literal where possible -- what it says, it means.
Consider the form of the writing in each section (i. e. historical, narrative, parable, poetry, teaching, prediction of the future, etc.).
Consider grammar and history. This means understanding how natural languages work in general, and at least something of how the original languages of the Bible work. It also means that it is helpful to understand the history, culture, geography, etc., of the original audience.
More on how to read the Bible on our sister website here.
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