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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Holding Onto the Bible

While in college I sold "Bible Books" for a very brief period of time. One of the questions I would ask in my sales talk was, "Have you ever come across a passage in the Bible that you didn't understand?" I only had one person say they hadn't. My next question was, "Do you read the Bible?"

The Bible is not read and understood as one might read a math problem. The understanding in a math problem comes from the human intellect. The understanding of the Bible comes from the spirit. The nature of being "God-breathed" means that it came from the Spirit to the spirit of those who wrote it. It was not automatic writing in which a person has no control of his body and writes without his knowledge or effort. The Spirit moved the spirit to know and obey. From this we see the personality of the writers in the text. We see their own intellectual abilities to tell stories and state the truth.

Thus, while the Bible has no claim of being inerrant, there are no errors (in the original text which is no longer extant. The current translations have endeavored to correct minor copying errors which have occurred over the centuries. That is why there are slight differences in the translations.) because it comes to an obedient servant who responds to the Spirit.

God has been very careful with His Word. There have been many efforts to eliminate it from the earth but these attacks have only served to intensified the resolve of believers to preserve their own Bibles. There are many stories of people hiding the family bible where Christians are persecuted. I cannot help but believe that God also has had His hand in preserving the Bible. His word has spread across the world with so many copies that it would be extremely difficult to remove it.

Yet, the Bible is also always under attack. These attacks often come from people who do not like what it says. They may like its teaching but they often see the Bible as harsh when it reproves and corrects people. Those who attack it often try to read into the Bible the things that they do not wish to be reproved. They will gloss over the texts that are bothersome. The will use outside sources to have a new understanding. They will ignore principles in order to get their way. They will also become judges over the Bible as to interpret its meaning to be exactly as they want it.

The Bible does not train in righteousness when the things which are righteous are ignored. The Bible becomes a book that is used to support political and social agendas rather than what it really is: a sacred book intended to change lives.

We find a great separation in the world we live in. Some people are losing themselves to a conservatism that rivals the Pharisees. On the other hand, there are those who have moved with the world to accept anything the world accepts as right and good. Neither of these can be the stance of the believer. It is not conservatism  that makes the words of the Bible come alive. It is not just believing what your parents or your neighbors believe that stands for righteousness. It is reading the Bible in the spirit which reveals the spiritual intent of the Bible. It is obedience to this understanding. It is tearing yourself away from politics and social mores to embrace a true Savior and live a life devoted to God.

The Bible must be held onto if there will be anyone who is able to do the good works God has intended. How else can we understand what is truly a good work?

Someone once said, "Its not how many times you've been through the Bible; its how many times the Bible has been through you." Yes, indeed. You do not understand the Bible by merely reading it. You know it by reading it while your spirit interprets. Then, and really only then, does it equip you.

But it still needs to be read. I have no statistics but I believe that very few Christians read their Bibles daily. They walk into the world unprepared for each day, void of the word that God would say to them for that day.
The only way to really hold onto the Bible is to place it in our hearts.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV) 
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

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