“EAT THIS BOOK”
Around us we see believers capitulate to a chaotic and confused culture without ever standing up to it. Others actively or passively choose a complacency that disagrees with the godlessness without confronting it. But as Christ-followers, it is imperative that we be courageous to stand up and speak up regardless of the consequences.
To engage we must be informed:
- We must train ourselves to think well and to be skilled in our reasoning (I Peter 3:15).
- We have the mind of Christ (I Corinthians 2:16).
- We are told to test everything (I Thessalonians 5:21) with our minds prepared for action (I Peter 1:13).
- We are to present our case with strong reasons (Isaiah 41:21) and bring every thought captive and make it conform to Christ (II Corinthians 10: 3-5).
“Truth” is no longer valued as a search for absolute reality. It is an individual choice (“my truth”) not subject to outside scrutiny. We are overwhelmed by a wave of ideologies that are not to be questioned. These ideologies trump science, known facts of history, and the Word of God itself.
- Truth is nowhere to be found (Isaiah 59:14-15; Hosea 4:1).
- There’s a famine in the land of knowing and understanding God’s Word (Hosea 4:6; Amos 8:11).
- The foundations have been destroyed (Psalm 11:3).
- No one is valiant for the truth (Jeremiah 9:3).
- And where there is no revelation (truth), the people perish (cast off restraint, Proverbs 29:18).
Our previous WordWalk blog suggested seven essentials for knowing how we are to live in a godless and blasphemous society; in this post we examine the first essential: a return to understanding that the Bible’s supremacy and authority and sufficiency are vital for our lives.
What influences our confidence in this understanding?
When God speaks, it is called revelation, and this revelation is our authority for living. The organic method that God used to get His revelation to us is called inspiration (II Timothy 3:16). The Bible was written over a span of 1600 years across three continents (Africa, Europe, Asia) by over 40 authors in three languages (Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic). It has one primary thread as it points to the glory of God and salvation through Jesus Christ. In the Scripture God’s complete and connected thought was given through authors without compromising their individuality or literary styles. Only God has the ability to accomplish this. Over the centuries God has sovereignly superintended the entire process of transmission and preservation. As time went by, groups of believers were able to authenticate and affirm what God had given as His Word. They did this also to avoid the acceptance of error in other writings. This whole process is called canonization.
Now let us consider how it is that God’s word (revelation) is to be understood. It is necessary to begin with illumination – or the ability given by the Holy Spirit to every believer to assimilate the basic meaning of Scripture. But to handle God’s word with greater accuracy and depth, it requires interpretation. The Bible’s rules for interpretation are wonderfully woven into the text itself. The Bible actually interprets itself. There’s more… the Scripture challenges us further by drawing upon our sanctified imagination to explore the nuances of these words of life.
The Bible is the most translated book in the world. Even today God remains intimately and intensely involved in its processes of translation and accessibility and protection. As Christ-followers, we should consistently anticipate the flow and aperture of participation and propagation of Scripture.
How do we respond to this understanding?
Jesus Himself preempted Pilate’s question of “What is Truth?” with a bold declaration found in John 18:37-38. Earlier, Jesus stated that He was the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6), and he affirmed what the Truth would do for us by setting us free (John 8:32). And true worship is not possible without the Truth (John 4:24).
- Let us joyfully accept the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27) realizing that the Word penetrates deep into our soul and spirit (Hebrews 4:12-13).
- May we be careful not to add to or take away from Scripture with our assumptions and opinions (Revelation 22: 18-19).
- Let us search the scriptures daily (Acts 17:11) and experience that our hearts will burn within us as we come into communion with Christ, the living Word (Luke 24:32).
- Let us preserve the purity and efficacy of the Gospel (Galatians 1:6-9) as we contend earnestly for the faith (Jude 3).
Jeremiah and Ezekiel in the Old Testament, and John in the New Testament were all victims of cultures that were actively and aggressively anti-God. Each of them was exiled (cancelled) from their culture. But all three, as they wrote and understood Scripture, were encouraged to put away quill and ink, and – instead – pick up utensils for dining and digestion, as they were instructed to “eat this book!”