Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Bible

"Unless we go to the Bible to see Jesus and His work for us, even our Bible reading can become fuel for our own self-improvement plans." - Pastor Tullian

"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work." - 2 Timothy 3:16-17

"The Bible feeds our souls, warms our hearts, illuminates our minds and changes our lives."

"We do not ultimately interpret scripture; scripture interprets us." -- Oswald Bayer

"The Bible is alive, it speaks to me; it has feet, it runs after me; it has hands, it lays hold of me." – Martin Luther

"Don't change the Word of God.  Do allow the Word of God to change you!" - Mark Driscoll

"It must be said there is a difference between going through the Bible, like a tourist, and the Bible going through you, like a spear." - Douglas Wilson

"But He answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” - Matthew 4:4

"Let us measure everything by the Bible, and resolve, by God’s help, to conform to it." ~ J.C. Ryle

As Christians, many of us struggle with head knowledge translating into heart knowledge. We state that we believe many things and we are sincere in our proclamations. However, deeper within us, in areas that we may or may not even be aware of, we have yet to embrace these truths wholeheartedly.

For example, we may say that we trust God. Yet, we create and pursue idols out of what has been created rather than the Creator Himself. We don't really trust God for complete fulfillment and joy so we do our best to arrange for those things elsewhere.

We say that we believe God loves us and all things work to the good of those who love Him. Yet, when we find our dreams unfulfilled, our plans unsatisfied and our comforts compromised, we question why a loving God would allow these disappointments into our lives. We don't truly believe God loves us. We only believe in His love when things seem to meet our definition of going in a "loving" way.

I still struggle with the first but have come a long way on the second. Still, there is another Christian belief I profess that is not mirrored in my life. I believe that the Bible is the inspired and inerrant Word of God. I believe that God's Spirit worked in and through the human writers of the Bible so that what was written on those pages is a direct communication from the Creator of the universe.

And yet...on most days...there my Bible sits...unopened and untouched. Sure, I get some daily Bible exposure through devotionals that occupy my inbox or when I prepare for care group. But that is a poor substitute for simply sitting down, opening the Bible and drinking deeply and meaningfully from the truths and promises of God. If I TRULY believed that God's words were included in that book, it would never be closed.

"Your mistake is that you don't know the Scriptures, and you don't know the power of God." - Matthew 22:29

As Patrick Morley writes in the first chapter of "Man Alive", "Jesus made a direct connection between the Bible and leading a powerful life. Lukewarm men are in error because they 'don't know the Scriptures' and therefore 'don't know the power of God.' Their capabilities don't equal their intentions. Without the right training, their soil remains bare, stony and full of weeds."

And God just brought this to mind...if we say that God isn't speaking to us or that we can't hear Him and we aren't reading our Bibles every day then we are acting incredibly foolish. His words, His counsel, His wisdom are available to us every minute, carried from the pages of the Bible to the depths of our heart by the Holy Spirit. Let's at least open up the cover and start to listen.

"Let the man who would hear God speak read Holy Scripture." - Martin Luther

Lord, ignite a passion in me for your Word that I may live a more powerful life that glorifies you more greatly, changes me more deeply and impacts the world around me more profoundly. Amen.

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From John Piper...

Don’t rest on past reading. Read your Bible more and more every year. Read it whether you feel like reading it or not. And pray without ceasing that the joy return and pleasures increase.

Three reasons this is not legalism:

You are confessing your lack of desire as sin, and pleading as a helpless child for the desire you long to have. Legalists don’t cry like that. They strut.

You are reading out of desperation for the effects of this heavenly medicine. Bible-reading is not a cure for a bad conscience; it’s chemo for your cancer. Legalists feel better because the box is checked. Saints feel better when their blindness lifts, and they see Jesus in the Word. Let’s get real. We are desperately sick with worldliness, and only the Holy Spirit, by the word of God, can cure this terminal disease.

It is not legalism because only justified people can see the preciousness and power of the Word of God. Legalists trudge with their Bibles on the path toward justification. Saints sit down in the shade of the cross and plead for the blood-bought pleasures.

So lets give heed to Mr. Ryle and never grow weary of the slow, steady, growth that comes from the daily, disciplined, increasing, love affair with reading the Bible.

"Do not think you are getting no good from the Bible, merely because you do not see that good day by day. The greatest effects are by no means those which make the most noise, and are most easily observed. The greatest effects are often silent, quiet, and hard to detect at the time they are being produced.

Think of the influence of the moon upon the earth, and of the air upon the human lungs. Remember how silently the dew falls, and how imperceptibly the grass grows. There may be far more doing than you think in your soul by your Bible-reading." (J. C. Ryle, Practical Religion, 136)


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Is the Bible the Word of God? Then mind that you do not neglect it. Read it! Begin to read it this very day. What greater insult to God can a man be guilty of than to refuse to read the letter God sends him from heaven? Oh, be sure, if you will not read your Bible, you are in fearful danger of losing your soul!

Is the Bible the Word of God? Then be sure you always read it with deep reverence. Say to your soul, whenever you open the Bible, “O my soul, you are going to read a message from God!”

Is the Bible the Word of God? Then be sure you never read it without fervent prayer for the help and teaching of the Holy Spirit. Humble prayer will throw more light on your Bible than any commentary that ever was written. You will not understand it unless your heart is right. You will find it a sealed book without the teaching of the Holy Spirit. Its contents are often hidden from the wise and learned, and revealed to babes.

Is the Bible the Word of God? Then let us all resolve from this day forward to prize the Bible more. God has given us the Bible to be a light to guide us to everlasting life. Let us not neglect this precious gift. Let us read it diligently, and walk in its light.

adapted from J.C. Ryle, Inspiration (tract)

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"The Bible is not a record of good people earning God's blessing, but bad people receiving God's blessing because Jesus earned it for them." - Pastor Tullian

"If you are having trouble reading your Bible with deep and affecting meaning, imagine that you will die in about eight hours." - John Piper

http://gma.yahoo.com/blogs/abc-blogs/woman-uses-bible-verses-ward-off-attacker-181056926--abc-news.html

http://www.communicatejesus.com/2012/08/were-not-reading-the-bible-and-why-its-a-problem/

http://www.conversantlife.com/theology/ten-verses-to-defend-your-faith#continue

http://www.bestcommentaries.com/

"A Bible that's falling apart, usually belongs to someone who isn't." - C.H. Spurgeon

"Advice to aspiring ministers: Get in the Word. Stay in the Word. Master the Word. And for heaven's sake, preach the Word!" – R.C. Sproul

"Men dismiss the Bible because they say it contradicts itself. Their real beef is that it contradicts them." - Douglas Wilson

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2012/03/21/an-interview-with-daniel-b-wallace-on-the-new-testament-manuscripts/

http://www.reformation21.org/articles/can-the-new-testament-canon-be-defended-derek-thomas-interviews-michael-kruger.php

http://theresurgence.com/2012/05/28/what-to-say-when-someone-says-the-bible-has-errors

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2012/06/06/theological-primer-the-attributes-of-scripture/

http://kellerquotes.com/can-we-trust-the-bible/

How were books of the New Testament chosen?

http://www.bpnews.net/BPFirstPerson.asp?ID=37993

http://matthiasmedia.com/briefing/2012/05/why-you-shouldnt-memorize-bible-verses/

Are the Gospels contradictory?   http://vimeo.com/35638727

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2012/07/09/making-sense-of-scriptures-inconsistency/

http://www.bloggingtheologically.com/2012/07/09/questions-to-ask-when-studying-the-bible/

http://www.bloggingtheologically.com/2012/08/08/11-ways-to-reignite-your-passion-for-the-bible/

http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org/2012/10/18/how-do-other-ancient-texts-compare-to-the-new-testament/

http://www.bloggingtheologically.com/2013/06/24/most-compelling-reason-read-bible/

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2013/07/29/you-asked-is-all-scripture-from-the-lord/

http://www.bloggingtheologically.com/2012/08/23/if-i-were-the-devil/

http://www.dyerthoughts.com/home/gods-cure-for-mans-doubt