How important is the Bible?

by John Crotts, Faith Bible Church

Because humans are creatures in God's world, our perspectives are always limited.

A dog may be very intelligent, do many tricks and be familiar with the places he lives, but he will always carry the limitations of being a dog. After all, how much does the dog really even know about the backyard where he spends most all of his time?

Humanity collectively certainly knows much more than it knew 200 years ago, but it has also learned much about God's world in the past 50 years. No matter how many years the world continues and no matter how much humanity learns, it will always be restricted to the perspective of a creature.

In addition to being limited by the Creator/ creature distinction, every human also carries a skewed perspective because of depravity. Ever since Adam and Eve plunged humanity into sin, men and women have been born sinful. As David confessed, 'Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me' (Ps 51:5). While no human is as bad as they could be, all people are affected by sin in every part of their humanity.

Humans have been trying to f igure out God and his ways in the world for as long as we have walked upon the earth.

Because of God's General Revelation, men and women can learn some things about God. Romans 1 and 2 describe the benefits God has given to all humanity through their awareness of creation and the conscience he placed within everyone.

Even sinful people know that God is a great and powerful creator, that there is a right and wrong, and a judgment to come. Sadly, however, even these insights are wasted because of man's sinfulness.

In and of ourselves, man has no hope in figuring God and his ways out on their own. But, in God's kind graciousness, he has chosen to reveal himself to his creatures in the Scriptures. Theologians refer to this as God's Special Revelation.

The proclamation of God's good message about himself to fallen creatures causes Paul to celebrate. 'How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!' (Rom 10:14, 15).

When a person is on trip and becomes lost, a GPS or a map can help him or her find out where they are and where they need to go. Similarly, the Bible designates itself as a map to orient a fallen human. The Bible tells men and women who they are and who God is. Even though they know some truth about God in a general way, that he is a powerful creator, that he is a judge, the Scriptures reveal far more about God's holy character.

While people feel guilty when they break the laws of God written on their hearts (Rom 2:14-16), God's Word reveals God's standards with tremendous thoroughness. Sinful people who compare their morality with the commandments of God discover how desperately they have missed God's mark.

God's judgment is described with frightful details. But God's love and mercy is also revealed in the Bible, as is his wonderful plan of salvation. God sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to live perfectly and die as a substitute for sinners on the cross, bearing God's wrath. On the third day, God raised him from the dead, offering eternal life to all people who will repent of their sins and trust in Jesus (John 3:16; Rom 6:23; 10:9, 10). Paul calls the Word of God, 'the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus' (2 Tim 3:15).

If the Bible only told sinful humans these wonderful facts, wouldn't that be worth a consuming zeal? If the Bible truly reveals the character of God and the only way sinful creatures can be in a right relationship with their creator, every creature should be devoted to devouring the contents of these sacred writings.

One can appreciate the incredible sacrifices men like John Wycliffe and William Tyndale made to translate the Bible into the English language. Certainly, zeal for God's truth is an essential part of the life of a faithful Christian. But there is another strong motivation for zeal for God's truth.

The Bible also reveals the way for Christians and churches to grow and please the Lord. After people enters a right relationship with God, they experience new desires to please the Lord. Although they are no longer slaves of sin, they still fight with remaining sinful desires and the effects of sin on their hearts (Romans 6-8). The Bible reveals the goal of a Christian's struggle to please the Lord, and is also used by the Holy Spirit to be the means of progressing towards that goal.

When individual believers gather together into local churches, they also need direction about how to function in ways to please God, build up one another and reach out to the world with the gospel. Secular psychology, sociology and business leadership models have all been used to provide ways for Christians and churches to live.

But which of their answers are correct? What if their answers cont radict one another? How can people know with certainty what brings the Lord pleasure?

How important is the Bible? The Word of God tells Christians and churches how to live for God's glory. God's Holy Spirit uses his truth to enable believers to please God. God uses his true Word to enable entire families and church families to please him.

Are you a Bible reader?

If not, you are missing out on the treasure chest of truth in a wishy-washy world. Pick it up and read!

Start with Mark. It is the fastpaced story of Jesus.

Then read Romans, where Paul summarizes the plight of humanity and God's great plan of rescue. Then get yourself in a church where you come away having learned something new about the Bible every single week.

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