Friday, July 3, 2009

Our Most Well Worn Volume

Imagine a scenario in which you live in a country that banned all Christian books. You are left with only a Bible that you must keep hidden, and bring out to read only in secrecy.

Would your walk with God suffer? The answer to this question is interesting. First, for most believers, the loss of all material other than Scripture would be an issue because God has ordained teachers to help inform and illuminate His trusting children (Ephesians 4:11). He gifts certain people to keenly understand, interpret, and communicate the truths of the Bible, and we are all blessed by those with such calling.

On the other hand, being left with only a Bible could also be a blessing, especially in our generation wherein many believers read Christian books far more than they read Scripture. Much Biblical illiteracy results, and often leaves Christians as being babes who can spiritually feed on nothing but the pre-digested thoughts of others. Again, good teachers are a gift to us, but if their words or writings supersede the meat of the actual Word of God, the gift becomes a dangerous diversion from reality. "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Romans 10:17).

The God-led teacher hopes that his words lead readers to THE Word. He seeks to focus all attention on the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Scriptures that serve as His lamp: "Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me" (John 5:39). The truly called teacher himself feasts upon Scripture, spending far more time reading the Word of God than the words of others. He also loves nothing more than the image of a reader laying aside his book in order to sink his heart into God's book. And he is fearful of his words being exalted because he knows that such accolade almost inevitably distracts from the One whom he believes is alone worthy of all honor and attention. Indeed, the God-ordained teacher looks at his own hands, sees them unmarked by the prints of nails, and weeps if he suspects that an ounce of his readers' devotion points in his direction.

Most who read this live in nations and cultures where Christian books are freely allowed. Let us give thanks, and avail ourselves to the gift. However, as long as we own a Bible, and are free to read it, it must occupy our primary and most frequent attention. Nobody will ever express God's truth as well as did the prophets and apostles whose words were perfectly inspired by the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, the fact of the Bible's existence is based upon the blood of the prophets, the apostles, countless saints through the generations, and most of all, the Lord Jesus Himself. We honor them and Him when we make the Scriptures our most well worn volume, and the truth of the matter is that if we had only the Word of God to read and to study, "the unsearchable riches of Christ" would fill us to lavish spiritual overflow (Ephesians 3:8).

"Every Word of God is pure."
(Proverbs 30:5)

"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works."
(II Timothy 3:16-17)
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