Tuesday, January 22, 2008

THE BOOK

I cannot imagine attempting to take the journey with Jesus without the written Word of God. It has been a constant source of encouragement, as well as a source of challenge and conviction. Within its holy pages I have found peace and I have also found things that perplex me. It is most definitely a book unlike any other book. It is truly a gift from God for those who are seeking Him.

In this new sermon series we are using the new proposed revision of the Statement of Faith for the Evangelical Free Church of America. The second article is our focus this week. It reads:
2. We believe that God has spoken in the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, through the words of human authors. As the verbally inspired Word of God, the Bible is without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will for salvation, and the ultimate authority by which every realm of human knowledge and endeavor should be judged. Therefore, it is to be believed in all that it teaches, obeyed in all that it requires, and trusted in all that it promises.
My shelves are full of various translations, from Greek and Hebrew texts, to the most modern paraphrases. I have read, studied, and dug through its pages. I have parsed Greek verbs, and translated Hebrew idioms. I have written theological papers and preached its truths. And still it is a Word that continues to be new and fresh to me. It's truth still points out my sin, and purges my heart. I pray its prayers as if I wrote them from my own soul.

To say the Word of God is living and active, may in fact be an understatement.

I know that to most of you, the regular readers of this blog, the Holy Scriptures are of vital importance to your life. Like myself, they have been a source of comfort and challenge. And I assume they have been a source of answers, and maybe a few questions as well. It might be a huge, if not impossible request, but I would like to hear how they have touched your life in some specific fashion. A life-verse? A word of comfort in a time of darkness? A challenge that moved you down a new path? How has the living Word of God lived in your life?

Your word about the Word may in fact encourage others. I believe that this is one aspect that keeps the Living Word living.

Any takers?

1 comment:

gentledove said...

After discarding a lot of hippy, dippy, metaphysical, weird off the wall books about how to know God, the minute I picked up the Bible, it was as if my heart had finally come “home.” For the most part, probably due to some outstanding Sunday School teachers I had as a child, what I was reading, for the first time in a very long time, began to make sense. I still found certain passages confusing and prayed about those, and still do and still ask God questions all the time but it was just as if all the pieces of the big “puzzle” began to start falling into place the moment I picked up the Bible and started reading the New Testament.

I remember the first time the old testament started to appeal to me was after I picked up a book entitled (if I am remember the title correctly) “Jesus in Exodus” and it was a commentary pointing out how Moses leading the children of Israel out of Egypt is symbolic of Christ leading a sinner out of bondage.

“Wow, Jesus is even in the old Testament!,” I thought. I could see him there as I read the commentary alongside Exodus. And the commentary went on to say that properly studied, one could see Jesus all through the old Testament not just the new testament.

Jesus is now, always has been and always will be mankind’s only hope. If Jesus wasn’t “The word” we would want to clap our hands over our ears, and have no choice but to cringe while guilt and shame overwhelmed us as we lived in constant condemnation and trembled at what eternity had in store for us. But because of him, we can walk boldly before the throne of Grace and talk to God who is our heavenly father and pick up his word and read what he has to say to us.

The word is so powerful. It’s not a toy and I think people need to realize when they pick it up and start reading it that it is not someting to play around with, reading only a passage here and a passage there and using passages out of context. It needs to be studied thoroughly and handled responsibly.

When I think of people like Andrea Yates and Charles Manson and some of the others that have taken passages out of context and justified horrible attrocities or even others that maybe haven’t hurt anyone except themselves but ended up in a mental instutitions, I am acutely aware that the the word of God does need to be read in context, IN THE RIGHT SPRIRIT and rightly divided so I’m glad for human teachers and the Holy Spirit as teacher and good study tools and commentaries too.