Basic Christianity Series #5: The Bible
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- Format: Folded Tract
- Size: 3.5 inches x 5.5 inches
- Pages: 8
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The Bible claims to be the Word of God, written by prophets and apostles of God. A prophet was a messenger and servant of the Lord who said what God told him to say, nothing more and nothing less. It is the inspired Word of God. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). By the term “inspired” you must trust that the Holy Spirit exerted his supernatural influence upon the writers. The writings were inspired—not necessarily the writers. The Bible never claims to have been written by inspired men. The ultimate author of the Bible is the Holy Spirit. The main thing to keep in mind here is that no Scripture is a matter of private opinion. And why? Because it’s not something concocted in the human heart: The Scriptures resulted when the Holy Spirit prompted men and women to speak God’s Word (2 Peter 1:20-21). The writers did not speak from themselves, but conveyed what they received from the Lord himself.
The harmony and agreement of the Bible is supernatural. It’s a collection of 66 books, written by 40 different authors, over a period of about 1,600 years. The authors represent a cross section of men from all sectors of life. Some were educated; some were unaccomplished; some were kings; others were fishermen, farmers, educators, and physicians. Their subjects included religion, law, history, science, poetry, prophecy, and more. They were from three continents and wrote in three different languages—Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic. Yet they had a common message with historical accuracy. Considering their backgrounds, their variety of topics, their writings spread over one thousand six hundred years, and their common underlying subject matter, one would be hard-pressed to find any pretention of a mathematical probability, or even possibility, of a book such as this. From beginning to end, from Genesis to Revelation, one cannot arrive at the Bible being anything other than what it claims to be—a message to humanity from the one Creator God of the universe.
Imagine for a moment that 40 philosophers, from 3 countries, over 16 centuries, wrote on literally hundreds of topics, to be published in a single book. That book would not only lack a cohesive consensus, but it would hardly provide a unified and useful volume that would edify and impact the lives of millions for millennia to come. Yet the Bible has done just that and continues to be the bestselling book of all time with production copies now in the billions.
But the Bible can only be received and understood by those who possess the life of God and his Holy Spirit. To receive its teachings, you must be born of the Spirit …people who are unspiritual don’t accept the things from God’s Spirit. They are foolishness to them and can’t be understood, because they can only be comprehended in a spiritual way (1 Corinthians 2:14).
To know the richness and fullness of God’s provision for you, it is fundamental that you read and study the Bible. If you desire to know God and understand his ways you must study his message to you. He is worthy of your trust. No Christian can find the power to overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil apart from dependence on the Lord and a solid foundation in his written Word to his needy people.
For example, God has declared that every person needs to be born again. Through his instructions in the Scripture you are led to the awareness of your sinfulness as well as the provision for your sin that God has offered you in his only son Jesus Christ. God desires that you be free from the power of sin. It is through hearing, reading, believing, and putting into practice the words of God that you receive the spiritual cleansing that is necessary for spiritual growth and maturity.
Your Bible is a divine revelation, and you can depend on it at all times, in all seasons of life. The same God that gave you the ability to reason, now gives you, through the revelation of his Word by his Holy Spirit, all you need to receive and understand his purpose and will for you. Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures (Luke 24:45). It is an understanding of God’s Word and his ways that enlarge your faith and give you hope, motivation, and inspiration for the future. …the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled (Romans 15:4).
Success in every facet of the Christian life is related to a correct understanding of the Scripture. At any point that you believe that you can, independently of God, define right and wrong and direct the course of your own life, you are destined for a life filled with loneliness and failure. As someone rightly stated: “read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be right.”
The Bible is the fullness of truth for your spiritual and emotional stability in a world racing toward destruction. Think for a moment: Is there anything more essential and important than knowing truth? To know and practice the truth is the foundation stone for the peace the world so desperately desires and needs: Make them holy by your truth; teach them your Word, which is truth (John 17:17).
God has made it clear that the light needed to walk worthy of his calling is to be found in his Word to you: Your Word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path (Psalm 119:105). In addition to being a light for your path, the Bible is also a reflector or mirror to expose faulty motives and self-centered ways that bring painful experiences that are best avoided.
You must be mindful that all Christians have an enemy. When you know and practice the Word of God it forms a protective shield to guard you from the attacks of your enemy, Satan. The Christian who attempts to live life without this protection is left open to trouble. The Christian’s most powerful weapon against this enemy is truth. It is your responsibility to know the truth of God’s Word and be able to use that truth to repel, refuse, and renounce the deceptions and lies that Satan uses to build strongholds of improper thinking into your belief systems and daily life. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).
Scripture is also your greatest protection from the world’s system of performance-based acceptance. Your natural inclination tends to seek significance from the world’s standards of status, accomplishment, and position, which can give temporary satisfaction, but fail to establish a strong foundation of worth and value based on who you are as a person. For the Word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires (Hebrews 4:12). Scripture is exactly what you need to mature in your faith. Does it cover every topic and answer every life question? No, there is still a need for you to develop practical knowledge on many issues. But it does give you the moral guidelines for a sound and secure foundation.
As a Christian you must learn to live by faith. Church attendance, prayer, service, and the daily practice of reading the Bible must all have their foundation in faith. You must learn to do what you do…by faith! The God who created you is worthy of your trust. Regardless of how you view God, be assured that your concept of him is too small. The God who put the planets in their orderly place, who knows and numbers the hairs on your head, is also the God who is supremely capable of putting his thoughts into a written text expressing an accurate record of who he is and how much he loves you. If God is who he claims to be, then he is certainly capable of producing the guidelines for you to live and function in ways that are valuable in his overall purpose and plan for you.
As you read, study, and meditate on the scriptures, learning to live by God’s principles for life, you will become mature in your faith and thoroughly prepared for every good work. Whatever task you will have to do, whatever service you are called on to provide, you will find enough in the scriptures to equip you through all eternity. …the grass withers and the wildflowers fade, but our God’s Word stands firm and forever (Isaiah 40:8).
Read it! Study it! Learn it! Believe it! Trust it!