The Living Word

I am concerned about the lack of understanding of the Bible in the church today. We seem to know less and less about things that are essential and eternal. While we spend time on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, text messages and email, we seem to make excuses for not finding time to be in God’s Word. Yet, the Word is the only thing that is eternal.

I find parents concerned about the character of their children. The greatest book on discipline, character and integrity is the Word of God. Someone has wisely said, “Study the Bible to be wise; believe it to be safe; practice it to be holy.” I remember one of the first Bibles given to me—the person had written in the front of it, “This book will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from this book.”

There is no substitute for reading, meditating, listening to and studying the Scriptures. A church that does not emphasize the Scriptures will soon be on the shelf and out of business. Political correctness must be gone. It’s time to restore the prophets.

One of the most famous authors and preachers of our time holds up his Bible and begins to quote a creed or a philosophy regarding the Bible each time before he preaches. The statement is strong. But the problem is that it’s almost the only time we see or hear him use the Bible in his sermons. His sermons are feel good, be good, smile, don’t worry, be happy. You can’t be truly happy if you aren’t holy. You get holy by yielding to the Holy Spirit and reading the Holy Bible.

John Blanchard says it well, “Hit-and-run Bible reading can often become hit and miss. The man who reads on the surface will live on the surface—and a superficial Christian is a pathetic parody of the truth.”

When people believe the Bible, they long to learn it, study it and apply it. They allow the Scriptures to sit in judgment over their character, creed and conduct. Jerry Bridges says, “It is impossible to practice godliness without a constant, consistent and balanced intake of the Word of God in our lives.”

The reason we see little difference between church members and lost people in our land is because we don’t know, understand or apply what God says. The Bible will correct your thinking, talking and walking. Chrysostom said, “The source of all our troubles is in not knowing the Scriptures.”

E. F. Hallock wrote, “A well-understood Bible is the only basis of a sound theology, an enlightened piety, practical godliness, solid comfort and extensive usefulness.” The Bible that is falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t.

I love what Martin Luther said about how precious his Bible was to him. “I study my Bible as I gather apples. First, I shake the whole tree that the ripest may fall. Then I shake each limb, and when I have shaken each limb I shake each branch and every twig. Then I look under every leaf.”

D. L. Moody wrote, “I never saw a useful Christian who was not a student of the Bible.” One author said, “If all the neglected Bibles were dusted simultaneously, we would have a record dust storm and the sun would go into eclipse for a whole week.” J. I. Packer wrote, “If I were the devil, one of my first aims would be to stop folk from digging into the Bible.”

God made the importance of the Scriptures clear to Joshua when he said, “Be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.“  (Joshua 1:7, 8)

J. C. Ryle wrote, “Ignorance of the Scriptures is the root of all error. Knowledge of the Bible never comes by intuition.” Read it, study it and meditate on it. Learn what’s there and why.

I challenge you to join me as we move through this series on “The Living Word.” It’s my hope, that when we come to the end of the series, we’ll be more committed to studying God’s Word than ever before. This is no time for mental midgets. We need giants for God. Let God stretch you, refine you, teach you and equip you. Ask Him to give you an appetite for His Word, a thirst for truth and a mind to learn.

(copyright 2009, Michael Catt)

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