The Authority of Scripture: Why I Read the Bible
I Find God There
You have to remember; God’s Word wasn’t always that Holy Bible you have bound as a book sitting on your shelf. God has been revealing himself from the beginning… todays text says from the very first spoken “Let there be” Word, later revealed to the world as Jesus. As God continued to reveal himself to the people of His creation, they found ways to make note, remember, revere, preserve that revelation. The faith of the community inspired by the Holy Spirit preserved the integrity of the revelation all the way to your bookshelf today. The reason they preserved it was because in it, they found God.
That’s the same reason I give God’s Word authority in my life, it’s where I find God. Because His voice speaks in those words I know I need to pay attention. There are many noteworthy narratives that have been produced in this world that people could decide to model life on, even Middle Earth, but then authority only comes from a person. The Bible’s source of authority is God, not me, not even Moses, it’s solid.
So here’s the promise; you’ll find God there. Here’s the question; will you acknowledge His message? Will you adjust your life, give way to His authority? Open this Holy Book (that’s what Bible means) every day, but before you do whisper your acknowledgement of the authority of God’s voice speaking in those pages.
I Find Hope There
My soul longs for your salvation;
I hope in your word. Psalm 119:81 (ESV)
You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word. Psalm 119:114 (ESV)
I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words. Psalm 119:147 (ESV)
Psalm 119 is the longest Psalm. In 22 poems it addresses the wonder and authority of the Law, Old Testament speak for the first 5 books of what we call the Bible. These 3 verse selections show one recurring theme throughout the Bible; when God speaks we have hope.
That hope-filled characteristic of God’s Word comes from the character of God. His loving nature is invested in the message. He speaks words for justice and truth and grace. He exhibits wisdom and commitment and power. He is involved! Those characteristics combined as one makes the message of God’s Word a new lens that brings a new focus for my life. In the face of all the hurt and dysfunction, the deception and injustice woven into life, I can find hope in God’s Word.
So here’s the promise; God has his hand in the pot and he’s working for your good. Here’s the question; will you trust the truth of what He tells you and hear the hope He offers? Every day when you open the Bible, listen for the hope God is offering you and trust Him.
I Find Myself There
Perhaps you’ve been practicing hero worship in your exposure to the Bible: Faithfull Abraham, Courageous Moses, Powerful Samson. I feel like a spiritual dwarf. The closer I look, the deeper I read, I find the people in the narrative, the people God is revealing himself to, are not so special. In a lot of ways they’re like me. They have the same fears and frailties. And those scolding passages in the prophets, they speak to the same issues in my community. That realization didn’t really cost me heroes, instead it put my Bible reading focus on the real hero – God.
When I read these often confusing narratives, I find the motivations and reactions of the characters very familiar. When I see the flawed material God is willing to work with I not only can accept the truth of God’s grace for me, I can also find the purpose He sets before me.
Here’s the truth; God’s plan for His creation includes you. Here’s the question; are you ready to play the hand you’ve been dealt for the Glory of God? When you open the Bible every day, look for your own character traits and the grace God offers. Look for an issue in today’s headlines. Reflect on the whole arc of the story of salvation in The Bible and see the role you have in these last chapters.
I am Challenged to Hear and Do
2 Timothy 3:14–17
Today’s text is a classic about the authority of scripture using words like teaching, reproof, correction, training. Sometimes I hear the drill sergeant’s voice bellow them out, especially if I stop at verse 16. This whole second letter to Timothy is focused on Timothy’s main tool for ministry, God’s Word. Paul wants to give Timothy a firm footing on established usage of God’s written message to His people. This is important because he’s working in a congregation where the majority of the people have not had a cradle-bred exposure to Scripture.
But if you continue to verse 17, we see that Paul drives on to say why the authority of scripture is important to us. It’s the training piece for the mission God sends us on. Guided by the revelation of God’s love and truth we can walk the tricky path of bringing grace to people in a broken world. We are reminded of Jesus challenge, hearing God’s Word isn’t finished until you are doing it.
Here’s the promise; God’s Word gives you the foundation and tools you need to bring a Kingdom impact to the world you live in. Here’s the question; are you familiar with those tools? Every day you open your Bible listen for what God wants you to do, who He’s shaping you to be, the attitudes He wants you to bring to your family, your neighborhood. The ethics he wants you to practice in your workplace.
I Never Run Out of New Things to Find There
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. Your mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning, new every morning: great is your faithfulness, O Lord, great is your faithfulness!
That’s a favorite song, not a passage in scripture, but I offer it to you because it echoes so many Psalms all rolled together. People ask me how I can continue with the same Bible study scheme for over 35 years. Yes, that’s how long Crossways has been part of my life. It’s because the message of mercy I find in God’s Word is new every morning. It’s because even while life goes through daily changes, God does not change.
Every day I meet new twists that cross my will. Every day I do something my way and experience the failure of a self-centered life. Every day God shows me new mercy, shows me the way to follow His will. His mercies never come to an end because they carry me to His Eternal Kingdom.
Everyday my unfaithfulness is met with God’s faithfulness. He teaches me to be consistent with people. He teaches me the meaning of the word unconditional. He shows me that any foundation other than Him is filled with fault lines that will crumble, and then sets me back on track. How could I ever get bored with that?
Here’s the promise; God will meet you every day right where you are. Here’s the question; will you be lukewarm in your response to His message? Copy that little song verse inside the cover of your Bible and use it to set your expectation every day you open it up.
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