Where is your bible right now? Is it on the kitchen table, in the bathroom, in a box in the garage, an app on your phone? Maybe it is in your hands. As you read this blog you have your bible right in front of you ready to dive into the scripture we will be looking at this weekend.
This is the point of this week’s message from 2 Timothy Chapter 3, verse 1 and following. What is the purpose of life? Where did I come from? Is there life after death? How do I get to heaven? Why is the world full of evil? Why do I struggle to do good? How do I manage money and resources? How do I live a healthy and vibrant life? Who and what should I look for in a date? How can I have a successful marriage? How can I be a good friend? How can I change? What really matters in life? How can I be a successful parent?
These and other questions have been posed by very intelligent people over the centuries as if there isn’t already an answer and guide. But there is a guide, there are answers to these and thousands of other questions. It’s the bible, God’s word.
2 Timothy isn’t just a book, it is a letter to the Devoted. Penned by the Apostle Paul, every word filtered and inspired by God Himself, knowing that we would look at this letter 2000 years today as part of God’s Holy Word, the Bible. This week, we take a close look at The Bible itself as the foundation on which we are to build our lives. And here is what we discover.
For the devoted, The bible is God breathed. It is the living breathing Words of God.
The bible consists of 66 books. Books that were authored by individuals who experienced God first hand and whom God inspired by his Holy Spirit - People like Moses, the Disciples, the Apostle Paul. There is Luke, a physician, who set out to discover who Jesus Christ, the Son of God is and record what he learned from first hand witnesses.
It’s important right off the bat to accept by faith that the bible is God’s word, it is inspired by Him, that means that he was working in the hearts and lives of the men who wrote it to make sure that it is accurate and only what He wants it to be. Whether it is the New International Version, the King James, New living translation, which are simply translations taken from the original language of Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, the 66 books of the bible are divided into two main sections – The Old Testament of which there are 39 books. Leaf through the pages with me. The very first page records the creation of the world in Genesis, the history of all mankind recorded for us by Moses. By the 3rd page we read about the choice that changed the world and brought separation between us and the God who made us. Sin.
Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers.. God’s law which has been the moral code for the human race on every continent whether people realize it or not. The precepts on which we understand God’s character and know that we he commands is Good for us.
The story of kings and judges and rulers (Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1&2 Kings) to the story of a man named Job who had everything, lost everything, and had everything again.
The book of Psalms that record the high points and low points of men like David who set out to follow God but found himself at times way off course and in pain, to the comfort he received when he turned back to God. The book of Proverbs that imparts great wisdom on every topic imaginable.
And then there are the books of prophecy where God connected men like Jeremiah and Ezekiel to his heart by allowing them to see and feel the things that God sees and feels as they would try to turn the hearts of the people back to God.
Now, let’s pause here. Why is all of this important? Why is it important to know God created me? Why is it important to read through the countless genealogies of people’s names we can’t pronounce? Why the battles fought, the lives lost, the sin exposed, the new beginnings offered? Because this reveals the very heart, nature and character of God and my nature, your nature.
Something else that we need to settle right here and now, is this: The bible is completely reliable and without error. It is unique among all other so called “holy” books in that it doesn’t merely give moral teaching and say “Trust me”. We have the ability to test it by checking the hundreds of detailed prophecies that it makes, by checking the historical accounts it records and by checking the scientific facts it relates.
Jesus once asked which is easier to say “Your sins are forgiven” or “rise, take up your mat and walk.” Then he proved he had the ability to forgive sins (something we cannot see with our eyes) by healing the paralytic (something those around Him could test with their eyes). In the same way, we are given assurance that God’s Word is true when it discusses Spiritual areas we cannot test with our senses by showing itself true in those areas that we can test – historical accuracy, scientific accuracy, and prophetic accuracy.
In the New Testament, there are 27 books. The first four are called the gospels, which record the arrival of God’s son Jesus Christ to this earth, his life, death and resurrection. His teachings and love for the people he encountered and you and I today.The book of acts describes how the early church was formed after Jesus ascended into heaven and the difficulty the early believers faced from those who didn’t believe. We find 13 Letters to the early Christian churches and believers like Timothy, like you and me, penned by the apostle Paul, God breathed and inspired, that outline the plan God has for all of humanity. And the book of Revelation that provides vivid imagery and details of the battle between good and evil and a glimpse of heaven where those who choose Jesus Christ will spend eternity.
To Know His Word, also means that we can know God’s word is useful. The devoted seek the counsel of God’s word and engage the life changing solutions His word provides without exception. We don’t pick and choose. We accept the whole counsel of God!
Here is the 3rd truth about God’s word. To the devoted, God’s word is Life giving. From the very beginning of time God spoke and life was formed. Light, earth, water, produce & vegetation, animals, “Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7)(NIV) The One who created us says “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Deuteronomy 8:2-3)(NIV)
God says “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:2) And so we go to His word when we have questions. We go to his word when we have doubts. We go to his word when circumstances are overwhelming or when we are in a season of such great abundance and blessing and we call out to Him – God, I trust that you love me.
Paul told young Timothy in verse 15: “We have been given the Holy Scriptures which are able to make us wise for salvation through Faith in Jesus Christ….” God’s word has opened the door to my Salvation.
As you look around the house today for God’s word, or as you sit with it open before you, answer this question between you and God. “How devoted am I to God’s word right now in my life? Do I seek answers to life questions from it? Do I engage the answers I am given? In my relationships with others.. In my commitment to the church… In my relationship with God…..
I look forward to seeing you this weekend! Bring your bible and let’s discover life together. Dave