Vol. 6, No. 2
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If this article encourages its readers to have a greater respect for the Bible, it will have accomplished its purpose. Hymns that exalt the Bible include: Give Me the Bible, Standing on the Promises.
We live in a time when people often have little respect for sacred things. Neither God nor his Word, the Bible, receives the respect they deserve. Commonly, little more respect is shown for our nation or society, the home or family life, or even human life itself. A greater respect for God and his Word would cause people also to have a greater respect for the foregoing.
The often-wayward course that America is pursuing will not vary until Americans derive a renewed respect for God and his Word. Likewise, if the church loses proper respect for God and his Word, it will die. Lack of respect for the Bible equals a lack of respect for God.
Proper respect for the Bible begins with a proper attitude. Consider this sentiment in the following verse: "And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved" (Psalm 119:47). One cannot properly understand Scripture with an improper attitude toward Scripture. Many imagine that the Bible is much like any other book. If one attempts to study the Bible as manmade books are studied, he will shortchange himself. The Bible is a unique book, the only one in its class. To class it with manmade books undercuts its divine origin. The Bible is more than simply another literary piece. The Bible cannot be taught as other books. To teach it as though it were a history, science or merely a human book on any subject dilutes its influence.
The Bible deserves respect in its entirety, from the beginning throughout its pages. Psalm 119:160 emphasizes this aspect of God's Word: "Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever." For instance, Genesis One is as true as any portion of Scripture. No theory of beginnings ought to be allowed more or even equal esteem the Creation account in the Bible. To compromise Genesis One undermines the foundation of trust on which the whole Bible rests. Anyone willing to compromise on Genesis One or any other Scripture, ultimately will compromise on any passage or maybe the entire Word of God. Compromising on any portion of the Bible strikes a heavy blow to confidence in the inspiration of the Bible. Failing to hold any segment of the Bible as sacred greatly diminishes the sacredness of the Bible in its entirety.
The Bible is right on any subject that it addresses. God's Word is the only completely reliable textbook to which one can turn. "Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way" (Psalms 119:128; 98-100). Obviously, the Bible is not a science or history book, as such. However, whatever the Bible speaks to, it tells the truth. Often the Bible recorded even scientific truth before scientists were aware of it. The Bible has the last word on any subject that it addresses. The Bible is correct on facts that can be independently corroborated: historically, topographically, geographically, politically, etc. Therefore, the Bible is as credible regarding what it says on subjects that cannot be corroborated with the sciences and history, e.g., eschatology, salvation, other spiritual matters. Hence, the Bible is absolute, not subjective.
The church is obligated to discern Bible doctrine, as opposed to supposing that it is the source of doctrine. The Bible alone is the source of instruction relative to salvation, worship, Christian service and doctrine. Bible doctrine is distinctive. Therefore, most of the time there is an obvious difference between Gospel preaching and denominational preaching. Denominational preaching is usually comprised of the popular contemporary ideas of men, but Gospel preaching derives its content from an ancient document, the Bible.
One needs to respect the Bible with his whole being. Half-hearted Bible faith and action is beneath the faithful child of God. "Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart" (Psalm 119:2). The Bible heart is comprised of intellect, emotions and will. The Bible as God gave it is adapted to man as God made him. Each facet of the human composition intellect, emotions and will, must be used together in embracing the Word of God. An imbalanced or partial response to the Bible is substandard and counterproductive. An mere emotional response overrides the intellect and will. A mere intellectual response is emotionally hollow and may hamper the will.
The Bible has cleansing power. Only the Word of God can cleanse sin-laden souls. "Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word" (Psalm 119:9). Young and old can only find soul cleansing power through the Bible. No other source to which one can turn can lead one to redemption, because only through the Christ of the Bible is redemption possible (John 14:6; Ephesians 1:3, 7). God has not obligated himself to any other system of redemption (Hebrews 10:26).
Only the Bible has the solution for cleansing the sins that afflict even congregations. Congregations can sin as well as individuals, for which the individuals that comprise the church (and hence the church) need to repent (1 Corinthians 5; Revelation 2-3). Cleansing individual Christians from sin, cleanses the congregation (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
We must respect the Bible's counsel. All other counsel pales in comparison. "Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counselors" (Psalm 119:24). God's wisdom is far superior to the wisdom of men. Human wisdom hides God, spiritual truth and redemption from men (1 Corinthians 1:18-31). Divine wisdom affords the attentive the opportunity to be right in all things that the Bible addresses (both material and spiritual matters).
Even God's inspired advice is worthy of adoption. In most instances, God's instructions are obligatory (not optional). There are, though, some discretionary matters in which one may opt to adopt or dispense with God's inspired advice (1 Corinthians 7:8-9, 26).
The Bible must be respected even when what it says is unpopular. Popularity is irrelevant. "I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O LORD, put me not to shame" (Psalms 119:31). The Bible is the most popular book in the world. The Bible in one version or another outsells all other titles. The contents, though, of the Bible are not as nearly popular as merely superficially acknowledging it. Obviously, Bible doctrine is very unpopular. Why else would so many different churches with their conflicting doctrines, etc. exist? Christians must be true to the Bible irrespective of whether they find Bible doctrine to their liking.
One needs to respect the Bible when making decisions. Psalm 119:30 says, "I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me." The greatest decision anyone can make is to become a child of God. Faith, repentance, confessing Christ and baptism, according to the Bible, will make one a Christian (Romans 10:17; Acts 17:30; Romans 10:9-10; Acts 22:16). False doctrines of faith only, infant baptism, sprinkling for baptism, joining a church, human creeds, etc. spring forth from a defective respect for the Bible.
The Bible ought to be consulted respecting every decision made in life. Marriage and home life decisions would be better made with the Bible as counsel. The Bible ought to be the counsel of every congregation about to make a decision about virtually anything. Imagine how it would be if even every Christian accepted the counsel of the Bible. Every Christian would attend all the services he could, give as he was prospered and tell others about the saving Gospel of Christ. Every congregation would be spiritually strong and vibrantly engaged in every facet of the church's mission.
We ought to respect the Bible when attempting to answer religious questions. Psalm 119:42 advises, "So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in thy word." Every religious question deserves a biblical answer. We are to speak as the oracles of God (1 Peter 4:11). Through study and anticipation, we can be ready to answer at least the fundamental questions regarding the Christian faith (2 Timothy 2:15; 1 Peter 3:15). Psychology and philosophy books are the improper sources of answers for religious questions. Just think of how inappropriate it would be for a medical doctor to look up medical advice in a math book. Likewise, we need to turn to God rather than the think-so's of fallible mortals.
We need to respect the Bible when we find ourselves in the midst of difficulties. The Psalmist sought refuge in God through his revealed Word. "They had almost consumed me upon earth; but I forsook not thy precepts" (Psalm 119:87). Seasons of distress are the least opportune time to diminish one's respect for the Bible. The Bible is a refuge, especially during times of personal misfortune. Congregations, too, ought to consult God's Word during times of turmoil. The early church relied upon God's Word in the face of grave adversity. Early Christians clung in their faith to God's Word even when doing so led to their deaths. The comfort of God is superior to the comforts of this planet and the spiritual preservation is something on which the child of God can rely when nothing else can relieve life's distresses (2 Corinthians 1:3; Matthew 11:28).
Mankind needs to respect the finality of the Bible. As Psalm 119:89 teaches, God's Word is not open to negotiation. "For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven." God has the first and last word on every subject on which he has chosen to speak through his Word. We will be judged by those words (John 12:48). God's Word is changeless! It already has been delivered and no amendments or postscripts will be forth coming. Inspired writers affirmed that the Word of God has been once for all delivered (Jude 3). No other (different) Gospels are coming (Galatians 1:6-9).
The honest heart concludes: (1)The Bible truly is a book like none other. (2) Every accountable soul needs to fully embrace the Bible with his whole being. (3) The Bible is a unique and distinctive book that can give man the best of life and eternity. (4) The Bible is the wisest counsel on all subjects that it addresses to which a human can appeal. (5) The Bible is not always popular in what it says, but it is always right. (6) The Bible has the only answer that matters to every religious question. (7) The Bible will see the child of God through difficult times. (8) The Bible is God's final Word to us this side of eternity.
Dear Reader, you are invited to inspect the Word of God, in which one can find the necessary information how to live his life on earth and prepare for a home in heaven. First, one must accept the blessings of the Gospel on the terms of God (Mark 16:16). Afterward, one must remain faithful and repent on those occasions when he sins (Revelation 2:10; Acts 8:22). How much do you respect the Bible?