The Bible; January 23, 2023

Romans 15:4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

Some Christians, sadly enough, ignore the Old Testament, when there are incalculable riches in it. On the other hand, most Jews ignore the New Testament, when it is the culmination of the prophecies of the Old and expresses clearly God’s plan of salvation. From our standpoint, Paul wrote longer ago than the Old Testament prophets wrote from the standpoint of people in Paul’s day, so “what was written in the past” applies to all of the Bible. Genuinely inspired things have been written in the centuries since then, and continue to be written today, but it is of immense value to us to have the whole canon of Scripture, agreed on by many and chosen through rigorous tests. We tend to respond individually to different parts of the Bible, with some being more touched by one book than another. Martin Luther called James “a book of straw,” and my mother would have happily left out Leviticus, but God can and does use every bit of it for the purposes Paul mentions here. Some people love the stories in the Bible and some are bored by all the history, but as Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us.” (1 Corinthians 10:11) Instructing his spiritual son Timothy, he wrote, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17) And that was written when Paul was facing his imminent martyrdom, and would no longer be able to teach Timothy directly. God knew what He was doing when He caused the Bible to be written and the canon settled, and we do well to take full advantage of it.

As I have written before, I first read all the way through the Bible by the time I was 10, and at least for the past 50 years I have been reading it every day. I still get new insights out of it, or at least things I don’t remember the Lord saying to me in the past. God speaks to His children in many ways, and a couple of times I have heard Him in what seemed to be an audible voice, though I don’t think others could have heard it. However, I hear Him most consistently when I read the Bible every morning. I certainly need endurance (the Japanese says “patience”) and encouragement, and God is faithful to supply them through the Bible. Sometimes He tells me things that aren’t explicitly written in that form, but I never have trouble confirming those things through what is written. A good example is His instructions to me to “Rest. Relax. Rejoice.” I had no trouble at all finding Scriptures to back that up when I preached it as a message! I am to be listening constantly, but also be aware that the devil is a liar and he is always trying to trip me up, so when something comes into my mind I’ve got to confirm it with the Bible before I go living it out. It is no accident that John, the “beloved disciple,” (John 21:20) started out his Gospel by saying that Christ is the Word of God. There are reasons both in the Greek language and in the philosophy of the day for him to have done that, but the longer I live and the more I read the Bible, the truer I know that is.

Father, thank You that I grew up in a home that knew and revered the Bible. Thank You that I can never exhaust the Bible. Help me make it more and more an essential part of me so that I may do Your will and bear Your fruit, (John 15:7-8) for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
This entry was posted in Christian, encouragement, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s