What is the bible? According to the bible.
This is the second blog of a mini-series covering foundational truths that we must understand in order to rightly steward the Word of God. Find the first one HERE.
The word, Bible, is derived from the latin/greek word, Biblia that means … book.
Well - There ya go!
Mystery solved - It is a book!
Right- we knew that. Haha. Most importantly it is THE book that God wrote to make Himself known to us and to tell us the story of His love. It perfectly details the creation, fall, and redemption of God’s people.
We live in a world of information and we are blessed with so many resources, and I’m excited to share some of my favorite resources out there along this journey with you - but it’s important to know and believe whole-heartedly that God’s Word is enough. It is perfectly sufficient on its own. I love this statement about the sufficiency of scripture taken from the systematic theology textbook.
“The sufficiency of Scripture means that scripture contained all the words of God He intended His people to have at each stage of redemptive history, and that it now contains all the words of God we need for salvation, for trusting Him perfectly, and for obeying Him perfectly." *
So when we say that we are studying the Bible, we mean that we are studying the BIBLE. duh?
But we actually have to be really careful when we are dedicating time to studying the Bible that we are doing just that. We have to be aware of our tendency to get distracted and the temptation to get sucked into only reading “bible studies” or “books about the bible” rather than digging into God’s Word and letting Him speak to us through that text.
I personally have to be so careful of this, I am a lover of books, I am a lover of the written expression of different individuals, I love discussing books with friends, and exploring topical studies. However, I have to be careful that I’m not spending all of my “bible study time” actually just reading someone else’s thoughts on God’s Word.
Let me clarify: I’m not saying these books are evil. God can definitely use these vehicles as a way to lead us to Him and there have been plenty of supplemental texts that have brought me into a deeper understanding of God. They just have to stay exactly what they are, supplemental to the Word of God. Any Christian author worth reading would concur strongly with that statement and never want his or her work to become a substitute for the actual Bible. So I’m not saying never read these texts, I’m saying never ONLY read these texts.
They can be supplemental but they can not stand alone.
God wants so much more for you.
Hebrews 4:12 - “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
My husband and I have had the privilege of leading small groups over the past few years and the struggle to read God’s Word has been a consistent topic of discussion in these groups. Many Christians struggle to make this a priority and it’s interesting to learn that for many, the biggest hang up is the fact that it takes time to READ. As a people, we don’t love to read like we used to. One of my favorite responses to this specific complaint about the Bible comes from one of our mentors in TN. I’m not sure if he was quoting someone else or just came up with this obvious but genius response himself. Either way, I love it. He said, “It is through text that God chose to reveal himself to every generation of His people. Sure, it’d be great if it was through a movie and we could just watch it but that isn’t what He chose. He chose to reveal himself through a Book and we have to choose to read it.”
We’ll discuss in a later post, how to read the bible when you just don’t want to, but for now, we have to agree that the Bible is how God chose to reveal Himself and His way to His people. Which means that the Bible is the ANSWER to man’s question, “How can I know God?”
Don’t downplay God’s ability to reveal Himself to you through this text. Each time that you approach the Word of God this week, pray and ask God to speak to you and to make His word known to you. Then, EXPECT Him to do it. If you journal, write down the things that you learn about God in the text. If journaling isn’t for you, end your time of reading with a time of prayer and THANK God for who He is and for His Word.
*Grudem, Wayne. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. Grand Rapids, Michigan, Zondervan Academic, January 1, 1994.