What is the Bible to you, really?

Dear BPCWAians, We’ve seen the importance of proper learning during messages, and why it is important to obey and do, on the basis of what the Bible says. Last week, the choir also presented the hymn I chose earlier on, “The Bible Stands”. That is a grand hymn that certainly must reflect our view of the Bible.

How do you view the Bible? Is it really God’s very own words deep in your heart? We recite and even teach our children that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2Tim 3:16, 17). We will say that the Bible is God’s Word. All that is absolutely correct, Scripturally. We may even be able to tell of the stories of the martyrs of the faith who were willing to be killed for even translating the Bible into the common language of the people. We may get angry at how in history, Bibles were burnt to prevent people from reading it and we righteously defend inspiration and preservation. So, you have the Bible today. You may even have many copies on your shelf at home. But what is yourpersonalview of the Bible?

The hymn goes, “The Bible stands and it will forever, When the world has passed away”, unlike any bestseller book of man,

The Bible stands like a mountain tow’ring Far

above the works of man;

Its truth by none ever was refuted,

And destroy it they never can

This is only possible because our LORD not only inspired but has kept His promise to “keep them” and to “preserve them from this generation for ever” (Ps 12:7). So we all can parrot – inspired literally means God’s very own breath”. But personally, what has it meant to you? If God’s Word is the product of His breath, then it is His very Voice that you hear in the words. And because He preserved it, then every single word in the Old and New Testaments are directly and exactly what He uttered to man and for man. Has this truly sunk into you? Is this how you truly view the Bible – as God’s very own direct utterance even today?

Your view affect show you hear. Are you a casual or diligent hearer of God’s Word? God gave and ensures that we have His exact words because He intends for you to know it and hence to know Him. It is not so that we are happy to have His perfect Bible on our shelves for display. And He wants us to have His exact Words in order that we can know exactly what He said and meant. So you must read and listen carefully to understand and know. Are you a diligent hearer, paying close attention to His words? Because it is indeed His voice, we are not to be casual hearers with passing occasional interest. Moreover, God’s Word is the loving Father’s detailed letter to His children. Do you not look forward to hearing the voice of someone that you love and care about deeply? If you truly view God’s Word as His personal written revelation of Who He is and of His heart, you would yearn for and go to every occasion where His Word is faithfully taught so that you can hear more about Him. Instead of listening to and watching other things, you would be more keen to be listening to sermons on your own all the time, enraptured with hearing more about Him and what He desires. Do we give out utmost attention to the voice of God? If you have no interest, then you need to check if you truly have had the right view of God’s Word.

Your view affect show you obey. Are obedient to all of God’ commands? Do you trust and have faith in God’s Word? Do you obey but only grudgingly? Since God’s Word is indeed His very voice, the “direct utterance of the Most High”, and “not some part of it more, some part of it less, but all alike the utterance of Him that sitteth upon the throne, faultless, unerring, supreme”, then the teachings and principles of every part must be absolutely authoritative in your life. Keeping and obeying God’s commands is not optional. They are the command of the Most High God. So we cannot pick and choose to obey only that which suits us or does not offend or does not inconvenient us. We sing, “ By inspiration it has been given, All its precepts I will obey”. Let us have such a view of God’s Word – it must have authority in my life in all matters of the faith and what I do in life. When God’s Truth is rightly and faithful taught, then even if it comes from the mouth of man, it is God’s command to you to obey. Do not rationalise. Do not kid yourself. If you disobey, it is disobedience to God’s direct authority. You may hide from man or people at church about what you do in your private life outside of church. But disobedience to God is always seen and known by the all-seeing God. When you do your daily devotion or hear God’s Word, it is God speaking to you in His word. His grace is all sufficient to help us obey Him. When we say “I cannot”, it is often an excuse for “I will not”. But remember also, it is the loving Father’s words. Trust it. Have faith in the One who spoke it. You can plant your feet on its firm foundation. Moreover, His commands and will for you are always the best for your life and more importantly, for His glory. And if you truly view the words as your loving Saviour’s very words, then not only trust it, but obey it because you love and want to honour the Person behind the words.

If you are not willing to obey what is faithfully taught, or obey it grudgingly, could it be you have not viewed the Word as truly the very voice of your Lord (Who is your authority) and Saviour (and so you must trust and honour the lover of your soul)?

The Bible stands every test we give it,

For its Author is divine;

By grace alone I will expect to live it,

And to prove it and make it mine

In the past few pastoral letters, I have been encouraging you from God’s Word to be good hearers and be obedient doers as well of God’s Word. This final part is to stir us to ask ourselves, why am I not interested to hear or have been unwilling to obey? Could it be our view of God’s Word has not been truly what we profess with our lips?

Yours in our Lord’s service