The Book


A. J. Jacobs, a man who knew nothing about the Bible, decided that he would spend a year following the Bible’s words to the letter. His book, The Year of Living Biblically, tells the story of his quest. Funny and irreverent, it is a revealing record about the power of the Bible. Jacobs was a skeptic who held a secular worldview. He did not think of the Bible as the revelation of God, in the least. But, as this man read and wrestled with the words, he changed from an atheist into an inquirer.

He met up with all kinds of people who thought they were following the Bible while missing the point entirely! He handled snakes with a little church in Kentucky that completely ignore the context of Jesus’ words found in Mark 16.  Yes, he made a huge effort to keep the letter of the Law.   At the end of the book, he did not say he has come to full faith in God, but he had become open to the spiritual. He did not become a convert or a believer, in my opinion, because his efforts to shape his daily habits by rules were divorced from a quest for the Person who inspired the words.

I am a Biblical man.   No, I don’t handle snakes, grow a long beard, or observe rigid dietary codes.  However, my views, my speech, my values;   all come from the Bible. From the earliest days of my life, the Book has been the source of truth around which my life is shaped.  From the Book, I learned early that I am not a god and that there is a God to Whom I will give account for the way that I live my life.  That singular idea has kept me from giving in to many temptations as well as motivating me to serving faithfully when I preferred to be served.  I gained the knowledge of a loving personal Lord that cares for people and that has caused me to have a high regard for the dignity and personal worth of other people.

I am inspired to live in the light of eternity, taught by the Word that this present world is just the prelude to the ‘forever’ life that is promised to all of God’s children.  Eternity,  out there on time’s horizon and growing closer each day, makes me hopeful and peaceful.

I don’t have a lot of patience with those who twist the wonderful Word into strange doctrines, who use snippets of the Word to support their pet theories. Few things make me more disturbed than hearing someone ‘interpret’ the Scripture with no real skill or study. Paul admonished Timothy, a younger pastor, about the importance of good teaching. He said,  “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15, NKJV) It is simply too precious to be misused by charlatans, misquoted by simpletons, or ignored by misguided sophisticates!

With the Psalmist, I say – “How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through Your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:103-105, NKJV)

John Ortberg writes that “Some 65 million copies of the Bible are bought or distributed in the U.S. every year-nothing else is a close second. The average house has at least three. People cheer the Bible, buy the Bible, give the Bible, own the Bible- BUT they just don’t actually read the Bible.”

Biblical illiteracy is a big deal even among Christians.  Only about a third of Christians know who delivered the Sermon on the Mount. (Jesus did.) Just under half can name the first book in the Bible. (Genesis) About three-quarters of evangelical Christians believe the phrase “God helps those who help themselves” is in the Bible. (Ben Franklin said that.)

Are you a person of the Word?
Just owning a Bible does not make you Biblical! Read it.  Of course, without the practice of group study, which has precedent spanning three millennia, you will miss much, most, in fact, of what the Bible actually has to say.   Really understanding what God says is a life-long quest, a serious study, and demands that we allow the Spirit to make the Word plain to us.   But, the reward of knowing and doing what the Word teaches is beyond estimation.

The word from the Word is a longer passage from Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus’ story about the Word planted in us like a seed. “Now here is the explanation of the story I told about the farmer sowing grain: The seed that fell on the hard path represents those who hear the Good News about the Kingdom and don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches the seed away from their hearts. The rocky soil represents those who hear the message and receive it with joy. But like young plants in such soil, their roots don’t go very deep. At first they get along fine, but they wilt as soon as they have problems or are persecuted because they believe the word. The thorny ground represents those who hear and accept the Good News, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares of this life and the lure of wealth, so no crop is produced.

The good soil represents the hearts of those who truly accept God’s message and produce a huge harvest—thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted.” (Matthew 13:18-23, NLT)

Is God’s Word producing a harvest of goodness in your life?


Ancient Words
(Micheal W. Smith’s rendition of this great song)

Holy words long preserved
For our walk in this world
They resound with God’s own heart
O let the ancient words impart

Words of life words of hope
Give us strength help us cope
In this world where’er we roam
Ancient words will guide us home

Ancient words ever true
Changing me changing you
We have come with open hearts
O let the ancient words impart

Holy words of our faith
Handed down to this age
Came to us through sacrifice
O heed the faithful words of Christ

Martyr’s blood stains each page
They have died for this faith
Hear them cry through the years
Heed these words and hold them dear

We have come with open hearts
O let the ancient words impart
O let the ancient words impart

Lynn DeShazo © 2001 Integrity’s Hosanna! Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing (Integrity Music [DC Cook]))

CCLI License # 810055



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