“It is fashionable in some academic circles to exercise scholarly criticism of the Bible. In so doing, scholars place themselves above the Bible and seek to correct it. If indeed the Bible is the Word of God, nothing could be more arrogant. It is God who corrects us; we don’t correct Him. We do not stand over God but under Him.” – R.C. Sproul
We live in a day and age where the Bible is often set aside in favor of dynamic personalities, self-help experts and self-proclaimed authorities on what makes a church. The Bible is swept aside in churches around the United States and certain passages are excluded in favor of church growth and tolerance. In 2015, the Presbyterian church (USA) affirmed homosexuality as a viable form of marriage in the church (Time Magazine, Nolan Feeney). They joined the Lutheran, Episcopal and United Church of Christ protestant denominations in nationally affirming the practice of homosexuality as Biblical and accepted by the church. This nation wide erosion of the Biblical definition of marriage and the condemnation of the practice of homosexuality is symptomatic of how many treat the Bible today. 1 Corinthians 6:9, Romans 1, 1 Timothy 1:10, Leviticus 18:22, Jude 1:7 (along with the account of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19) and others all speak of homosexuality as sinful behavior that cannot be redefined without ignoring the Bible.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness – 2 Timothy 3:16
I recently attended a church worship gathering of a struggling evangelical, Bible believing fellowship. I was struck with how little the Bible was present in the sermon and how few people even had their Bible out during the service. The people spoke of the division and strife that had plagued the church over the years and I had to think to myself, “have you plugged into the power source?” The church is only going to be healthy and focused on the mission of Jesus Christ if the Bible is at the forefront of our attention.
The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God endures forever – Isaiah 40:8
The Word of God is made central when a church’s people dig personally and then corporately. Do you personally love the Word of God? How much time have you spent in your Bible today? Yesterday? This week? You spend time on what you love. If you love your wife, you will spend time with her. This principle is true with God as well (Matthew 6:24). The Bible stays central in a church if the people are hungry for the Word of God (1 Peter 2:2-3). Do you open your Bible during a sermon even if the pastor says nothing about opening it? Do you have casual conversations with peers in a non-church setting about what God is teaching you through the Bible? These are just a few ways in which we can read (pun intended) our desire for the Word.
How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you – Psalm 119:9-11
God promised Joshua that if he keeps the Word on his lips and at the forefront of his mind, he will be successful. This is true of our churches today. We NEED God to convict, teach and train us through His Word in order to grow mature in our faith (Heb 5:12). We must proclaim the full Gospel of God through his Word and not be afraid to preach difficult subject matter that may not be comfortable (Acts 20:27). A church that is committed to the entire Bible (not just in speech but in action!!!) and refuses to leave out certain topics or issues is a church that is well on it’s way to being a healthy body of believers.