Cliff Jones, Cardiff, Wales [SEE PROFILE BELOW]
We live in an age in which changes are taking place all around us. In many areas of human endeavour, those things that our fathers thought were established and unchangeable are being questioned and overthrown. Changes are taking place at an unprecedented rate in social and economic conditions. In the midst of all this upheaval and turmoil are human beings; millions of people suffering from feelings of insecurity, anxiety, insignificance, believing that "no one cares". So many people are living aimless lives, spending their time, energy and money in an attempt to satisfy their physical, mental and spiritual needs. These people are finding no satisfaction anywhere. Many are trying various religions, the occult, drugs, hobbies, intellectualism, communism and other "isms", in an attempt to find the peace, stability, happiness and truth which constantly elude them.
The turmoil, lack of satisfaction and unrest, in the midst of which we live, exist because individuals and nations have not turned to the Lord Jesus Christ who is "the same yesterday, and today, and for ever", Heb. 13. 8.
Source of Truth. God's written Word, the Bible, has been attacked by both religious people and others, and yet, by the grace of God, we know that it is indeed the Word of God. We know that through the Word of God the Holy Spirit reveals to men the mind of God. The Bible contains truth unchanging and eternal, for 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 Tim, 3. 16, 17.
All Scripture is inspired, namely God-breathed. It follows, therefore, that here we have truth which will never change and which is completely reliable. The eternal quality and unchanging character of the Word of God are emphasized in such Scriptures as "For ever, 0 Lord, thy word is settled in heaven", Psa. 119. 89; "Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away", Luke 21. 33, and again "Thou art near, 0 Lord; and all thy commandments are truth. Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever", Psa. 119. 151, 152.
In the Bible we have the unchanging truth of God with all the trustworthiness that that implies. It is so wonderful to know that we are not reading cunningly devised fables or literature, which are the product of a man's mind. If it were not for the work of the Holy Spirit, the Scriptures would not exist, and without His help we would not understand them; "... no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in oldtime by the will of man : but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost", 2 Pet. 1. 20, 21.
The authority of the Word of God has been questioned by many, and yet it remains complete, unaltered and unalterable because of what it is, "the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever", 1 Pet. 1. 23.
For our Blessing. Why did God
communicate with men and women? The motivating force was love. In His mercy and grace God has revealed Himself in the Scriptures as the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent One, the Creator, the Giver and Sustainer of life. The Bible reveals the fallen state of man, the eternal consequences of sin and God's way of salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We read, "But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name", John 20. 31. The Lord Jesus Christ directed people to the Scriptures that they might have eternal life, "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me", 5. 39. The Scriptures give us hope, "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope", Rom. 15. 4. The Scriptures also give us assurance, "And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life", 1 John 5. 11. 12, and "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God", 5. 13.
Prayerful study of the Word of God, under the enabling and directing of the Holy Spirit, feeds the believer so that he progresses towards spiritual maturity. We read, "as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby", 1 Pet. 2. 2.
The appetite of the believer for the Word of God grows as it feeds on that Word, and the believer learns more of God and His great promises. This knowledge brings joy and lasting peace; "... the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward", Psa. 19. 9-11. Again we read, "Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, 0 Lord God of hosts", Jer. 15. 16, and "These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full", John 15. 11.
God tells us to keep His Word continually in our minds, "And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shall teach them diligently unto thy children, and shall talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up", Deut. 6. 6, 7.
Power of the Word. The Word of God "is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart", Heb. 4. 12. The Word of God will accomplish that which God intends it should, "so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth : it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it", Isa. 55. 11. This same Word of God is available to the believer in the unceasing fight against the world, the flesh and the devil. In this fight the believer must "take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God", Eph. 6. 17.
When the Lord Jesus Christ was tempted, He replied to each temptation by quoting from the book of Deuteronomy, preceding His words by "It is written" Matt. 4. 4, "It is written again", v. 7, and "for it is written", v. 10. Christ quoted many times from the Old Testament, and it is worthy of note that He said to the Sadducees, "Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?", Mark 12. 24. The complete canon of Scripture has been made available to us by the grace of God, so that with the guidance and enabling of the Holy Spirit we might know and teach the whole counsel of God.
Need for Study. The Word of God, rightly divided, is sufficient for all our needs. It is indeed "a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path", Psa. 119. 105. The Word of God shows us where we are and the way we should go. It provides us with all we need for the regulation of our conduct and church order. Through it the Holy Spirit will reveal to us the mind of God and will exalt the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Bible is the inerrant and infallible Word of God. Reading and studying the Bible is not an end in itself; it is not simply a matter of acquiring Biblical knowledge in an academic sense. It is vitally important that the believer seeks the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit in his reading, studying and meditation, that He might take of the things of Christ and reveal them, so that the believer might acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord in all things, to the glory of God the Father.