Respect for the Word of God

Many people today claim to love the Word of God. They talk about the beauty of the Bible, especially its poetry and rhythmic flow. Many of these same people, however treat it as irrelevant, in much the same way that we would treat a magazine of the 1970s.  In other words, they treat it with contempt while still claiming to love it. When it comes to such issues as women in office, homosexuality, or premarital sex we often hear something like this: “The Bible might have said that back in Paul’s day but we live in a different era now, so those rules don’t apply anymore.”  Still others cherry-pick which parts of the Bible they will adhere to. Doing that is nothing new. Thomas Jefferson is well known for going through the Bible with knife and cutting out the miracles and other parts of Scripture that he didn’t believe in. There are still Jefferson Bibles yet today. And there are many who, in effect, do exactly the same thing Jefferson did.

Still others want to destroy the Bible altogether. In our family devotions we have been reading through Jeremiah. In Jeremiah 36, God tells Jeremiah to write a scroll containing all the punishments for Judah’s sins, everything from cannibalism to the captivity. This scroll was to be read in the presence of King Jehoiakim. The king and his servants didn’t want to hear the punishments that would be meted out on their land, so they tried to destroy the word of God. That is what Jehoiakim did. “Now the king sat in the winterhouse in the ninth month: and there was a fire on the hearth burning before him. And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, he cut it with a penknife and cast it into the fire that was in the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was in the hearth” (Jeremiah 36:22,23). The following verses indicate that they had no remorse about this whatsoever. In spite of their actions, God’s word still prevailed and the captivity and everything leading up to it happened just as God said it would.

The Bible is the divinely inspired Word of God to His people. When He says in Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth,” we can know for sure by the faith and the grace He has worked in us that this is so. When we are exhorted to keep ourselves chaste prior to marriage, we can be certain that this is rightly commanded by God Himself. “Marriage is honorable above all and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge”(Hebrews 13:4).

Scripture contains the judgments, exhortations and comforts that we need as we live our lives in this world. Many people have suffered and continue to suffer still today for believing in the divine inspiration of Scripture. Men like John Wyckliffe, John Hus and Martin Luther endured persecution and even death so that we could have full access to what God tells us in His Word. We certainly don’t understand everything in it perfectly. We must wait until we get to heaven. In this life, however, we do have a foretaste of what Heaven will be like. “For now we see in a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known”(I Corinthians 13:12). Let’s not take our Bibles for granted but read them each day and live our lives according to what is written therein. May God grant us the grace we need to do this!

Kevin Rau

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