Article 7 of the Belgic Confession calls the Holy Scripture “the only rule of faith.” Lord’s Day 33 of the Heidelberg Catechism, when speaking of good works, describes these works in part as only those that are “performed according to the law of God,” that is, the Scriptures. Sola Scriptura, as we were reminded in the recent celebration of the Protestant Reformation’s 500th anniversary, means that Scripture alone gives us everything we need to know for life and faith. II Timothy 3:15 teaches us that Scripture is “able to make us wise unto salvation.” Scripture indeed is important and should occupy an important place in our lives.
Why is Scripture so important? First, it is God’s Word. What could ever be more important and worth our time than the Word of our covenant Father to us? By it God reveals Himself to us so that we can know Him and live with Him in sweet fellowship.
Second, God’s Word is Jesus Christ our Savior. He made the perfect sacrifice to satisfy for the sins of all His people. Therefore when we appear before God in the final judgment, we are not condemned, but have Christ’s perfect righteousness counted as ours. There can certainly be no greater gift, no more amazing grace than that Word!
Third, Scripture gives us everything we need to live and die happily: knowledge of our sin and misery, how we can be delivered from our sin and misery, and how we can show our gratitude to God for that deliverance (Lord’s Day 1). We can only know those three things through God’s Word, which shows us our sin through the law, reveals Christ’s work on the cross for us, and instructs us in our lives of thankful obedience.
Scripture is everything for the child of God. There is never an hour or circumstance in which God’s Word is not there for us. In joy, it directs us to praise the One from whom all blessings flow. In sin, it rebukes us, calls us to repentance, and assures us of forgiveness. In sorrow, it gives us the only comfort there can ever be in life or in death, that we are not our own but belong to our faithful Savior Jesus Christ. In doubt, it shows us God’s unchanging love and faithfulness and gives us hope for the future. The following poem, by Amos R. Wells, says it nicely.
When I am tired, the Bible is my bed;
Or in the dark, the Bible is my light;
When I am hungry, it is vital bread;
Or fearful, it is armour for the fight;
When I am sick, ‘tis healing medicine;
Or lonely, thronging friends I find therein.
If I would work, the Bible is my tool,
Or play, it is a harp of happy sound.
If I am ignorant, it is my school;
If I am sinking, it is solid ground.
If I am cold, the Bible is my fire;
And wings, if boldy I aspire.
Should I be lost, the Bible is my guide;
Or naked, it is raiment, rich and warm.
Am I imprisoned, it is ranges wide;
Or tempest-tossed, a shelter from the storm.
Would I adventure, ‘tis a gallant sea;
Or would I rest, it is a flowery lea.
Scripture indeed is everything for the child of God, and the study of Scripture is infinitely profitable. Let us now be faithful and diligent in our use of this great gift.