By GARY DAMRON
A few weeks back I mentioned Nick Vujicic and would still encourage readers to check him out on YouTube or buy his books. One of his quotes is, “Without the Bible you don’t know the truth can set you free; if you don’t know the truth, you’ll believe the lies - ‘You can’t do that.’ But Nick goes on, “The word of God tells you who you are - his child, his servant. But it’s not about me. Whatever Jesus has conquered I can conquer.”
A Pew research study found that though 76 percent of Americans believe the Bible is the inspired word of God, the majority of those rarely or never read it. Studying the Bible shouldn’t be to fulfill a checklist or gain Brownie points, but serve as a resource for our deepest needs.
We’ve visited vibrant congregations in Oregon, Colorado and Wichita, full of young people and led by Bible-centered pastors whose messages draw them in. Each of us needs to know the Bible as words of encouragement and blessing. Bible knowledge also helps us avoid the traps of fundamentalist con artists and atheist bloggers.
Things 2,000 years ago weren’t all that different. Cult-like false teachers were infiltrating the Ephesian church, teaching believers that they needed extra revelations, rituals and regulations to receive God’s blessing. Paul’s word to their young pastor Timothy was, “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures” (2 Timothy 3:14-15).
Remember that the Scriptures Timothy had were the scrolls of the Old Testament. The whole point of the Word, even before the story of Jesus was written down, was to direct people to the Christ promised centuries before his birth.
The Bible has the power to activate faith. Paul wrote that it originated with God - “All Scripture is God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16). Penned over more than 1600 years, written by 40 authors in 3 languages over 3 continents, the Word points to the unified theme of God rescuing those who trust in Him.
More than 300 prophecies foretelling the coming of the Messiah were verified one by one, from the birth of Jesus to his life and death. Archaeological discoveries, more astounding by the year, are confirming the accuracy of even the most obscure details in the Bible.
On a personal level, for individuals, according to 2 Timothy 3:17 the Word teaches - shows the path to walk on; rebukes - shows when I get off the path; corrects - shows how to get back on the path; and trains - how to stay on the path. Reading the Bible liberates our potential, “...so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” As Nick Vujicic says, only God knows what we are capable of. “Nothing other than his word gives that kind of peace: it tells me who I am, why I’m here, where I’m going”.
David Suchet, the actor who played Inspector Poirot for more than 25 years, was a Jewish atheist who found Jesus while reading a Bible in a Seattle hotel room. He started with Romans. “By the end of that letter,” he said, “I had seen and read about a way of life to which I wanted to aspire. I thought, ‘This is what I have been looking for all my life.’”
In many parts of the world Bibles are not allowed. We have the opportunity to access all the benefits and blessings of God, available in his Word. Just read it!