Tag Archives: God’s Word
I am well acquainted with the surgeon’s primary instrument, the scalpel. I’ve gone through two hernia surgeries, the removal of a kidney tumor that was supposed to be cancerous but wasn’t, achilles surgery, and heart surgery. By God’s grace I’m still around and kicking. [I also get an injection into my right eye every three months to slow down my macular degeneration, but that’s another story.]
I’m incredibly grateful for those surgeons who have operated on me. But there is Another Surgeon, a divine One, whose cutting is critical in my life. And His instrument is God’s Word, the Bible. We read in Hebrews 4 –
I’m aware that the imagery here is of a “double-edged sword.” And a sword’s normal purpose isn’t to be used for surgery, but for execution! However its purpose here isn’t to end one’s life, but to penetrate one’s life, one’s heart. This sword’s goal, of course, is to “judge the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” And that’s why I say, “O, Blessed Scalpel!”
Today’s Challenge: Where in your heart is required some serious spiritual surgery? Expose that area to God the Holy Spirit whose primary instrument in changing us is the Word of God!
“Surely it must be a sin to bore God’s people with God’s Word!” That quote from my Canadian friend Dr. Daryl Busby of years ago illustrates our culture’s need not to be BORED! But is novelty the answer? Of course not! We who preach and teach must do so enthusiastically, convinced that God’s Word is what everyone needs to hear! And His Word is no flash in the pan!
“I was going through and deciding what passages were worth emphasizing,” explained Barber, “but then I thought about how this is all the inspired Word of God. Am I supposed to say of some of God’s Word, ‘Eh. That’s just not worth remembering’? So I highlighted all of it, because it’s all great.”
Greg Hawkins, a theologian, said this was ridiculous. “Even God would admit that most of the Bible is just filler verses,” he said. “Especially the Old Testament. I mean, a lot of that just never gets quoted and will never in a million years end up on an inspirational poster with a picture of a sunset in the background.” Hawkins explained that the proper way to read the Bible is to pick out the “good stuff,” highlight that, and only ever read the rest when doing an in-depth Bible study on that particular chapter.
Barber, though, disagreed. “When I open my Bible, I can clearly see the important parts as I highlighted it — and it’s all of it. If you ask me what my favorite Bible verse is, it’s a 31,102-way tie.”
We are asking the question in these posts IF we truly believe WHAT we say we believe. Like the runaway missionary Jonah, we Jesus-followers can be incredibly orthodox in what we SAY we believe, but heterodox in how we behave.
Early Christians were accused of being “a people of the Book.” Are we? IF we really believe that the Bible is God’s Word composed of 39 books of the Old Testament and 27 books of the New Testament, our daily interaction with God’s Word ought to show it. Herrick Johnson writes, “If God is a reality, and the soul is a reality, and you are an immortal being, what are you doing with your Bible shut?”
Allow me to ask some very direct questions of you, my friend:
1. Do you have a regular, daily Quiet Time with the Lord? It may be only a few minutes, but you have disciplined yourself to spend time in God’s Word every day. No exceptions (unless you have to take someone to the hospital).
2. Do you study God’s Word? Not simply read it (although I highly recommend what I call “unit-reading” the Scriptures which means reading a whole book at one sitting). What topics or themes are you presently studying? I challenge you to leave a comment below specifying what you are studying in God’s Word.
3. Are you examining the Scriptures daily (like the Berean believers in Acts 18) to evaluate all that you hear from preachers, the media, and other Christians? In this day we dare not believe every idea that comes down the pike.
4. Ponder, think about, the following quote from A.W. Tozer. Consider leaving a comment below.
Today’s Challenge: Either choose a biblical book to unit-read or a topic to study throughout Scripture. Leave a comment below about your choice.
It is quite logical that an infinite/personal God who created man in His image would want to communicate with man. It is reasonable to assume that such a God, especially if He is described as loving and merciful and relational would want to connect with His creature.
And such is the biblical story. We did not evolve. We did not preexist on some other planet. We were created by the only God who is. And we were “made in His image.” That expression (which we will examine more closely when we look at Anthropology) involves communicative skills. We communicate with one another — why can’t God communicate with us?
The Bible’s claim is that He has communicated with us, in sixty-six books or sections of the Bible, to be exact. The “Old Testament” is composed of 37 such books, ranging from historical documents to narratives to poetry to prophecy. The unity of the incredible variety of the Bible is one of its most amazing features!
General revelation referred to God’s communicating truth to all people at all times everywhere (nature, human nature, history). Special revelation refers to God’s selecting certain people or groups to receive His truth — and to write it down for future generations. That’s what the Bible professes to be! The inscripturated (theologians love big words) record of God’s words and works for the benefit of God’s creation.
The process of recognizing which books belong in the holy canon (that collection of books deemed inspired by God) is a critical issue and may be studied further here. All religions have holy books. Why the Bible and not the Qu’ran or the Book of Mormon or the Bhagavad Gita? (Here‘s a good article on other religious writings).
We may have confidence that the Bible and the Bible alone is God’s written word to man. But a book, as someone has said, if not read, is just a block of paper!
“Whatever keeps me from my Bible is my enemy, however harmless it may appear to be. Whatever engages my attention when I should be meditating on God and things eternal does injury to my soul. Let the cares of life crowd out the Scriptures from my mind and I have suffered loss where I can least afford it. Let me accept anything else instead of the Scriptures and I have been cheated and robbed to my eternal confusion.” (A.W. Tozer, That Incredible Christian)
We are working on the “minor prophet” Jonah in this series. Not only does 2 Kings 14 refer to Jonah as an historical person, but the Lord Jesus as well testifies that he was not simply a “fable with a message” (as some critics have said).
In Matthew 12 we read: 38 Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.” 39 He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here.
Jesus refers to “the sign of the prophet Jonah.” It seems obvious that the Lord Jesus believed Jonah was real, his three days in the belly of the sea creature was real, and the repentance of the people of Nineveh was real!
We will eventually discuss Jonah’s being swallowed by (perhaps) a specially-created sea creature in a subsequent post. But the point right now is that Jonah was real, historical, and served as a point of comparison for the Lord Jesus!
There were probably a number of aspects of being a prophet of God that were attractive. Some were not. And being called to go to the hated Assyrians with a message from God could not have been more unpleasant for Jonah.
We don’t know how “the word of the Lord came” to Jonah, only that it did. It was undeniable and not open to debate. But the certainty of the command does not automatically lead to an obedience to the command, and Jonah flees. We will look at Jonah’s response in our next post.
A prayer for today: “Lord, thank You for the historical nature of the story of Jonah. Help me today to listen to Your Word — and to do what You call me to do. In Jesus’ name. Amen.” (to be continued)