This is the final installment in a series about the importance of the Bible. You can read the other posts here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4. As I said in Part 1, this final post will reflect how our lives, as students of the Word of God, should be impacted by the daily reading of it.
If you do not have a Bible reading plan, click here to choose from a list of various options. I recommend the M’Cheyne One-Year Reading Plan, and the Through The Bible In A Year reading plan. If you click the “Print” link, a PDF will open with the reading schedule.
I would like to use the Belgic Confession to continue our discussion of the Bible and its worth. We will take Article 7 a little at time and discuss the implications of the Word of God.
Article 7: The Sufficiency of Scripture
that this Holy Scripture contains
the will of God completely
and that everything one must believe
to be saved
is sufficiently taught in it.
Being part of the Reformed Church I adhere to the Belgic Confession, not because it is on the same level as Scripture, but because it clearly defines the doctrines and teachings of Scripture in accord with what Scripture says about itself; read Kevin DeYoung’s recent blog post here. In this passage, we have the admission of my previous four posts. The Bible is the only means by which a Christian can know what God demands from them; in fact, it is the only means by which a person can become a Christian. It is through the hearing of the Word that the Holy Spirit works, read Romans 10.14-17. The Bible is sufficient for teaching and salvation.
For since the entire manner of service
which God requires of us
is described at great length,
even an apostle
or an angel from heaven
as Paul says—(Galatians 1.8)
ought to teach other than
what the Holy Scriptures have
already taught us.
This meaning is rather plain, but extremely important. When you hear a sermon, read a book or whatever, you must test what you hear by the Word of God, read Acts 17.10-12. If you are taught anything contrary to the Word of God, discard it, even if it comes from an angel. False teaching is usually to promote the image of the speaker, rather than glorify the Son. False teaching is what most people want to hear in our culture because it usually does not ask them to change, read 2 Timothy 4.1-4. There are many false Gospel teachings out there. I have heard it preached that God loves you just the way you are, come to Jesus and you will be saved. Undoubtedly, this is true, but this teaching is missing something, namely conforming to the image of Christ. God loves you too much to leave you the way you are; He wants you to be holy for supreme joy in your heart. Temper all teaching with the Word of God, and when in doubt choose the Bible.
For since it is forbidden
to add to or subtract from the Word of God, (Deuteronomy 12.32, Revelation 22.18-19)
this plainly demonstrates
that the teaching is perfect (remember that word “innerancy” from Part 4?)
and complete in all respects.
Therefore we must not consider human writings–
no matter how holy their authors may have been–
equal to the divine writings;
nor may we put custom,
nor the majority,
nor the passage of time or persons,
nor councils, decrees, or official decisions
above the truth of God,
for truth is above everything else.
For all human beings are liars by nature
and more vain than vanity itself.
Your favorite author is not inspired. Your favorite worship song is not inspired (unless you are singing the Psalms, of course!). Everything is subject to the truth of Scripture because it’s “teaching is perfect and complete in all respects.” Custom, or tradition, is not inspired, though it is very important. The majority of thinking is not inspired, nor the age in which we live (culture), nor any council or decree they issue. Can you feel the weight of this? This means that despite what “intellectuals” think, Adam and Eve were real historical persons. Read Genesis 5.1-5, 1 Chronicles 1.1, Hosea 6.7, Luke 3.38, Romans 5.14. Our culture roundly assumes that homosexual practice is a legitimate lifestyle, but what does Scripture say? Read Genesis 19.4-8, Leviticus 18.22, 20.13, Deuteronomy 23.17, Romans 1.24-31, 1 Corinthians 6.9-10, 1 Timothy 1.10, Jude 7. However, we should not forget that there is hope for all rebellious sinners! Read 1 Corinthians 6.11, see also this article. Whatever the waves of our culture promote–no matter how hard they crash upon us–we must remain faithful to God’s Word.
Therefore we reject with all our hearts
everything that does not agree
with this infallible rule,
as we are taught to do by the apostles
when they say,
“Test the spirits
to see if they are of God,” (1 John 4.1)
“If anyone comes to you
and does not bring this teaching,
do not receive him
into your house.” (2 John 10)
If we are to reject, with all of our heart, the false teaching of the world, then our hearts must be full of the truth that comes from God. This requires daily reading, intentional memorization, and dutiful study. This should not be a chore, but a joy. Joy in knowing that God has revealed Himself to us in written word, that we can be satisfied in knowing Him. There is no satisfaction on earth that can compare to the joy found in knowing God. The Belgic Confession calls us to detest the false teachings of our world, and not to let the false teachers into your house. What does this mean? Well, I think it means more than inviting guests over that teach falsehood. False teaching can be found in all forms of media. What books are you reading? What movies do you watch? Are you watching television shows that teach contrary to the reality of the Bible? What music do you listen to? How, and where, are you allowing false teachers into your life? Get rid of them.
Can you see how the importance of the Bible, and the Truth contained within its pages, transforms your life? The Bible not only transforms your life here and now, but in the life to come. The two things that will pass on from this world to the next are your soul and the Word of God. What are you doing with the Bible?