By Lynn Jones
Dorothy Parker once reviewed a new novel that had just been published. She wrote of the novel, “This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly; it should be thrown aside with great force.”
John Barrymore was asked to read and evaluate a script for a new play. After reading the script, he said, “It has a resistible quality about it—once you put it down, you can’t pick it up again.”
There are many second-rate books in the world, but there is one Book that is different. It is the Bible—the Word of God. Nothing begins to compare with this Book.
The Bible has many challenging passages in it. Some of the passages challenge our ability to understand; they all challenge our ability to do.
Garret Keizer warned us of our tendency to read into the Bible. He said, “If we’re not careful, the Bible becomes a Ouija board over which the ego slides to its own conclusions while pretending that the power of God has moved its attention this way or that.” The end result is that we wind up with our own interpretations which may be very suspect.
What we need is God’s help in understanding and applying His Word to our lives. The Bible is unique because it is the only book where the author is always present. His Holy Spirit who inspired the writing of the Bible comes to illumine our minds as we read the Bible. We have His guidance and help in understanding what He inspired the biblical writers to write.
Paul in his description of the Christian’s armor said that the Word of God is like the “sword of the Spirit” (Eph. 6:17). The Spirit guides us as we study this Word and as we seek to apply it to our lives. He guides us as we face opposition to our Christian witness. Just as Jesus did during His temptation experience, we can take up the sword of the Spirit to help us in this struggle in our lives.
A critic of Christianity once said to the evangelist Gipsy Smith that he had gone through the Bible several times and that it had done him no good. Gipsy Smith responded, “If you will honestly let the Bible go through you once, then you will tell a different story.” We need to let this Word go through us and transform us.
When I started preaching 58 years ago, I worried about running out of passages of Scripture to preach. Now, I worry about running out of time before I can preach all the passages that speak to me and inspire me.
I encourage you to read part of the Bible each day. If you only have time to read a few verses, then read those and meditate on them. The Bible is the world’s greatest book. Don’t neglect it!
Lynn Jones is a retired pastor who lives in Oxford. He does supply preaching for churches in his area and often serves as an interim pastor. Jones is also an author, has written two books and writes a weekly newspaper column. He may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org.