The elders here at the Valley Church of Christ have encouraged the whole congregation to read through the Bible this year together. They church has provided at no cost to all members a copy of The Daily Bible, a chronological version with commentary by F. LaGard Smith. I have chosen to craft the sermons this year around this chronological version of the Bible. There is no question that studying and reading the Word of God is of the utmost importance. The Psalmist will tell us one reason the Words of God are so important is that they will keep us from sin; “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you (Psalm 119:11). And yet, Scripture is not just a set of rules to tell us what not to do. Paul will tell Timothy (2 Timothy 3:16-17) that, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” The Bible will teach us how to live, how to act, and what to do so that you and I can be pleasing to God. It truly is life’s instruction manual! Even though the writer’s of the Bible did not have the internet, didn’t have cell phones, could not have imagined going to the movies, or even grasped social media—it still is applicable in every situation. The great commandments (Matthew 22:36-39) of loving God and loving your neighbor apply regardless of where technology or invention might lead us.
But there must be more. Scripture has to be more than a book of instructions, guidelines, how to’s, what not’s, and history. There must be something that makes it even more unique, more precious and more special. For me, I think I stumbled across that in the introduction to a 70-year-old book, first published in 1948.
“For it is not mere words that nourish the soul, but God Himself, and unless and until the hearers find God in personal experience they are not the better for having heard the truth. The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into Him, that they may delight in His Presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God Himself in the core and center of their hearts.” [A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God]
The Bible is more than a book of rules and instructions; Scripture, God’s Word, is a book that contains the very heart of God and will bring you into His presence and a relationship with Him if you allow it to do so. If you are not reading along with us—I cannot encourage enough to start today!