It's More Than A Book
November 15, 2019 | Joshua Wilson
I love to read. It's something that my parents and grandparents instilled in me at a very young age, and I continue to enjoy reading today.
In addition to reading various articles online, I typically am in the middle of several books at any given time: a theological book, a biographical/historical book, and a Star Wars book. A good theology book engages my intellect and shapes the way I think. An enthralling Star Wars book engages my emotions and stirs my heart. And an interesting biography engages my will and motivates me to make my life matter.
But here's the question: what about the Bible?
It certainly is a book of theology and history that tells the most significant story! But the Bible is so much more than that. Paul tells us that, "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
When we come to the Bible, we have to understand that it's more than a mere book - it is the "living and active" Word of God (Hebrews 4:12), through which the Spirit of God illumines the hearts and minds of the people of God to draw them to the Son of God.
And notice what Paul says of the Word of God in those two verses in 2 Timothy:
• It is breathed out by God.
• It is profitable for teaching.
• It is profitable for reproof.
• It is profitable for correction.
• It is profitable for training in righteousness.
• It equips the man (and woman) of God for every good work.
The Bible is God's Word. Yes, the Bible has human authors writing to a human audience, but make no mistake about it: these are the very words of God. So when you pick up your Bible to read it, you are actually reading God's self-revelation to His people! And because it is the Word of God, it carries with it the authority of God.
And not only that, but it carries with it the power of God to transform lives. The Bible, Paul tells us, is very profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. I remember a mentor of mine sharing with me this illustration: think of it like you're going on a hike (and yes, this time of year, you'd probably get to enjoy some snow!). Teaching tells you which way to go as you traverse this path. Reproof tells you that you got off the path. Correction shows you how to get back on the path. And training shows you how you keep going on the path.
And that's precisely what the Bible does: it tells us how we are to live in relation to God by telling us the story of how He created the world and designed it to work. It tells us that we messed up and rebelled against God, thus pointing out our eternally deadly sins. It tells us the greatest news imaginable: that Christ died to bring His people back to God! It tells us how to live in light of our relationship with God. And in all of this, the Bible equips us to live our lives to the glory of God in all things. The Bible is at work in God's people (1 Thessalonians 2:13).
This is such an essential thing for us to remember today, as it was in Paul's day. For in the ensuing verses, he tells Timothy to "preach the Word" (2 Timothy 4:2), because the day was coming where people would no longer endure sound teaching but would listen to myths and teaching that suited their passions (2 Timothy 4:3-4). Situations and times change, but the sinful problems of the human heart remain.
So we need the Spirit to guide us into truth as we study God's Word. We must not treat this as just another book that we read and learn what we can from, but must instead pore over the entirety of Scripture. It's not just another book; it's the living and active Word of God, inspired by God to change our lives by revealing the truth of Jesus Christ. Let us not ignore it!