1008) The Book

By Al Rogness, from The Word for Every Day, 1981, Augsburg Publishing House, page 234.

     The Christian church really has but one book.  Of course thousands of books have been written about the faith, but all draw from one book, the Bible.  The Bible is the basis for our faith.

     We who are Christians believe that the Bible is different from all other books.  It is not an encyclopedia where you can look up information about birds or stars.  The whole world of chemistry and biology, for instance, is not in this book.  God gives us this kind of knowledge largely through studies in science.

     The Bible is God’s book, and God reveals himself in it.  He does not tell us everything about himself in this book, but he does tell us all that we need to know about him.  It is an old book.  The last parts were written at least 1800 years ago.  If you’re studying aeronautics, you certainly will not go to the Bible.  But for knowledge about God, an old book may be better than a new one.  Plato’s dialogues and Shakespeare’s plays are old too, but they remain the best of their kind in every university of the land.  And the Bible, an old book to be sure, is in a class by itself.  It is the Word of God.

     The strange thing about the Bible is that God uses it as a door through which he comes to us.  It is almost as if he leaps out of the pages to enter our hearts.  Or, think of the Bible as a lake.  You sit on the bank fishing for knowledge about God.  Suddenly God himself— not knowledge about him— takes the hook and pulls you in.  God catches you.

     By far the most important fact about the Bible is that Jesus Christ is in it.  Luther said that the Bible is like a cradle holding Jesus.  If you are starting from scratch to read the Bible, you should probably first read the four Gospels, the accounts of Jesus’ life and sayings.  Something remarkable then will happen; you find that Jesus is more than the total of what he said and did.  Jesus himself becomes the Word.  You not only learn about God through him.  You know God and are brought to him through Jesus.

     It is when we do more than hurry through a few verses— as we frequently do— and begin living with and loving certain parts of the book, it is then that it becomes alive for us, and we begin to know it as a great treasure.

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II Timothy 3:16-17  —  All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.

John 1:1-5…14…16-18  —  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being.  What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it…  And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth…  From his fullness we have all received grace upon grace.  The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.  No one has ever seen God.  It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.

Romans 10:17  —  So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.

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Heavenly Father, we pray that you so nurture us in your Word that our lives may please you, and that other people may be attracted to you by our godliness.  May your commands and promises be written into our hearts, and constantly kept in our minds.  May your Word be for us far more precious than our own life and whatever else we cherish on earth.  Help us to live and act accordingly.  Amen.

–Martin Luther