Some years ago, a New Testament was sent to a notorious criminal while he was awaiting execution for murder. Although he refused to read it, he was nevertheless curious about what was in it. One day as he was looking over his gift, he happened to read Luke 9:56: “The Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.”
Evidently these are the words of someone who wants to teach men the way to live a good life, he said to himself. On another occasion, the criminal read the Bible again and described his feelings in this way: “I read the story of the crucifixion, and at the words, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do’ (Luke 23:34), I stopped. I was stabbed to the heart. It revealed to me the love of God, and with a grateful heart I believed. Through that simple sentence, I was led to become a Christian. I knew that a man who prayed like that must be the Son of God, for such an act is not possible to an ordinary man.”
This kind of story reveals to us the mighty power of the Word of God. Just a short sentence was enough to bring a notorious criminal out of spiritual darkness and into the marvelous light. If the Bible is a book that has this much spiritual dynamite, do you wonder that God urges each of us to read it and study it that He might bring life to us and to others?
GOD’S WORD REVEALS GOD’S WILL
The Bible, the source of Christian truth, is the most important textbook that we can ever study. It is the written Word of God. God is the author (see 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:21). The beauty and majesty of its language; the agreement of all its parts; the absolute perfection of Scripture with its songs, stories, poems, parables, orations, history and letters gives us abundant evidence that the Bible is the inspired Word of God.
Other books are soon outdated, “but the word of our God stands forever” (Isa. 40:8). The Bible will endure forever, and it is completely trustworthy. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away” (Luke 21:33).
We can see how essential the Bible is in our lives in order for us to know and understand God’s will, but think of the Bible in still another way. It is the will of your Father, which reveals to you your inheritance and your riches and your promises. It is the letter from your best friend. How one waits for the mail to come to bring a letter from an absent friend! You know the joy with which one tears the envelope open. The person cannot wait to read the contents. He or she is not reading a series of events like a history book, but is reading the things that concern a person he or she loves.
You no doubt have seen the kind of ink used for secret writing. It fades away the minute it is used, and the paper seems to be blank. If the sheet of paper is held over a fire, the writing comes out and can be read easily. Now, to a great many people, the pages of the Bible (especially the Old Testament) seem to be blank. Such people need to be shown what is taught in the Bible. Christ said that the Holy Spirit enables us to understand God’s Word, for He shows the truth of the Scriptures (see John 16:13). A person may have a most brilliant mind, but without the illumination of the Holy Spirit, the pages of the Bible are as blank sheets of paper.
A young lady threw down the book that she had just finished and said, “That’s the dullest story I’ve ever read.” In the course of time, she became engaged to a young man. One night she said to him, “On one of the books in my library, the author’s name and even his initials are precisely the same as yours. Isn’t that a singular coincidence?” “I don’t think so,” he replied. “Why not?” she said. “For the simple reason that I wrote the book.”
That night, the young lady sat up until two o’clock reading the book again. This time, it seemed to be the most interesting story she had ever read. The once dull book was now fascinating because she knew and loved the author. In the same way, when we know and love the author of the Bible, we will find it interesting because it reveals aspects of His character and His purpose for our lives.
Of course, just reading the Bible alone is not sufficient. Some people have this strange idea about the Word of God. In fact, the Bible is more like a signboard. Suppose I am traveling to Yellowstone Park in an automobile. All of a sudden, I see a big sign that says, “Yellowstone Park,” with a big arrow pointing in a direction. Imagine my getting out of the car, climbing up on the sign and sitting on it.
The next tourist would come along and say, “What are you doing?” I would answer, “I am going to Yellowstone Park, and here I am.” You could not conceive of anyone being so absolutely foolish. The signboard only points the way. We must go in the direction that it says. It is a very foolish traveler who will not follow directions. The Bible tells us which way to go all through life. We just have to follow the directions and do what God says. “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (Jas. 1:22).
COMMITMENT IN STUDYING GOD’S WORD
A minister once asked one of the members of his church how she was getting along in her Christian life. “Very poorly,” she replied. “My life is a disgrace to me and to the church. It is a disgrace to Jesus Christ. I don’t understand why.” “Do you study your Bible every day?” the minister asked. “No, but I do study it occasionally, whenever I have time.”
The minister turned to a little baby lying in a carriage nearby, and said, “Suppose you fed that baby once in two hours today and once in six hours tomorrow, and then let him go without eating for three or four days because you were busy. Then you would go back and feed him every two hours the next day and just keep that up. Do you think the child would grow?” “No,” the woman said. “I think the child would die under that treatment.” “Yet that is just the way you are treating your soul,” the minister replied.
Young people who are going to become doctors, lawyers, merchants, accountants or mechanics know that they have to study constantly to become proficient in their work. They read everything that they can get that will help them to understand their subject. They do more than read—they pore over the contents and master the pages.
A person who knows nothing about medicine would be an absolute failure as a doctor. A lawyer who did not know the law could never win a case. There is no shortcut to learning the Bible—no easy way of discovering what it contains. There is only one way, and that is to accept the challenge to study the Bible.
As we approach God’s Word, our prayer should be the words of Psalm 119:18: “Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law.” Remember, the reason for our study of the Bible is that we may become approved unto God (see 2 Tim. 2:15).
There is little use to read and study the Bible if we do not obey its teachings. Do you want to be “approved unto God”? If so, you must study His Word.
A LIGHT IN A DARK WORLD
How much light we need in this age of spiritual darkness and confusion. It is often hard to know which way is right. You know how you feel when you go into a strange dark room. You haven’t any idea what is there. You just grope around and are afraid that you might fall or knock something down. What a difference it would make if a light were turned on in that room!
God’s Word throws a light on all of our paths through life.
God’s Word, the blueprint for our lives, shows the pitfalls and ditches, the stones and rough places.
Here are the three related articles excerpted from the eBook God’s Plan by Henrietta Mears…
Henrietta Mears (1890 to 1963) was one of the great Bible teachers of the 20th century. While she served as Christian Education Director at First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, she built one of the largest Sunday Schools in the world and wrote curriculum that was in such high demand that to publish it, she founded Gospel Light in 1933. Such notable Christian leaders as Richard C. Halverson, Luis Evans, Jr. and Bill Bright were among her students. Billy Graham said of Dr. Mears, “Her enthusiasm for the Lord Jesus Christ was contagious.”
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What the Bible Is All About:
by Henrietta Mears
Billy Graham wrote the foreword for this inspired commentary on the entire Bible. It is a must-have for pastors, teachers and all Christians who want to understand God’s great plan of the ages revealed from Genesis to Revelation.
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INVEST IN YOUR GOD-GIVEN GIFTS AND SPIRITUAL GROWTH
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