I know quite awhile ago I said I would follow up on the previous post about church, and I never did...but I haven't forgotten about it. It is coming, along with another attempt at posting on a regular basis. Until then, here are some thoughts I have had lately concerning the Bible.
I have been reading a daily devotional lately by John Piper. The only problem with it is that Piper is so good it's hard to read just one devotion per day, but I am trying to contain myself and make it last! This devotional is called "Pierced By The Word".
Piper has a way of making the profound very simple and opening up your eyes to the magnificence and glory of God and His Word...and this little devotional does just that. It has got me to thinking a lot about how we treat the Word in our country...and in our churches.
I have begun to feel as if we have turned the Word of God into just another product for sale. We have so many versions now, and on top of that we have an amazing number of different study Bibles. At my desk as I type this I have within my reach seven different study Bibles from six different translations (yes, I have two copies of one translation, the ESV). When is enough, enough?
I went to one publisher of Bibles...and this is only one of several, Zondervan, and they had a total of 24 different study Bibles! Now don't misunderstand me, I am not sure you can ever have too many Bibles available...but is it possible that we have so many Bibles that we have become complacent to what the Bible really is?
I have found everything from comic book Bibles to one called "The Duct Tape" Bible, which is just what it says, a Bible, where the cover is made up of duct tape! I cannot help but wonder if when Tyndale first began to translate the Word into the english language, could he have ever imagined such a thing?
It makes we wonder if we have forgotten just what the Bible is. This is the Word of God! It does not just contain the Word of God, it IS THE WORD OF GOD!
This little devotional book by Piper has come to open my eyes wider to what I have always known, but have not always experienced, nor have I always lived out what I have know, which is that this book, The Bible, is a HOLY book, a book to be handled carefully, a Book to not just read, but a Book to study, to break down, to make a part of our lives. It is meant to be lived out, applied to our lives, weaved into the fabric of our being, change us, rearange us, mold us, shape us, convict us, inspire us, drive us to our knees and lift us up to heavenly places!
And yet, for most of us it goes unread unless we are in church, and treated as though it were not even as important as a cheap paperback novel.
If you think I'm over reacting, let me share a couple of verses that Piper shares in his book.
Isaiah 66:2 "...This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and TREMBLES at my word". Now seriously, when was the last time you or I, or anyone you know TREMBLED when they read the Word? The word "trembles" means: fearful, reverential or afraid. When we open up this BOOK, we should be aware of just what it is that we are handling. While I understand some of the ways we refer to it, I think that the familiarity with the Bible has caused us some damage when it comes to how we approach it. It is not "the good book" or the "owners manual for life"...it is the WORD OF GOD! It is God breathed! It has the power to change lives for eternity! This is big stuff people! It is a really big deal!
Another verse that Piper uses and one with which I am very familar with is found in Hebrews, chapter 4, verse 12, where it says: "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."
What other book can do that? What other book is living and active? What other book penetrates so deeply, so carefully that it can divide the soul and spirits? What other book can judge you thoughts and your attitudes? This is an amazing book. Words cannot begin to describe just what it is that we have in the printed Word of God. It is no wonder that our enemy, Satan, has done all he can to destroy this Book, and now since that has failed, he has turned to destroying our desire for the Book. The church today knows more about the latest season of Survivor than she does about the Word of God. How many people do you know are HUNGRY for the Word?
Thank you John Piper for renewing a passion in me for the Word of God. Thank you for opening my eyes to the incredible depth of this Book. Thank you for making me see that when I open this Book to read, I should not do so casually with one eye on the scriptures and the other on the television...but that this is the Word of the Lord.
May the Holy Spirit convict the church in America today of her complacent attitude toward the Word of God, and may He start with me.
Ok, time to tremble some.