What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of the bible or the phrase 'Word of God'?
We know its that thick book that you can purchase in many different sizes, versions, and colors, that we're supposed to bring with us to church on Sundays. We know it was written a long long time ago. But, is that all? I mean really, what is the bible for you? What is the importance of the Word of God in your life?
Unfortunately, we live in a world today where the bible is depicted as being outdated, fictional, having little value, and to some, completely irrelevant. The sad part, is that we as Christians are adapting to that same line of thinking, without even realizing it.
Some of the most googled questions on this topic include:
- Is the bible relevant today?
- Is the bible outdated?
- Is the bible really inspired?
- Why is the bible important today?
If these questions sound familiar (whether you find yourself asking them, or whether you've had someone else ask and you didn't know how to answer), then its time to take a step back to re-affirm the foundation of your Christian faith. If you want to be victorious in your walk with God, everything starts from acknowledging the importance of the bible.
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What is the Bible?
Having been translated into thousands of different languages, and with millions of copies sold every single year, everyone has at least heard of what Guinness World Records has declared the best-selling book of all time - The Bible.
However, despite it's worldwide popularity and availability, many Christians fail to grasp the true relevance and importance of bible. It is vital that we understand what the bible is, and what it is not.
The Bible is Not Just a Book
If we are being honest, many of us have carried our childhood perspective of the bible into our adulthood thinking.
We remember the Sunday school stories about creation, Adam and Even, Noah, Moses, David and Goliath. We remember being taught the 10 commandments. We remember memorizing the 23rd Psalm and the Lord's Prayer.
As a result, we tend to view the bible as just a book:
- a storybook of nothing more than a collection of outdated stories designed to interest and entertain
- a rule book of primitive, unnecessary, and even ridiculous rules that simply aren't realistic for today's modern woman
When we approach the bible with this type of mindset, it's no surprise that we're not motivated to read it. After all, why re-read old Sunday school stories when we can get far better entertainment from social media through news stories, videos, memes and inspirational quotes?
In doing so, we miss out on what the bible truly is, and the amazing power it can have in our lives.
The Bible is the Word of God
The first step in changing our perspective of what the bible is, and recognizing that it's not just an ordinary book, is to acknowledge the fact that it is the Word of God.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16 NIV)
For no prophecy recorded in Scripture was ever thought up by the prophet himself. It was the Holy Spirit within these godly men who gave them true messages from God. (2 Peter 1:20-21 TLB)
Although physically, the sixty-six books of the bible were written by a variety of authors (including kings, prophets, priests, leaders, apostles, and other followers of God), each word of the original manuscripts were ultimately inspired by God Himself.
In some cases, as with Moses and the law (Exodus 34:27), God dictated while he transcribed. In other cases God gave each author their own message to share, which that individual wrote with their own words, personality, perspective, and experience shining through.
Because the entire bible was inspired by God Himself, despite all the diversity among the individual books (authorship, stories, theme, setting, etc.), the bible as a whole maintains a consistent message: God is our creator, we are all sinners, He loves us, and wants to restore us to a right relationship with Him.
Every time we open our bibles, it is essential that we look at it as God speaking to us. It's when we begin to do this regularly that we begin to grasp the importance of the word of God, and are able to hear what He has to say.
The Uniqueness of the Bible
Aside from the bible being the Word of God, it is also unique in several other ways that distinguishes it from any other book that exists. Let's take a further look.
The Word of God is Authoritative
As stated before, since the bible is the Word of God, then there is no difference between God speaking and scripture speaking. Therefore, as Christians, we are to submit to its authority in our lives.
God told the prophet Isaiah:
So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11 NIV)
The words in the bible are not just characters on a page. The word of God has such authority that it accomplishes whatever God sets out for it to do.
We have all read self-help and motivational books, but no book has more authority in our lives than the bible. It is our true guide book for life.
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. (Psalm 119:105 NIV)
The bible is our ultimate authority, and we should always seek its guidance and direction on any subject matter.
The Word of God is Alive
The bible is alive! No, your physical bible is not going to get up and start walking across the floor, or gliding through the air in your room. It means the Word of God is living and active in our lives.
The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you - they are full of the Spirit and life. (John 6:63 NIV)
God's Word gives life to those things which are otherwise considered spiritually dead. Why do you think when we become Christians, the bible says we become a "new creation" (2 Corinthians 5:17). The Holy Spirit changes us through the Word of God and gives us true life.
For the word of God is alive and active. (Hebrews 4:12a NIV)
The more we embrace the bible in our lives, the more it actively works in our lives. Then we begin to tap into the true power of the Word of God.
The Word of God is Powerful
Remember the story of creation? God literally spoke everything into existence. He said, 'Let there be light', and there was light.
By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth. (Psalm 33:6 NIV)
That's how powerful the Word of God is! Having authority is one thing, but having authority, along with being alive and powerful, magnifies the effectiveness of the bible. This is why, just by simply hearing or reading God's Word it has the power to prompt conviction and change in our hearts and minds.
Let's take a look at Hebrews 4:12 in full:
For the word of God is alive 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. (Hebrews 4:12 NIV)
Now I have sat through many amazing motivational speeches, and read some very inspirational books, none of which have ever changed my life the way the bible has. No book has the authority or power to dig into the depths of our soul and spirit, and convict us towards life-altering changes the way the bible does!
The Word of God is Flawless
The bible is without error:
- Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar. Proverbs 30:5-6 NIV
- Do not add other laws or subtract from these; just obey them, for they are from the Lord your God. Deuteronomy 4:2 TLB
God doesn't make mistakes, and despite popular belief, the bible does NOT contradict itself!
We don't have to add in our own words to make it sound better, or dress it up nicely for others. As you begin to read, learn, and study the bible, even difficult passages, or seemingly contradictory passages will begin to make sense as you look at the Word of God as a whole, rather than random stand alone verses.
The bible is flawless, and we cannot improve upon the God's Word.
The Word of God is Eternal
The bible is timeless. The following three verses say it all:
- The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever. Isaiah 40:8 NIV
- Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. Matthew 24:35 NIV
- All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal. Psalm 119:160 NIV
I love this, because it shows us that regardless of whether we want to learn God’s word or not, that His Word will last forever. It also shows that God's Word is, and always will be relevant. Even in our modern society where people our convinced that the bible is nothing but ancient truth.
We can tear up, burn up, or throw away every physical bible that exists, but the Word of God itself will never fade, vanish or be destroyed! People can even stop believing in the bible altogether, and that still, won’t negate its existence or make it any less true.
God's Word does not have an expiration date!
The Importance of the Word of God in the Life of a Believer
We have covered what the bible is, and what makes it unique and unlike any other book that exists. But, how and why is the bible important for Christians? What is the purpose of the Word of God in our lives? How does it benefit us directly?
The bible is full of powerful stories, prophecies, and insights into who God is and who we are in Him. What we often overlook is the fact that our Christian faith is built upon the Word of God. Without it, we wouldn't know who God is, how he wants us to live, or anything about our spiritual heritage.
Again the bible is NOT just a book of stories and rules. It reveals God's character, records the history of the our Christian religious faith, and shows us how to have a meaningful life, and a close relationship with God Himself.
The goal of reading, learning and studying the bible is to build our faith, deepen our relationship with God, and change our lives for the better in the process.
The fact is, the Word of God has the power and ability to impact every area of our lives, but only if we allow it to.
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Embrace the Word of God
If we don't acknowledge the importance of scripture, we will continue to remain stagnant in our walk with God.
We can't profess to be Christians and continue to neglect the Word of God. We must acknowledge it's importance and relevance, and make reading it a priority in our lives.
The bible hasn't lost its power or relevance. God's Word is every bit as powerful today as it's always been. We are simply not accessing it's power. There are some powerful promises in the bible, and they're all ours when we believe the Word and commit to live according to it.
I promise, that once you begin to shift your attitude toward the bible, and decide to embrace it for what it is, and make it a regular priority in your life, that you won't regret it. Give God the opportunity to do something new and amazing in your life.
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