Foundations: Scriptures

John 1:1-3 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 were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

The Word was God. The Word is Jesus. Before we talk about the Bible, we need to acknowledge that fact. For most of human history, people didn’t have Bibles. The Bible isn’t the most important thing; Jesus is. He is the Word we need. If you just have the Bible but don’t have Jesus, you don’t have truth. You don’t have salvation.

I’m driving home that point because the Scriptures can actually become an idol. An idol is something we put in the place of God. We don’t seek truth by seeking Bible knowledge. We seek the Truth, who is Jesus, by studying the Bible with the help of the Holy Spirit.

In the gospels (the books of the Bible about Jesus’ life), we read about the Pharisees, the religious leaders who end up being the ones behind Jesus’ arrest and execution. They knew their “Bibles.” They knew the Hebrew Scriptures, but their knowledge of God’s written word wasn’t enough for them to come to salvation. They missed Jesus. Actually, their knowledge, and their pride in their knowledge, kept them from recognizing Jesus. They knew that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, so they rejected Jesus from Nazareth as a possibility, never bothering to ask where He had actually been born. They knew the Messiah would obey the law, but Jesus broke their Sabbath laws, laws established by men, not the laws from His Father. They were sure He was evil since someone from God would obey the law, and the Scriptures warn against a lawless one. Their knowledge of the Scriptures wasn’t enough.

Back in lesson 2, I quoted the following verse.

John 17:3 (WEB) This is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and him whom you sent, Jesus Christ.

Eternal life is knowing God, the Father, and Jesus. Scriptures aren’t the be-all and end-all. They are a tool to help us get to know God, the Father, and Jesus, the Son, so that we can have eternal life.

The Bible is inspired by God. The Holy Spirit interacting with Scriptures makes it the living word that can speak to each of us individually and differently at different times, even when reading the same thing.

Read these verses about our perfect gift of Scriptures. What do they teach us about the Bible?

Romans 15:4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Psalm 19:7-11 The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.

We can desire after God’s word like that because we’re pursuing Jesus and He is that desirable! We need to consume Scriptures like they are life for us.

Matthew 4:4 But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Lesson Point: Scriptures are truth and life for us, but only because they point us to our source of Truth and Life.

Challenge Question: How much do you value God’s word? Do you see God’s word as something as necessary as food? Do you “consume” it as often as you would eat? Do you think on God’s word all day? Are you careful to do all that is written in it?