The Gospel and Spiritual Growth
Episode 20: The Bible, the Foundation of our Faith
Christianity and the Bible
Christianity as a religion is unique in a sense that it doesn’t have any comparison in its inherent truth and grace. Thus, it is important that as 21st century members of the Lord’s church, our faith on the validity and authority of the Bible must be firm. We must have a clear biblical position in every aspect of our lives. What the Bible says must be also what we say and do. It is our source of knowledge concerning who God is, who Christ is, our relationship with God, and other matters of faith. Without the Bible, human knowledge will become hearsay, guesswork, and mysticism. Thus, the Bible is the solid and trustworthy foundation for our faith and life. We should not base our belief on our feelings. We shouldn’t follow the Jews in their so-called faith in God that doesn’t have substance. The apostle Paul said concerning them in Romans 3:1-3,
What advantage then hath the Jew? Or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God. For what if some did not believe? Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?
So you see, even though they have the Scriptures and they teach it, yet they don’t know what they are talking about. Even our Lord Jesus said concerning their approach on the Scriptures, in John 5:39
“Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”
The Problem of Human Religion
And yet even though they search the Scriptures, the problem is, according to Jesus in John 8:31-32,
“If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed”
Here we see a “contingency.” It is expressed by a contingent preposition “if.” It is a logical expression that says, “If A, then B.” And applied to this verse, Christ is saying, “if” you continue in my word” (that’s A) then B will happen to you, which is the fact that you are indeed my disciples. And if a person is truly a disciple of the Lord what will happen is, according to Christ on the following verse,
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
That’s it. We will be set free because Christ is the truth that sets free. It is also related to the saving love of God which our Lord said in John 3:16, saying,
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
However, in spite of the liberating truth of Christ, the Pharisees didn’t accept Him. Instead, they throw at Him insults and they engaged the Lord in a fiercely debate. And so, having expressed the true nature of their persons, the Lord Jesus said in John 8:37,
“I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.”
That’s it, even though the Pharisees are considered experts in religion, yet, when it comes to the words of Christ, it had no place in them. Thus, as Christians, we should not follow their examples. Rather, let’s follow the admonition of Paul in 2 Timothy 2:15. It says here,
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
The Command to Timothy: An Example to Follow
To understand the impact of this verse to Timothy, we need to know that during that time, this young Timothy was in a very difficult situation. That’s because he needed to challenge the elders of the church to be diligent in the service of the Lord. And to think the difficulty of that task, just imagine the situation where you are assigned to challenge and correct the elders of your church. Would you feel excited about it? I don’t think so. Yet, Paul was commanding young Timothy to do this. And with regards to Pastoral ministry, he said, “study to show thyself.” In other translation, the word “study” is translated “diligence.” As we know, diligence implies doing your best in a systematic, persistent, and consistent way. And the attitude to do it is, “as a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
You see, Paul compares this diligence to a work that is not ashamed to handle the word of God. And of course, the means for a workman not to be ashamed is to approach the Scripture rightly divided. In the Greek language, the term “rightly dividing” refers to a precise handling of God’s word. And I tell you, this is the problem of our age today. Many people talks that they are Christians, and yet you cannot see in their lives the reality of this verse. So, even though this verse is immediately addressed to Timothy, yet, it has a general command to Christians. In other words, we need to follow the example of Timothy who diligently and systematically study the word of God and is not ashamed of what people will say, realizing that what the Bible says is what matters most.
We need to put this command and admonition of Paul into our hearts, knowing that in the lasts days, according to Paul in 2 Timothy 3:1-7
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
We are in a present evil age, and therefore we should always guard our hearts with the truth of Christ and of His words.