Summary: Why is Scripture foundational for everything we do. Every time we come together, we read the word and hear it proclaimed. Why is the Word of God so critical to us?
Two young boys were out in a large field playing hide and seek. As the first boy leaned against a tree covering his eyes and counting to 100, the other boy ran across the field and climbed up into another tree to hide. Just then the first boy reached 100 and he yelled out, “ready or not here I come.” Immediately the boy ran across the field looked up into the tree and said, “I found you! Now its my turn to hide.” The other boy climbed down out of the tree, then leaning against the tree, covering his eyes he began counting to 100. The first boy made the long run across the field climbed up into the first tree to hide. When the other boy finished counting to 100, he yelled out, “ready or not, here I come.” Without hesitating, he ran across the field to the other tree, looked up and said, “Ha, I found you!” Just then a third boy ran up to his friends and asked, “Hey what you guys doing?” When the boys told him that they were playing hide and seek, he excitedly asked if he could play too. In unison the other boys responded, “you can’t; there’s only 2 trees!” These two boys had fallen into a habit of playing the game the same way and never thought about why. We sometimes have a similar problem in church.
Have you ever considered why we repeatedly do the things we do at church, like the Apostle’s Creed, the Lord’s Prayer and such. These are traditions that have gone on forever, but what do they mean and why do we do them? This series is looking at the things we do regularly as the church and asking the question, “Why?” Today, we’re focusing on The Word. Why is Scripture foundational for everything we do. Every time we come together, we read the word and hear it proclaimed. Why is the Word of God so critical to us?
Our Scripture today is one of the earlier writings of the New Testament, written somewhere between 32-37 years after the Resurrection. What we see in this book are the practices of the early church. Paul established this church in Ephesus on the Aegean Sea, which is now modern-day Turkey. It was a prominent, prosperous port city in its time, but now through 2,000 years of silt, it is 6 miles inland. In its day, Ephesus was a center of travel and commerce, one of the greatest seaports of the ancient world. Three major roads led from the seaport to deliver its trade goods throughout the Roman Empire. Its wealth was legendary and combined with the continual stream of sailors and the influence of Roman culture which emphasized sensual pleasure among other things, in many ways, it was like New Orleans, where “laissez les bon temps roulez!” rules. Paul established this church in Ephesus in the midst of this culture, and after 3 years, he had raised up and appointed his young prodigy, Timothy to lead this church. These letters are Paul’s guidance to Timothy in the practices of ministry.
In the first book, Paul tells Timothy “until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of scripture…” Essentially, Paul says when you gather together, keep the “main thing the main thing”. Don’t talk politics, culture, weather or the Saints, instead devote yourselves to the reading and discussion of Scripture. So the Word becomes the foundation of the early church’s life and faith development. They read, preach, teach and discuss the Holy Scriptures.
But why is the Word central today for us. It’s not just because we’ve always done it that way. First, the Bible is the very Word of God. Paul states, “All scripture is God-breathed…” The word for breath is “pneuma,” which means spirit of God. Paul is saying the Bible is not a human book. It comes from God. Now there are two schools of thought regarding Scripture: the literal and the inspired. The literal says that this is the Word of God and God dictated every single word to the writers of the Bible. The Doctrine of Inspiration says the Bible was written by those who were inspired by the Holy Spirit to write the Word of God. This is the only verse in the Bible that uses the phrase "God-breathed" regarding Scripture, but it is not the only place that describes Scripture as inspired by God. The Old Testament is full of statements claiming to be the Word of God. "Thus says the Lord" occurs 418 times in the Old Testament. "God said" occurs 46 times. And numerous times it says God spoke through prophets and even through common people. So, God is the source and ultimate author of Scripture and because of that, it carries the full weight of His authority. This is why we call this Book holy and why it is not only worthy of our attention and dedication but central to our life together.