Summary: The greatest threat to the Bible is believers who don’t live close enough to God’s Word for it to perform its purpose.
The Transforming Role of the Word
What is the greatest threat to the Bible?
A Soviet Russian dictionary defined the Bible as a ‘collection of fantastic legends without scientific support. It is full of dark hints, historical mistakes, and contradictions. It serves as a factor for gaining power and subjugating unknowing nations.
Naturalistic Science’s attempt to discredit the Bible.
There is a story about a New England teacher who quizzed a group of college-bound high-school juniors and seniors on the Bible. The quiz preceded a “Bible as Literature” class he planned to teach at Newton High School in Massachusetts, generally considered one of the best public schools in the nation. Among the most unusual answers from his students were: ‘Sodom and Gomorrah were lovers’ and ‘Jezebel was Ahab’s donkey.’
Other students thought that the four horsemen appeared ‘on the Acropolis,’ that the New Testament Gospels were written by Matthew, Mark, ‘Luther,’ and John, that Eve was created ‘from an apple,’ and that Jesus was ‘baptized by Moses.” The answer that took the misinformation prize was given by a fellow who was academically in the top 5 percent of the graduating class. The question: What was Golgotha? The answer: ‘Golgotha was the name of the giant who slew the apostle David.’
The greatest threat to the Bible is believers who don’t live close enough to God’s Word for it to perform its purpose.
“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.”
1. Scripture is an eternally relevant message from God
The story has been told of a South Sea Islander who proudly displayed his Bible to a GI during WW2. “We’ve outgrown that sort of thing,” the soldier said. The native smiled back, “It’s a good thing we haven’t. If it weren’t for this book, you’d have been a meal by now.”
“Your word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you establish the earth, and it endures. Your laws endure to this day for all things serve you.” (Psalm 119:89-91)
2. Scripture accomplishes it goals
“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)
This is the same voice that uttered the word into existence, defeated armies, and some day will speak his judgment to the world.
a. Scripture discerns our spiritual condition
Our thoughts, attitudes, actions: legalistic attitudes, impurity of our thoughts.
It is our wrestling with the Word of God until we can say in unison with the apostle Paul, “Jesus Christ came to save sinners of whom I am the worst.”
Our communities of faith need to be places of real worship, reverence, and radical openness to the Word. When those who are ‘playing church,’ stranded between Egypt and Canaan, truly enter into his presence and are confronted with his holiness, they will have their flippant, shallow ‘churchianity’ stripped away and, like Isaiah in the shadow of King Uzziah’s death, will find themselves naked before his striking presence, crying out that they are indeed ruined and dirty.
This is the power of the Word that caused Adam and Eve to realize their nakedness in the garden. This is the power of the Word that caused Peter to fall on his knees in acknowledgment of his sin before Christ. This is the power of the Word that caused Paul to transform from persecutor of the Church to lead European ambassador.
This ‘living and active’ Word reaches to the depths of our existence and lays bare who we really are before the all-seeing God. Our confrontation by the Word brings us in touch with the truth of God’s perceptiveness. God sees us inside-out. The question is whether we realize it and, by his grace, join him in investigating our true spiritual conditions.
We tend to think of great faith in terms of following God in the accomplishing of great deeds in the world or of overcoming great obstacles. Yet, true faith must begin with a face-to-face experience with God in his Word, by which we journey to the inner recesses of our own hearts.
The forging of a real-world faith means not only that one follows Christ into the Heavenlies to meet God, but that one follows Christ into the corridors of one’s inner space in order to develop the spirit of Christlikeness. And Christlikeness in the inner life means an advancing knowledge of one’s inner self and a growing ability to master it.
The great sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, serves as our guide in following Christ through the inner corridors of the heart. The confrontation by God’s living, piercing Word begins and must be a trademark of the true life of faith.