A young Christian was preparing for a trip when his traveling companion came into the room to see how he was doing. "Are you done packing?" his friend asked. "Almost," said the young man. "The only things I have left to pack are a guidebook, a lamp, a mirror, a microscope, a volume of fine poetry, a couple of biographies, a package of old letters, a book of songs, a sword, a hammer, and a set of books I've been reading."
"Where are you going to fit all that stuff?" the friend asked. "Right here," the young man replied as he reached for his Bible and put it in the corner of his suitcase.
For generations, people have trusted the Bible. It has guided, encouraged, and comforted millions of people who readily testify to its life-changing impact. It is the best-selling book of all time, and not by a small margin. It is the cornerstone of Western Civilization. Its ethical standards have launched freedom movements, and its laws and regulations have guided lawmakers, judges, and jurists by the score. It has inspired great works of music and art, including songs, sculpture, paintings, plays, and movies. Its graphic portrayals of heroes and heroines have captured the imagination of young and old alike.
The Bible is a fascinating book. It is actually a library of 66 books. Written by 40 different authors, in 3 different languages, over a period of 1500 years – the Bible is accurate, inspiring, a source of faith, and instruction for Christian living. Most Christians have a high view of the Scriptures, yet according to statistics, that view doesn't often translate into reading the Word or doing what it says. Researcher George Barna says that the church's problem is not its theology, but its failure to apply it in compelling ways. Polls consistently show that many Christians think and behave no differently from anyone else.
However, God had a purpose in giving us the Bible and that purpose was not just to add another volume of literature to the human race, nor was it to leave us confused and bewildered -- at the mercy of theologians to interpret for us. God wanted to reveal His will to us. Because of the Bible’s source, it has vital practical relevance for our lives.
Historically, the Christian Churches and Churches of Christ have given prominence to the Scriptures. Slogans about the Bible were well known among our people:
“No Creed but Christ, No Book but the Bible”
“Where the Bible speaks, we speak; and where the Bible is silent, we are silent”
“Book, chapter, and verse for what we believe and practice”
Each of these slogans emphasizes the centrality of the Scriptures with regard to our faith. Extra-biblical documents such as creeds, catechisms, and articles of faith can often lead to division and denominational separation. But the Bible unites people. Early in its history, the Restoration Movement became known as “a people of the Book” because of the strong emphasize given to God’s Word.
Jesus told the apostles that the Holy Spirit would guide them into all truth (John 16:13). Many years after events happened, the Spirit of God helped them to remember and record the truth which God wanted to reveal to the human race for all of time. The sacred writings are said to be God-breathed or inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16), meaning that the fundamental characteristics of Scripture – what makes these writings sacred – is the fact that God breathed them out, that they have their ultimate origin with God Himself.
Restoration Movement churches take the Bible seriously because we believe it is the Word of God. We believe the journey we are on as we follow the Word of the Lord revealed to us in Scripture is going somewhere. We’d like you to go with us.
This first appeared on the Fall 2010 Issue of reIGNITED.