The Hon. Mark O. Hatfield is Governor of the State of Oregon. Before entering political life, he was dean of students and associate professor of political science at Willamette University, Salem, Oregon.
God is not a mysterious Being who has isolated himself completely from us. He has taken the initiative to communicate with us in a way we can understand. He has given us the Bible, which is so readily available to us for reading, studying, exploring, discussing, and teaching. In the Bible we learn who God is and what he desires of man. Christ established the pattern for our relation with God, with our neighbors, and with society. He makes his own power available to us for a more abundant life.
I do not regard the Bible as a bedtime story to prepare me for a restful night. Nor is it simply an order of worship to be used on Sunday mornings. Since it is the source of God's truth, we need to be saturated with it. We need to delve into it systematically, with enthusiasm, with curiosity, and with willingness to apply God's will as it unfolds to us. Often I need the peace and refreshment of the Book of Psalms. On other occasions, I need the assurance of God's unfailing, unchanging, eternal, and personal love for me as it is wonderfully revealed in passage after passage of the New Testament.
It is through the message of the Bible that we meet Jesus Christ, and become committed to him. Then naturally and increasingly our selfish motives and actions are revealed to us. We seek God's forgiveness and move to a higher plane of living. This constant interaction with God, through the Scriptures, is the only way to maintain a healthy Christian life.
This article originally appeared in Christianity Today on November 22, 1963.1
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