Imagine an ocean-going liner without anchor, compass, or rudder. Wrecking and loss would be inevitable. And all around us, inside and outside the Church, there are millions of people in an analogous spiritual condition.
Day after day countless Christians start out without any conscious anchor of the soul, without a compass by which their lives can be properly oriented, and without the rudder of God’s guidance to enable them to steer a straight course through the confusing situations of life.
This happens to all who do not know and use the Bible, the written Word of God; for it is the Bible that is an anchor in the midst of shifting opinions, a compass that orients us to God’s eternal verities, and a rudder that turns man toward God’s way. Above all else the Bible tells us of Christ and how we may obtain salvation through faith in him.
The world is full of changing opinions. The speculations of men are as numerous and as varied as men themselves. On every hand voices clamor to be heard; some are foolish, some wise, but all are subject to change with the passing of time. In the midst of this situation, the Bible stands as an unending source of wisdom. In it are to be found the answers so many seek but few find; for the wisdom of this Book is divine, a revelation of truth man can never discover from any other source.
Since this is so (and it can be put to the test by anyone), what should our attitude to the Bible be?
I speak from a long and soul-satisfying experience. I know the aridness and frustration of days lived without the comfort and guidance of the Scriptures. I also know the joy that comes when things and events fall into a clear pattern because the Captain and his Word hate been consulted at the beginning of the day, and because divine wisdom has been given precedence over human opinions.
The daily reading of the Bible and the appropriation of the things it has to offer is of such great importance, and the end result so soul-satisfying, that it cannot be over-emphasized.
We live in a secularized and materialistic world. Only in the Bible and through the teaching of the Holy Spirit can we come to know and appreciate spiritual values, and compare them with the values of a world alienated from God. The Bible points us in the right direction in the midst of conflicting claims. It shows us the way, even when the sun is obscured by clouds of adversity and the fogs of doubt surround us. Like a brilliant light, the Bible shows the path of God in the midst of other paths that beckon to ultimate disaster.
In our time moral values are considered to be relative, not absolute; right and wrong are said to be determined by the situation, not by a moral code. It is clear that Satan has undermined the morality that is a basic part of the Judeo-Christian tradition.
How can young people—or any of us—live lives of purity when all around there are enticements to violate the moral standards on which our society has been built?
In the Book of Proverbs, young people can find the answers to their problems today. Bookstores stock hundreds of books containing advice to young people, but the clear teachings of this marvelously modern Old Testament book have never been surpassed or superseded.
Who does not have problems? There is hardly a day when we are not confronted with them in one way or another; but the man whose mind is steeped in the Word of God can find basic answers to life’s problems. The answer may be a warning against the personal sins that lie at the root of the problem; or it may be a word giving the solution as a light flashing in the dark.
In our time knowledge has multiplied astonishingly, and it probably will continue to multiply far beyond the capability of man to make use of it. But over and beyond all that may be learned about the world there is the fact of God’s transcendent wisdom offered to man in the Bible, without which he continues to be an earthbound creature. This wisdom can bring peace of heart and serenity of mind because it is fixed on the One who is Truth itself.
No one would deny that our world is full of staggering uncertainties. Many suffer from the constant tensions caused by an unknown future. Wars and rumors of wars are only a part of a world where political, social, and economic ferments point to possible disaster.
Yet he who has his faith firmly rooted in the Word of God sees beyond these uncertainties. He has an anchor that reaches far beyond what is visible, and he knows that no turn of events can separate him from the love of God. He knows that God is sovereign, and that all that occurs is permitted by him. He knows that all things in his own life are working out for his good, because he loves God.
In the Bible, and nowhere else, a man can find an unfailing frame of reference. On every hand the lives of men are being shipwrecked because they have nothing to hold them steady amid the temptations to which they are subjected. This is tragically true within the Church when men accept a low view of the inspiration and authority of the Word.
On the personal level, the Bible is an unending source of comfort and hope. Who has not had his spirit lifted by the affirmations and promises in the Word? Who has not had his soul buoyed up by the sure hope that comes from this source? Whose heart has not found expressed in the Psalms the words of praise and thanksgiving he feels to the God of love who has dealt so wondrously with his erring children? As in no other literature, the heart’s deepest feelings find articulation in the Psalms.
Like a man dying of dehydration when a gushing spring is near at hand, or one starving when a feast is within his reach, so men and women are perishing because they do not make daily use of the Book that is found in almost every household.
With the reading of the Word there comes spiritual enlightenment, growing confidence, and adjusted perspectives. There is no substitute for the Bible. Books about the Bible have an important place; but they are at best the words of men, and too often they are tainted by unbelief.
The Bible is a living book, more relevant than tomorrow morning’s newspaper. It is not, of course, to be worshiped; we worship the Christ it reveals. It is not a fetish but a living revelation from the living God.
I challenge all who read this to test these claims for themselves.
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