2006-03-28 - Relevance
Here's a question I want each of us to answer.
If I were writing a book to cover the Christian faith, what kind of book would it be?
Stop right here - just carefully think about your answer. Write it down.
For me it would probably be a book of inspirational articles and snippets. Many of you may have guessed that for me since, after all, writing devotions is what I do - or at least try to do with God's guidance and help. However, I think that wouldn't really cover the whole faith. To really nail it down, I think I would try to come up with some kind of book full of lists - to-do lists, how-to lists, and of course, the ever-popular don't-do lists.
Perhaps you'd write a book like the ones I described. Others with linguistic talents may say that they would pen a collection of poems describing the wonder of God and the incredible feelings we can experience in living life with Him. Perhaps you can think of other ideas than these but, when God sat down and decided the kind of book he'd inspire men to write, it was largely a book of stories. Ain't it amazing that he doesn't give us just a list of commands. Isn't it incredible that he supplies more than feel-good, self-help articles. Instead, he decided to instruct us in the faith through story examples. Some tales come out of the lives of real people like the tales of Abraham, Moses, and Jesus himself. Other stories are fictional like the parables. Still other narratives are disputed somewhere in between like the rich man and Lazarus. Nevertheless, whether these accounts are fact or fiction they all have one thing in common - relevance. Through the centuries, man has been able to see themselves in the stories and find relevant application for their own lives. I read an article the other day about preaching on modern subjects with ancient texts. It shared an example of a preacher discussing the rights of due process and justice to be afforded to people charged with crimes that were never even considered in biblical times. The preacher extrapolated principles from biblical stories dealing with people accused of idolatry, which was a crime in that age.
I was reminded of that also as I read myself into a portion of Samuel's story this past week. What about you? Do you find yourself in the pages of the Bible? That is why it's here. It is not a coffee table book or a status symbol. It is a guide to life.
Romans 15:4 - For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
The first phrase of verse 16 is rendered as eight words in English but was only three in Greek: pas graphe theopneustos. Pas graphe is "all scripture" but that next word is the truly incredible one. Theopneustos comes from theo meaning God and pneo meaning breathe or blow. All scripture is God-breathed. Two other times God breathing is recorded stand out in my mind: God breathed life into Adam in Genesis 2:7 and Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit, eternal life's seal, into the disciples in John 20:22. That very same breath of life from God comes to us through that book.
Pick it up. Read it each day. God put it all there, every single story, poem and doctrinal point, to equip you to live the good life he has planned for you. If you have to choose between reading this devotional and reading the word of God, unsubscribe now and never look back. Devotionals only are bible application aids not replacements. Live your life within its pages. Apply its tales to your own autobiography.
All scripture references from KJV unless otherwise noted