Herald Journal Columns
April 25, 2005, Herald Journal
Pastor's Column

The Bible breathes life as no other book does

By Rev. Michael Nirva, St. James Lutheran Church, Howard Lake

The Word of the Lord: Romans 15:4 “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures, we might have hope.”

Books are written on many subjects. Some are of value, and other books are not valuable.

The pattern of books comes and goes. Great publishing houses are always seeking new authors, stimulating new interests, and are competing for every manuscript of promise. There appears to be no end to the making of books.

There is one book, however, which is quite old and yet, new and modern. Even though its writers are long dead, its author still lives.

This book breathes life as no other book does. No royalties are paid on the sale of this book, and yet, by receiving its message, people are enriched more than any other book. Portions of it have been translated into numerous languages throughout the world.

This book is the Bible, “written to teach us.”

There are two things the Bible never takes into consideration. These two things mean nothing to it.

First, the Bible is not written for only a segment of this world. It is not a book for only one country or one geographic area. It leaps across the barriers of nations and disregards the ethnic divisions of people. The Bible is at home in every land and language.

Secondly, the Bible never becomes obsolete. Written several thousand years ago, it is still as relevant today as it was when its words were first recorded. It is meant for all lands, all languages, and all times. The Bible belongs to the ages.

The Bible is great literature, both in the original and in translations. Consider the mingled simplicity and human poignancy of stories like Joseph and his brothers, or Ruth. Note the heroic element in Queen Esther, or the prophet Elijah. Consider the beauty of Psalm 23, and the masterful presentation of Christian love in 1 Corinthians 13. As a masterpiece of literature, the Bible is a priceless treasure.

The Bible is, of course, supremely the book of religion, not just any religion, but the one true religion. The Bible makes it plain that there is among people, a realization of their need to placate God, even though people, by nature, seek righteousness at the wrong sources and in a futile manner.

But the Bible does more than indicate that people are naturally religious. It shows where righteousness can truly be found, namely in God, who sent His Son as the savior for the human race.

The Bible speaks of this one true religion not merely in theoretical terms, but also in very practical terms, as is evident in the lives of the men, women, and children who walk across its pages. The Bible shows that all righteousness that avails before God comes by and through Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, who assumed the human nature to become the world’s savior from sin.

Everyone who believes in what Jesus Christ has done will be saved. God gave us the Bible to teach us the way of salvation through faith alone in Jesus Christ and to train us in holy living.

The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy: “From infancy, you have known the holy scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (II Timothy 3:15-17).

Accordingly, the Bible “is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105).

Children of God receive the Bible as the Word of God. With Peter they say: “We have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your heart” (II Peter 1:19).

I pray that the Holy Spirit would make us diligent and appreciative Bible readers.

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