I had been baptized and confirmed. In fact, if you had asked me what the Bible was, I would have said, “It is the word of God.” If you had asked me who Jesus was, I would have told you, “He is the Son of God!”
Furthermore, I knew the names of all 66 books of the Bible, and could quote the 23rd Psalm, John 3:16, and “The Lord’s Prayer.” I thought I was a Christian.
However, I did not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Yes, I knew about Jesus but at that time, I did not personally know Him. Today, I believe that there are many people who find themselves in the same condition I once was.
Nevertheless, the Bible played a vital role in changing my relationship with Jesus. And, I know it still has the power to help others, as well.
You see, God’s Word is a type of extension of Himself. The better we understand His Word the better we will understand the God who made us and what He desires for our life.
An important part of my coming to know Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior began a few months before my 21st birthday. I pulled out my confirmation Bible and began secretly reading the New Testament. I was a troubled young man, looking for answers.
Although I went to church as a kid, I didn’t really know anything about the Bible. Even so, somehow, deep down, I knew it held the answers to what I was looking for.
As I continued to read the Scriptures, I found myself starting to admire Jesus more and more. I called upon Jesus Christ Nov. 28, 1977, believing He could, and possibly would save me from my sin. The Bible promises, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13, NIV).
I still had many questions about the Bible (and now, decades later, I still have a great deal to learn). I talked to a man who had been our family pastor; he was retired and in his early 70s. During the course of our conversation, the Rev. Brice asked me, “What kind of Bible are you reading?” I responded, “A black one.”
To which he explained, “No, I mean what translation are you using?”
I thought further and then answered with all seriousness, “Oh yeah. It’s a holy Bible!”
He never laughed but I’m sure afterwards he must have at least snickered to himself. Rev. Brice then went on to gently explain that it might be helpful for me to read some of the newer translations.
Recently, I was watching a panel of “experts” debate the important issues of our day. One of the issues discussed was the outspoken faith of a certain football player and his use of John 3:16. Tragically, not a single one of these self-perceived “experts” could quote John 3:16, which states, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16, KJV). These “experts” may have known much about the political world but they were extremely ignorant when it came to the Bible.
There was also a lack of Bible understanding during the days of Jesus’ earthly ministry. Indeed, some of His darkest opposition came from religious people who had failed to comprehend the clear teaching of Scripture. On one occasion, Jesus told a group from a religious sect called the Sadducees, “ . . . you are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.” (Matthew 22:29).
Of course, Jesus’ life was predicted by the Scriptures. In fact, He came to fulfill them. He also used the Word of God to ward off the attacks of the devil. In Matthew 4 and Luke 4, we are told how Jesus consistently quoted from the Old Testament by stating “It is written” as a means of cutting through the lies of the enemy.
Indeed, the Bible is still our key for spiritual victory. The writer of the book of Hebrews noted, “The Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword.” (Hebrews 4:12a, NIV).
The Old Testament psalmist told God, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11, NIV).
In the New Testament, Paul told the Christians in Ephesus to take, “ . . . the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” (Ephesians 6:10). Sadly, we do not always rely upon the power of God’s Word to protect us.
How about you? Do you have a grasp of God’s Word? Unfortunately, we are living in a day when Bible ignorance is rampant.
The good news is that today we have God’s Word readily available in a variety of formats. We can listen or read the Bible online, as well as read it in the privacy of our own home. If we truly want to know our Maker, it’s important that we spend time in the manual He has given us the Bible.