From Noah to Shem, from Abraham to Moses, from Deborah to David, from Isaiah to Daniel, from Peter to Paul, from Jerome to Augustine, from Jan Huss to Luther, from David Brainerd to D.L. Moody, strength for the people of God has come through the voice of God, God’s revelation. For us that’s the Bible, the final revelation of God’s redeeming work in Christ.
His Word tells us who God is and through the gospel, that He’s for us. Depicts the breadth of His power and how He’s limited that of others’. Describes the future He’s crafted for those He loves. Prepares us not just for the good, but the bad we can expect in this life. In the Bible God recruits us to be ambassadors of the gospel to the tragically disgraced race that’s our own. We read and reread in brutish and glorious terms about God’s rescue operation. Oh yes, and if we pay attention, in the process we learn the freeing truth that the world revolves around Him–not us.
Having a Bible isn’t enough. Some Bible owners remain weak and broken as theirs stays closed. Transporting one is also pointless; it’s not a lucky charm so taking it to church makes no magic if it remains closed. Strength doesn’t come from reading it like a textbook you expect to get quizzed on. Not even by diligently reading a few verses each day so you can cross it off a to-do list. It comes from the unshakable conviction that “This is the very voice of God and that apart from hearing from Him, I have no life. Without a steady diet of this, soon life-giving truths will be forgotten or drowned out by a global din which dismisses them. Without the Bible, over time I will become content with a Sunday religiosity that will be more than happy to replace my once-thriving faith in the work of Christ.”
But giving God the chance to speak through the open Bible on our laps, hearing Him through an iPod or laptop, creates all kinds of tantalizing possibilities: the prospect of a gospel-saturated faith, of saying “yes” to something you’d rather say “no” to, the unlikelihood that sin is going to have the upper hand, and the ability to be who God made you to be. Letting God out of His cage every day to roar puts the kind of muscle on our faith that the same effort at the gym does for our bodies. But matters infinitely more.
…for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come (1 Tim.4:8).