God Roars – Why?
G’day and welcome to Partake! The Bible, as we discussed in the last podcast, tells of how God has roared, or spoken if you like, to all of humanity. He has done this through the Bible using revelation, inspiration and illumination. In this podcast, we will go onto ask why we should interact with the Bible. But firstly, lets look at some keys to understanding how to read the Bible.
Keys To Understanding the Bible.
Here are six short keys to help you open the doors of the Bible, and allow it to have an impact on your life – to let God roar into your life!
Firstly, pray that the Holy Spirit will help you as you read. That is part of His role in your life as a Christian Disciple and believer. He will use the Bible to enlighten and illuminate your mind, heart and will as you seek to be obedient to Him. As you read the Bible, pray what you read – let it have an immediate impact on your life! The God who wrote it, is listening and is eager to see you transformed into the image of God the Son in the power of God the Holy Spirit!
Secondly, the Bible is inerrant, or without error, and that it is totally trustworthy. It does not contain errors or mistakes in its original form. That is in the original manuscripts and languages. It is not inerrant, however, in so far as the translation from those languages. As Christian Disciples, we maintain the Bible as our final authority over all things. If it was not inerrant, then it could have no authority at all.
Thirdly, no part of the Bible will explicitly contradict another part. It is a balanced and unified message from a God who does not change. God is not a God of confusion, but a God of order. As you read it regularly and consistently, you will be amazed how it holds together.
Fourthly, we are to keep what we are reading in context – not only in its immediate context, but also in context with the rest of the Bible. Take for example Psalm 14:1 where the Bible says “There is no God”. What Psalm 14:1 actually says is that the fool in his heart has said “There is no God”. It is also out of context with the rest of the Bible where God is said to exist, such as Genesis chapter 1. You can make the Bible say whatever you want it to say, by merely taking sections out of context, and thus creating pretexts. Ask yourself questions about the passage: How, who, when, where, why and what?
Fifthly, use a Bible you can read easily. There are many translations available to suit the taste of anybody. You may like to use a Bible reading plan, which will take you through the Bible in a year.
Lastly, expect to be changed when reading the Bible. Read it with an obedient heart, mind and will. The Bible is God’s Written Word because it is active, and God will not cease transforming you into the image of Jesus the Living Word – which is the goal of Christian Discipleship.
So if they are the keys to the doors, what are the doors!
The Bible Equips For Service!
One of the main ways that the Bible helps you, is by equipping you as a Christian for active service! There are at least four ways, in which the Bible does this in your life as a Christian!
Firstly, is that the Bible both equips, and is useful for, evangelism and pointing others to Jesus Christ. When Philip the evangelist was talking to the Ethiopian about the Christ, it was Isaiah 53, which was the point of query.
The bible also equips in order for you to give counsel & instruction to others seeking help. An example of this is seen when Paul urged Timothy to use Scripture when teaching others.
Thirdly, the Bible equips you as a Christian to use your spiritual gifts. A spiritual gift is an ability given by the Holy Spirit, to you the believer, so that the church as a whole is encouraged and God is glorified. Your spiritual maturity derives from building Bible knowledge, which in turn helps you use your spiritual gifts in the best way possible.
Finally, it also equips you for doing battle with Satan and resisting temptation. In writing to the Ephesians, Paul likened the believers’ spiritual armour to that used by Roman foot soldiers. In this anecdote, the Bible is compared to a soldier’s sword. A sword is not only used to defend, but also used to attack. Jesus fended off and attacked Satan by using Scripture to negate the temptation. You can use all these methods in order to live the Christian life, and also to grow into spiritual maturity. This is as you read your Bible regularly, asking the Holy Spirit to illuminate it to you, as you do so.
The Bible Helps Know God More
One of the very key teachings from the Bible is that God can be known personally. People are not naturally born possessing this knowledge, even though they know the very existence of God. Knowing that God exists is not the same as actually knowing God personally. In the same way that I know about the Queen, I don’t know her personally. That is the same state people are in, with regards to God. Personal knowledge of God is ultimately crucial however, since knowing God personally and developing the relationship is what being a Christian is all about. As a Christian believer, you should be rejoicing that God earnestly desires you to attain this knowledge of Him, in order to know Him more and more. For this reason, He has spoken to you through His written Word, the Bible, revealing Himself and disclosing how you may know Him more.
Whilst God can be known, your knowledge of God is partial and you will never know everything there is to be known about Him. Knowledge of Him is both wondrous and without end. As you grow spiritually, knowing the Bible and thus knowing Him more, you will grow in spiritual maturity.
The Apostle Peter commands that you grow in the knowledge of Jesus. You do this as part of your spiritual journey, in order to become more like Jesus Christ. One of the Christian life’s’ greatest delights, is developing an intimate knowledge of God and of developing an intimacy with Him.
The gospel, or the news of Jesus you share with other people, is rightly entitled: “the power of God to salvation“. The Bible, and its gospel whereby people come to know God, are found in that the gospel is the agent of the new birth. The gospel is the soap or cleansing agent whereby God gives the believing sinner a spiritual bath resulting in salvation and the Bible is a teacher that brings wisdom, which leads to salvation.
The Bible Helps Know God’s Will
God has a program for the universe and it is revealed only in the Bible. The overall will of God, is that all people come to believe and trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and their Saviour. After starting the Christian life, you discover God’s program from humbly reading His written word, the Bible.
God’s initial will for those who believe is the changing and conforming of the believer into the likeness of Jesus. But this is only the beginning of God’s work in you! This serves as merely an introduction into the lifelong process of becoming like Jesus. Paul writes “God who began the good work in you, will keep on working in you until the day Jesus Christ comes again”. God will not abandon you, but will keep working in you, transforming you to be like Jesus Christ. Obeying God’s will as revealed in the Bible, helps speed this transforming work along. It is work, because sometimes obedience is difficult and involves cost, yet worthwhile in the light of eternity.
Secondly, as a Christian believer, you should not overlook God’s work in this world. Was it not Jesus’ who commanded all his followers to tell all men about Himself? God uses people to tell this gospel and conviction comes through the work of the Holy Spirit. This includes you, if you allow Him and seize every opportunity!
Finally, believe it or not, God is at work in and through the church – His church. The church is to be a dynamic organism ordained by Jesus to do work for God. As the church reflects biblical truths to the world, God works through His Holy Spirit and through his followers in order to strengthen and bless the church.
God has roared and continues to roar! The Bible, by way of revelation, illumination and inspiration, help transform the reader! By using 6 keys of understanding, there are 3 doors opened up: door to serve God efficiently, know God more and know God’s will! Let God roar to you through the Bible and go have an impact on your community!
For more to think about, please do read in the Bible, Luke 24:25-35; Matthew Chapter 4:1-11; 2 Peter 3:14-18. Philippians 1:3-6. Ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.
1. What do I understand by the word “inerrant” and authority in regards to the Bible?
2. What is my expectation when I read the Bible and in what ways can I use the Bible every day to be cleansed and grow in spiritual maturity?
3. How does the Bible help my relationship with God and allow God to reveal His will and programme?
4. Why should I reflect biblical truths in my life to those who do not know God?