10 April 2019

A reflection following Peter Adam’s visit.

Why do we need the Bible? And why should we still read such an old book? How should we answer those who would ask this kind of question?

To say that the Bible itself tells us we should read it can be seen as a circular argument.

But if we claim to be followers of Jesus then we must follow him! There are those who would claim to be his followers yet who would disregard the Bible as being out of date. But following Jesus means following his example and his teaching. And Jesus’ attitude to the word of God is very clear.

When Jesus is tempted by the devil in the wilderness, He answers with, ‘It is written…’ – his life is shaped by what God’s word says (Matt 4:4). God’s word is his daily bread – not a luxury, but what is needed for him to survive.

Is it God’s word that truly sustains us?

Jesus speaks of his own words as needing to bear fruit in people’s lives. He warns against the danger of being ashamed of his words. He presents his words and his teaching as truth. Those who do not accept it do not accept the truth. And he points to the words of his apostles as being truth. He himself accepts the words in the Scriptures as truth. And he wants those who follow him to trust his words and the words of the apostles.

For us, maybe none of this is a surprise. As a church we value our Bible heritage and our firm Biblical foundation. We may see ourselves as ‘people of the book’.

But are we too complacent? Do we really read our Bibles or just talk about reading them? Are we at risk of our vision of Christ being shaped more by our imaginations and fears and our own desires than by what is revealed about him in the Scriptures?

Are we meditating on Scripture? Reading and reflecting and pondering on it? We can know all about the Bible and not be transformed by it. We see that in the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, and we see it in our own day. Knowing about God is not the same as knowing God.

In an age of quick information and instant answers, with a vast wealth of information available in our pockets and handbags, are we taking the time to meditate and learn deeply from God’s word? To reflect on it and ponder it? To consider our own lives and our ministry in light of it?

The Bible is not just true, it is THE truth. It is the truth that changes everything, and changes us. Is it shaping me? Is it shaping you? Is it shaping our ministry? When did we last change something in our lives because of what we read in the Bible? Or are we more likely to change the way we read the Bible because of what is going on in our lives?

God’s desire is to transform us into Christ’s likeness by the work of his Spirit, through his word. Are we praying that he will do that, and so infiltrated by his word that we can be transformed by it?

Your sister in Christ,

Stacey Chapman
Assistant Minister