Jan. 7, 2014
In my first entry in Wisdom from the Word I want to address the title. Down through church history there have been varying levels of adherence to the truth of scripture. Since the Reformation over 500 years ago Protestant churches have generally held to the idea of the scriptures as our source for ‘faith and practice’ and most evangelical statements of faith reflect an adherence to scripture as divinely inspired in the original autographs. What does that mean for our faith and practice? Some say things in the scriptures are either too hard to do or too hard to understand. There is no question that there are difficult sayings and teachings in the scriptures and we need one another to understand and apply them and more importantly we need the Holy Spirit to help us understand them generally and more specifically for our lives.
His word is filled with wisdom to apply to our lives. We can learn about faith, love, obedience, giving, sacrifice and a multitude of other things that we need to live effective lives grounded in the scriptures. We can know and apply them if we spend time in them and sit with them with the Holy Spirit as our teacher. There is a life in the Word but it is only effective when we take it and apply it in our lives. As important as the scriptures are they only have true meaning for those who know the author. People who do not know the Lord can apply scriptural principles and be successful because the scriptures reveal how our Father designed relationships and creation to function.
If we look at the early church they valued the scriptures immensely. They started with the Old Testament as their only bible because they were writing the New Testament. Once it was written it was so valued that even if we did not possess the early manuscripts almost the entire New Testament could be recreated from the writings of the early church fathers because they quoted so extensively from it. Down through the centuries many have died to keep the scriptures available or to make them available. Through their sacrifice, when the printing press and the Reformation took place the light of scripture brought Europe out of the dark ages.
While not many seem to place that value on the scriptures today and many in our culture would like to see them gone, they will never disappear. Jesus said, 18 “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:18 NKJV). Paul told us, “14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:14-17 NKJV)
Given the importance of the scriptures I want to look at the place they have in our lives and how the wisdom in them is designed to guide our lives. In laying this foundation I will also address the role of the Holy Spirit in relation to scripture. After all, while the book of the Lord is important, the scriptures are designed bring us to the place of encountering Jesus and then keeping us in that place through our adherence to them. Next week I will look at how we keep the two in balance and explain the importance of what Jesus said,
29 Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.” (Matthew 22:29 NKJV)