Inspired By God
Bible Reading: 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21
PREFACE TO JUNE’S DEVOTIONALS
Greetings and welcome to a new month and a new focus in our devotionals. Our theme this month is devotion to the Word. Though we know of the Bible’s power to save and transform lives, it is possible for any of us to struggle in our devotion to it. Our plan this month is to focus on Scriptures about Scripture, the intent being that we might be encouraged unto a greater appreciation of the treasure we possess. I’ve picked out a memory verse for the month, Psalm 119:18. You likely already know it, but if not here it is: “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your Law.” Include that simple prayer in your prayers each day as we focus this month on devotion to the Word.
Thanks for reading!
This headline from an April 2022 Christianity Today article caught my attention: “Report: 26 Million Americans Stopped Reading the Bible Regularly During COVID-19; Sharp decline may be connected to drop in church attendance.” That’s a staggering number! The researchers from the American Bible Society found the results hard to believe, so they double checked the numbers again and again. The lead researcher wrote in the report: “What we discovered was startling, disheartening, and disruptive,” noting it to be the steepest, sharpest decline on record.
By way of contrast, my mind goes back to one of our trips to Uganda. A ministry of Hope and Mercy Mission was to purchase and distribute Lugandan Bibles to the pastors and churches we were working with. Thousands of Bibles have been distributed throughout the region. On more than one occasion I witnessed recipients of a Bible crying with tears of joy. One occasion especially sticks out in my memory. We were in a church for a conference. Knowing we had Bibles to give out, an elderly lady stood and showed us her Bible that was literally falling apart from overuse. She was overjoyed in receiving a new Bible and asked if she could come up and give us all hugs. She and every other person in attendance then proceeded to come forward to hug every member of our team!
In this part of the world–in this time of radical change, polarization, and growing uncertainty, when one might expect a turning towards God for answers and hope–Americans are instead abandoning their Bibles in unprecedented numbers. The average American household owns more than four Bibles, but they will be of no value to those who do not value them. All this begs the question, where is your heart when it comes to your Bible?
Today’s two passages remind us that the Bible is no ordinary book, it is the inspired Word of God. The ESV says it this way, “All Scripture is breathed out by God.” What this means is that the Spirit of God superintended the human writers in the writing of Scripture so that what they wrote was precisely what God wanted. It is not that the human writers were themselves inspired, but what they wrote under the Spirit’s guidance was. Theology speaks of the verbal and plenary inspiration of the Word. Inspiration extends to the words (verbal), not just the concepts or ideas, and to all of Scripture (plenary).
The Bible itself testifies to its divine origin, but there is other evidence, both internal and external. The Lord Jesus often quoted Scripture understanding it to be inspired by God. If you believe in Jesus, then it logically follows that you believe the Bible to be the inspired Word. A countless number of fulfilled prophecies (some made hundreds of years before their fulfillment) testify to the Bible’s divine origin. Time after time archeological discoveries have confirmed the historical narrative of the Bible. The inspiration of the Word is likewise affirmed by its ability to save and transform lives.
Testifying to the divine origin of Scripture is its unified theme despite the diversity of its human authorship. Consider its writers: two were Kings; two were priests; one was a physician; two were fishermen; two were shepherds; Paul was a Pharisee and a theologian; Daniel was a statesman; Matthew was a tax-collector; Joshua was a soldier; Ezra was a scribe; Nehemiah was a butler, etc. Forty or more writers, wrote over a period of 1600 years, from a variety of places and each in their unique circumstances. Yet, you’ll find no contradiction between them, and more than that you’ll see their writings all coalesce around a central theme—the person and work of Jesus Christ! Miraculous! Beautiful! Inspired!
It is God’s inspired Word! It’s God word to you! The God of all creation has privileged you to possess it. You’ve the freedom to pick it up at will and read it as much as you want. It’s no ordinary book, its powerful to save and transform! You have in the Bible a precious treasure indeed!
HOLY BIBLE, BOOK DIVINE
Precious treasure, thou art mine;
Mine to tell me whence I came,
Mine to teach me what I am:
Mine to chide me when I rove;
Mine to show a Savior’s love;
Mine thou art to guide and guard;
Mine to punish or reward;
Mine to comfort in distress,
Suffering in this wilderness;
Mine to show by living faith,
Man can triumph over death;
Mine to tell of joys to come,
And the rebel sinner’s doom;
O thou holy book divine,
Precious treasure, thou art mine.