“Read your Bible.”
If there was one piece of tried and true advice applicable in almost any situation, it can be expressed in those three words:
What should I do if I’m feeling afraid?
Read your Bible.
How do I grow closer to Jesus?
Read your Bible.
How do I know what God wants me to do?
Read your Bible.
Some might scoff at that. Some might say that those three words are an easy answer to complicated problems; that this kind of advice is trite given the complexities of the world in which we live. And if that’s the response to those words, then the question behind that response is also very simple:
“Why is the Bible so important?”
Even if you believe the Bible, you can surely sympathize with the question, can’t you? I mean, we have more sources of information than ever before. You can find the answer to almost any question you have with just a few quick keystrokes. A universe of knowledge is at our disposal – so why is this book such a big deal? Why is it so important? The answer to that question is very long, but to get to a start, consider what the Bible says about itself:
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
In those verses, we find three overarching reasons why the Bible is so important:
1. Because of what it is.
The Bible is God-breathed. It is God’s Word. In its pages we find God’s revelation of Himself, and that’s the main purpose of the Bible. It’s not to tell us what to do or give us a roadmap for life; it’s meant to show us who God is because everything else in life flows from that understanding.
God breathed out this revelation of Himself so that we might know what He is like, and so that we might worship and follow Him rightly. He did not leave us in the dark about who He is or our origin in Him, but instead gave us this word which is perfect. Unalterable. Unchanging. This is the nature of the Bible and this is the first reason why it’s so important.
2. Because of who we are.
The second reason why the Bible is so important is because of who we are. Notice back in 2 Timothy all the things the Bible is used for – “teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” So who does it teach? Who does it rebuke? Who does it correct and train?
Us. And that’s because we need all those things. We have an immense capacity for self-deception, but God’s Word will tell us the truth about ourselves. It will, through God’s Spirit, correct and rebuke and teach us. We need God’s Word to do this because we cannot be trusted to do it for ourselves.
3. Because of what it does.
The final reason the Bible is so important is because of what it does. Yes, it teaches, rebukes, corrects, and trains, but if we keep following the passage we see that it also equips us for every good work. How does the Bible do this?
And how does it do this especially since it does not speak specifically to many of the issues we find in the world today? For example, we don’t find many of the issues surrounding sexual identity explicitly spelled out in Scripture. Neither do we find a particular parenting checklist or a manual about how to have a healthy marriage. And yet what we do find there are the basic principles that apply to all these specific situations. The way the Bible equips us for all we encounter is not by telling us what to think in all those situations; it equips us by teaching us how to think in the midst of all those situations.
The Bible does all these things and more, and yet it does none of these things if it stays on the shelf. So if we believe that the Bible is what it says it is and does what it says it can do, then the only sane thing for us to do is…
Read the Bible.