I heard a Hollywood actor speak today about the “antiquated” words of the Bible. He said they were irrelevant to our modern society. He was simply reflecting the views of most of western society in his statements.
Recently, I was watching some film footage of Billy Graham, arguably the most influential evangelist of the past century. What I didn’t know was that early in his calling he suffered a crisis of faith.
Some people he was working with began questioning the validity of the Bible and whether it was "enough." Basically they were saying the same thing as this Hollywood actor, that the Bible is insufficient and we need something more.
Mr. Graham considered this for some time and although he struggled, he eventually laid down the Bible and prayed to the Lord saying that even though he didn’t understand all that was written, he believed wholeheartedly that these words are the inspired and divine words of God and he would accept the Bible as his sole authority.
The divine word of God
There are many today who reject the words of the Bible saying it is antiquated, outdated, old-fashioned or irrelevant.
But is it? Does it really have a place in this modern world or should we look elsewhere for spiritual and moral guidance?
Here is what the Bible says about itself.
“All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy chapter 3, verse 16)
The Bible was not inspired by the thoughts of men but by direct inspiration from God. They are not the words of men, but the words of God Himself.
Power in the word
There is power and authority in the words of God, and again we see what the scripture has to say about this power.
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews chapter 4, verse 12)
The Bible does not contain dead and lifeless words that are no longer relevant. It is living and active. It is alive today and relevant to all aspects of our lives.
But how powerful is it?
Jesus recognised the power of the words of God when He was tempted by the devil for forty days. Consider how He responded to all of the temptations that the devil threw at Him.
“But he answered, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'” (Matthew chapter 4, verse 4)
In all of his temptations, Jesus overcame them by referencing the scripture. “It is written…” were the key words He used to overcome satanic attack. And as we also see here, we are to live by “…every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”
Jesus understood the power and authority of the word of God contained in scripture and He used it to give us an example.
Listen to the Word
In John chapter 1 we are told that Jesus is the Word. When He sat beside God in heaven before coming to earth, He was known as “The Word.”
The Father tells us that we ought to listen to Jesus. We ought to follow His words and learn from Him.
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” (Matthew chapter 17, verse 5)
The Father didn’t speak often, but when He did, we ought to listen to what He had to say. And in this case He instructs us to listen to His Son, Jesus.
How do we listen to the words of Jesus today? By studying His divinely inspired words in the Bible.
Relevance of the scripture today
So are the words of the Bible irrelevant today as so many claim?
No, they are not. They are as important today as ever. They are as relevant today as they were when they were written.
Despite severe opposition over centuries against the words and the people of God that continues down to our time, the word has not gone away. It has not been defeated but in fact has grown stronger. And it will never disappear because it cannot be defeated, as the Bible tells us.
"All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord abides for ever." That word is the good news which was preached to you. (1 Peter chapter 1, verses 24-25)
As Billy Graham learned and confessed the divine nature of the scripture and the consequent impact it had on his life, so too let us recognise the scripture for what it is and learn from it. It is the divinely inspired word of God given to us to learn His will and to receive His salvation.
Since retiring from work, John Lemmon now spends his time teaching, preaching and writing about the word of God, online and offline, answering God's call on him to “Speak to my people.” You can connect with John on Twitter (@JohnBLemmon) or on his website: freegiftfromgod.com/ or listen to his podcast on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/the-free-gift-from-god-podcast/id1440682375