What a wondrous thought! God has a special group of people He calls His own (1 Pet. 2:5-9; Titus 2:11-14), and He has given us divine communication for knowing how to become His people. All are invited, but only those who respond to the gospel in loving obedience of faith make up Christ’s church (Rom. 6:16-18; 1 Pet. 1:22). Being in Christ is essential if sinners are to be right with God. It’s pretty common to engage in church bashing these days. However, we better be careful about how we speak of the bride of Christ. There’s a lot right with the church because the church is people made right with God through the blood of Jesus (Acts 20:28). The church is precious to Jesus and ought to be to us too.
We must ever keep the following truth in mind – Low views of Scripture do not lend themselves to high views of God, salvation or the church. The Bible is a book by God and about God and the relationship He wants to have with us. In a very real sense, we are what we eat! (Matt. 4:4; Col. 3:16). “Speaking as the Bible Speaks” is more than a slogan for churches of Christ. It is intended to be a way of life (1 Peter 4:10-11). The title of this article brings to mind three truths that have characterized the Christians through the centuries.
A Proper Attitude – Respect
To respect carries with it the idea of highly esteeming, revering, honoring and looking up to someone or something because-because of their qualities, abilities and achievements. One’s attitude toward Scripture makes all the difference! If the Bible is indeed “from heaven” (Matt. 21:23-27), then no other book and no other message demands the esteem, reverence, study, regard and honor Scripture does (2 Tim. 2:15; 3:16-17). God’s word was not written just for our information, but for our salvation and transformation. I would suspect that among Christians today the problem generally is not too much respect for Scripture, but too little! Our emphasis and example in approaching and utilizing God’s word must be so real that it becomes contagious.
A Proper Standard – The Word of God
In a world that has become increasingly rudderless, the word of God provides just the message needed to deal with sin, to navigate the difficulties of life and to get home to God. Consider just a few implications from the expression, “the word of God.” Observe first that the Bible is divine in origin (1 Thess. 2:13; 2 Pet. 1:21). We are dealing with communication from our Creator, Sustainer, and King. Second, note that Scripture is true. This is so because of its source – God cannot lie (Titus 1:2; Heb. 6:18-20). Third, it is important to understand Scripture is authoritative. It is to be properly observed, interpreted, meditated upon and applied (cf. Matt. 7:24-27). It isn’t just a standard; it’s the standard. We will be judged by the word of God on the last day (John 12:48). Finally, the word of God is perpetually relevant and alive. It never grows old or dull. God has given His word through Jesus, and it never becomes antiquated; it never will just be a relic of a bygone age (Matt. 24:35). God’s word is powerful and can accomplish all He designed it to do (Rom. 1:16-17). There is the air of finality in what God has said through Jesus – He has nothing more or better to say (Heb. 1:1-3). Those who preach and teach should always be joyfully aware that, at best, “we simply serve up what God has cooked up.”
A Proper Reason and Motivation – It Is Right
It is right for churches of Christ to have a deep respect for the word of God because when Scripture is properly read, taught or preached, God has spoken. It is right for churches of Christ to have great reverence for the word of God because the faithful of all the ages have – from Abraham to Moses to David to Jesus to Peter to John and Paul. It is right to highly regard and esteem the Bible because we cannot plead with people to be the people of God today without bold, loving proclamation of the message of God. Church leaders, gospel preachers, and teachers – one of the most beautiful things about churches of Christ is the sincere desire to be people of the book. Fearing nothing but the awfulness of sin, and desiring nothing but the glory of God, let’s fill our pulpits, Bible classes, homes and world with the soul saving message of God!