I have been asked as a Bible teacher, “What does the Word of God do for you, YOU personally?” Oh my, where do I start. Besides the Bible being a sturdy textbook in my hand. A book that is true. When I read God’s inspired Word, first it confirms. Confirms that I too am a fallible person just as the characters in the Bible are – real broken people peppered throughout the story of God. And when I read about Peter, I can so relate to his ambitious outbursts, his swinging the sword and getting the guys ear. Yup, that would be me. And with all good intention, ask Jesus if we can build forts for the visitors (See Mark 9). Yes, God’s word confirms.
God’s Word also gives me courage. I read King David’s story; I see the longing of his heart. His running at full speed toward his God. And I also see the stupid mistakes. I so appreciate God did not cover up the faults of His heroes. Repeatedly, in each person’s experience, we see too the character of God. His serious response. His care. THIS gives me courage. In the same breath, it encourages me. Taking those experiences, observing, and learning from them, folding them into my own and giving me courage to walk in the same direction.
Confronts. Oh, His Word confronts and thankfully so. If when reading His Word and we feel no discomfort at times, then we are reading it wrong. We are guarded and unyielding. Professor D.A. Carson* insightfully stated, “We read the Bible, not to be a master of it, but to be mastered by it.” THAT is my desire. Do I heed and yield every time? No. Regretfully, painfully, remorsefully, no. But I know the sweet moment of repentance followed by the glorious insertion of God’s forgiveness and grace.
And for me, God’s Word calls. Not like some creepy native drumming sound coming from the corner of the room (Ok, I’ve seen Jumanji too many times). But knowing what God’s word contains – it beckons. It beckons with the fullness of God – His promises, His guidance, His correction, His character wrapped in His love and yes, His comfort. Life can be stressful and assuredly messy and overwhelming, but His Word waits for us to reach for it and when we do, His Spirit uses it to calm us. “They (God’s commandments, words, and instruction) are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold. They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb.” (Psalm 19:10, NLT, emphasis mine).
God’s word confirms, gives courage, confronts, calls and comforts, but most of all – it CAPTIVATES me. I am fascinated with the stories; the triumphs, war cries, the bush a flame, mud in the eyes, violent storms and the unrestrained and abandoned “My Lord and my God!” declaration. (John 20:28). And all those words in red: “It is written… Get up… Take courage it is I… Quiet, be still… Come forth…Who do you say I am… Then neither do I condemn you” and “It is finished.” (Just to highlight a few).
Now, I present the question to YOU. “What does God’s Word do for you?” If your response is a shrug of the shoulder, ask God to grow your passion. Ask Him to show you things unnoticed, to color the stories vibrantly, and challenge you beyond comfort – He will.
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)
*Professor D.A. Carson is retired Professor of the New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.