Bible means more than just a book

By Garth George


Like the argument against fluoridation of water supplies (there isn't one), the argument against Bible in Schools (there isn't one) crops up with monotonous regularity.

Both have been in the news lately, with Hamilton's decision to stop fluoridation, then to hold a referendum, and some rationalist crackpot in Auckland demanding an end to any Bible- based instruction in state schools.

I can't for the life of me see why anyone would demand the cessation of programmes that cover reliability and trustworthiness, standing up for truth, self-discipline and self-control, doing one's best, consideration for others, unselfishness, respect and good manners, respect for rules, and understanding and acceptance of cultural differences.

But they do, and no amount of counter-argument on my part will make one iota of difference to those whose fear of Christianity - the principles of which have underpinned Western civilisation for nigh on 2000 years - makes them want to stifle it.

Rather, let me instead share with you what the Bible means to me.

The Bible is not just a book; it is the revealed Word of God.

And because I believe in God and in his son Jesus Christ as my Saviour and Lord, I am able to draw from the pages of the scriptures much of the sustenance necessary for me to grow in my spiritual life.

There are people who insist that the Bible poses almost every shade of ethical dilemma.

Yet I find that for me it does just the opposite.

Over the years I have been reading it, it has solved every one of my ethical (and moral) dilemmas so that today there are none left.

It is only by God's infinite grace that the Bible has survived the incessant mangling by ministers of religion, the rantings of hysterical priests and the corruption of various denominations that call themselves Christian.

Yet I have had the privilege and the joy of reading innumerable books in which some of the greatest Christian preachers and writers of their day - John Wesley, George Whitfield, Henry Drummond, Hannah Whitall Smith, J B Phillips, A W Tozer, CS Lewis, Arthur Gunn, to name but a few - have expounded on the Bible in wondrous prose and have confirmed its truths to me and to millions of others.

It is no surprise to me that the Bible not only survives but remains year by year the world's biggest bestseller, and in spite of the arrival of various modern translations, some of which are, to say the least, pathetically banal.

For it is the textbook of Christendom, given by the divine imprimatur of God to his people in order that they might get to know him better and discover what it means to be one of his people.

For the Christian, it is the manual of life, the supreme handbook that allows people like me to understand what this often enigmatic existence is all about.

If you are an engineer, you are readily able to understand technical drawings and specifications.

If you are a navigator, you understand the disposition and importance of heavenly bodies, the formulas of time, distance and speed.

If you are a mathematician, you easily read and understand the most complex equations.

But to the uninitiated these things are unfathomable. So it is with the Bible. If you are a Christian, in the real sense of that word - one who has come to believe in, trust and (try to) obey God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit - then the Bible is readily understandable.

And, as with the texts written for the engineer, the navigator or the mathematician, the more the Christian studies the Bible, the more it teaches him or her.

To anyone else, and particularly to rationalists and their ilk, its truths remain impenetrable.


- Bay of Plenty Times

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