The editor of a well-known London newspaper once sent a letter of inquiry to one hundred important men—peers, members of Parliament, university professors, authors, merchants—a varied list. He asked: “Suppose you were sent to prison for three years and could take only three books with you, which three would you choose? Please state them in order of their importance.”
Out of the replies, ninety-eight put the Bible first on their list! Few of these men were keen about religion, many were not even churchgoers, others were agnostics or atheists. Yet they knew that no other could give them cheer and comfort and help in dark and difficult days (Robert G. Lee, The Bible and Prayer [Nashville: Broadman, 1950], 8-9).
In an article in the June 1955 Coronet, entertainer Eddie Cantor said: “It is not surprising that almost every all-time best seller list includes the Bible. As its readers know, and as I discovered so many years ago, the Bible is not just a book of the month—it is the book of life, eternal, unchanging, ever-dependable.”
The Bible is our authority for faith. We know that our faith is true because we know the Bible is true. Listen to Bernard Ramm: “The Bible is not the authority for the Christian because it was written by religious geniuses. Nor is it the Christian’s authority because it has been pragmatically verified through the centuries, nor because it inspires great religious experience. The Bible is binding upon the Christian because it is part of the organism of divine revelation. It is a divine revelation in written form in various literary genres. . . The Bible is authoritative because it is the Word of God and for no other reason” (The Pattern of Re1igious Authority [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 19571, 38).
Righteous art thou, O LORD, and upright are thy judgments. Thy testimonies that thou hast commanded are righteous and very faithful. My zeal hath consumed me, because mine enemies have forgotten thy words. Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it. I am small and despised: yet do not I forget thy precepts. Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth. Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me: yet thy commandments are my delights. The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting: give me understanding, and I shall live. (Psalm 119:137-144)
The longest chapter in the Bible is Psalm 119. It speaks exclusively about the written Word of God. It consists of 176 verses, and each verse, with one or two exceptions, has something to say about God’s Word. Psalm 119 is an acrostic. Each of the first eight verses begins with aleph, the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Each of the second group of eight verses begins with beth, the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and so on through all the Hebrew letters, making twenty-two sections in all, each containing eight verses.
Throughout this great psalm the psalmist expresses his love for the Scriptures. “I will delight myself in thy statutes; I will not forget thy word” (v. 16). “Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counsellors” (v. 24). “And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved” (v. 47). “The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver” (v. 72). “O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day” (v. 97). “How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth” (v. 103). “Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever; for they are the rejoicing of my heart” (v. 111). “Thou puttest away all the wicked of the earth like dross; therefore I love thy testimonies” (v. 119). “Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold” (v. 127). “Thy word is very pure; therefore thy servant loveth it” (v. 140). “Consider how I love thy precepts: quicken me, O Lord, according to thy loving- kindness” (v. 159). “I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil” (v. 162).
The psalmist loved God’s Word. As we love Christ, we will love the Word of God; and conversely, as we love God’s Word we will love Christ. Why did the psalmist love God’s Word? Why do you love God’s Word? Why do I love God’s Word?
I love God’s Word because it convicts sinners
(Psalm 119:11, 59, 67, 71; 2 Tim. 3:16; Heb. 4:12)
Did you ever hear a former drunkard say, “I was converted from reading secular literature”? Did you ever hear a past criminal say, “I was changed by reading secular literature”? No, and you won’t.
Did you ever hear anyone say he or she was changed, converted by reading, studying, and hearing God’s Word? Yes, many have testified to this fact. Dr. C. I. Scofield said, “The Bible led me to Jesus, and Jesus transformed my life.”
God’s book, the Bible, points out our sins, brings convictions over our sins, teaches us to confess them through repentance, and helps us accept Jesus Christ by personal faith in Him.
I love God’s Word because it guides people in their faith.
(Psalm 119:33-35, 104-105, 130)
God’s Word is the sole and sufficient sourcebook for faith and practice. Tradition, priestly orders, or the church hierarchy are not sources of truth about God. The Bible is the sourcebook for truth about Christ, salvation, and eternal life. Traditions of men that are not in the Bible should not be taught and preached as Christian truth. It’s only when God’s Word is read and followed, people will grow strong and great in their faith. People should read and study God’s Word to be wise and follow it to be true to Christ.
“No; I say, destroy the Bible, and still everything remains the same—except that you have lost your guide. If a party of voyagers who are passing through a dangerous channel were to say, “Away with the chart! it is such a worry to be always looking at it; and it expects one to be so very careful, too; away with it; it’s a nuisance!” you might easily get rid of your chart, but the rocks and shoals and sunken reefs and all the perils of the channel would remain there lust the same. Suppose a community were to say, “Banish your doctors. Let’s have no medical books here, no treatises on disease. ‘Throw physic to the dogs. We’ll none of it!’” They could do that, of course, if they liked. But the laws and conditions of health and disease, of life and death, would remain precisely where they were before. And it is conceivable that men might get rid of the Bible. Practically, many do get rid of the Bible; but what do they gain? Only the loss of a guide. The facts of the universe, the facts about man and about God, the facts about the mutual relation of the one to the other, remain precisely the same.” (G. Calthrop, M. A.), Biblical Illustrator
The Bible is the authority for faith because of its importance.
In 2 Timothy 3:16, the Bible says, “All Scripture is profitable…” This ought to mean something to this materialistic culture of ours. The Word of God has profit for us; it is useful; it is important to our lives.
Doctrine. The Bible must be the source of our doctrine. All doctrine or teaching to which we subscribe must be tested against God’s Word. What we believe should dictate how we live. We cannot expect to find all the answers clearly outlined for us. If the explicit answer for every social question of every age were contained in the Bible, it would soon be outdated. However, the Bible has all the principles to guide us – no matter what century it is. The particular problems might change; the principles of God do not.
Conviction. “Reproof’ here does not mean faultfinding so much as it means conviction. The Bible convicts us of our sins.
Correction. We must allow the Bible to correct our misunderstanding and bring us into an obedience to God’s laws. The Scriptures should be sought to help us with all theories, theology, and ethical teachings.
Instruction in Righteousness. In other words, the Bible can give us “training in good living.” There is no other place to learn the meaning of righteousness than from Him who is righteous—Jesus Christ.
I love God’s Word because it comforts the Christian.
(Psalm 119: 114, 116, 117, 145-149)
God’s saints need comfort. The comfort Christians need is not the flabby, sentimental kind, but the practical, down-to-earth comfort that is found in God’s Word. The comfort found in God’s Word is solid. It will support us in life, in suffering, and in death.
We find this type of sound comfort in the Old Testament passages such as Psalm 23 or Isaiah 40. The psalmist wrote about the job of shepherd from a point of understanding. David was a great shepherd, but he found solace in time of need with God being his Shepherd. The Word of God can reveal to us the caring, calming hands of the Good Shepherd.
We find this comfort in the New Testament also. We find that Paul in the lonely depths of the maritime prison could pen the words, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” because he knew this fact from experience in his own life. Yes, even in the darkest of days, the Word of God can be a comfort.
I love God’s Word because it promises victory for God’s people.
Thousands of words bombard our ears and eyes each day, but it is the Word of God that keeps us on our feet and assures victory. God’s Word assures us victory over sins (1 John 1:7, 9). Do you desire victory over that nagging sin that brings the burden of guilt? Go to the precious pages of Scripture and experience the release of guilt as you find a Savior who can free you from the bondage of sin.
A pastor used to carry a small card in his pocket each day containing a verse of Scripture. On one occasion he was almost overwhelmed with the burden of his responsibilities. Physical, mental, and spiritual fatigue threatened his sense of control and direction. While waiting at a stoplight on his way to visit a person desperately ill in the hospital, he pulled the card out of his pocket. To his amazement he found these words on the card: “This is the day the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Ps. 118:24). Immediately he felt the burden lifted. He said, “The world became full of truth, goodness, and beauty. My heart became luminous and lyrical, and I faced that day and life in the spirit of a conqueror.”
I love God’s Word, the Bible!
I Believe the Bible
I believe the Bible, it taught me how to pray,
Jesus heard and answered, took my sins away;
Gave me peace and pardon, wrote my name above,
Glory hallelujah! for His wondrous love.
I believe the Bible, of holiness it speaks,
Gracious gift of Jesus to the one who seeks;
Tells of keeping power, ’neath the cleansing flood,
Glory hallelujah! for the precious blood.
I believe the Bible, it teaches me to run
In this royal highway till the prize is won;
Shows the crown awaiting, if I win the race,
Glory hallelujah! for His saving grace.
I believe the Bible, O it is divine!
Heaven’s golden sunlight in its pages shine;
Lights my way to glory, and I’m surely going thro’;
I believe the Bible, for ’tis ever true.
—Edwin S. Ufford & Wenford G. Schurman