7The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. 8The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. 9The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous. 10They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. 11By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. 12Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults. 13Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression. 14May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
2 Timothy 3:10-17
10You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11persecutions, sufferings - what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. 12In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
If you have ever read all 176 verses of Psalm 119, you will know that the word, the law, the statutes or the precepts of the Lord are mentioned in every single verse. The second half of Psalm 19 has been called Psalm 119 in miniature, as there are many parallels found in these two psalms.
In verses 7, 8 and 9, we have six statements about Scripture. “The law of the LORD is perfect. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy. The precepts of the LORD are right. The commands of the LORD are radiant. The fear of the LORD is pure. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous.”
Six different, yet parallel statements, and each of them says, “Of the LORD, of the LORD, of the LORD.” Six times, and in our English translations, the upper-case LORD – the name of Yahweh, God the Creator is used.
This is because Scripture comes from God. It is the Word of God. As Paul says in 2 Timothy 3, “All Scripture is God-breathed.” The LORD is the source so unmistakably that it’s repeated six times, so you can’t miss it. This is what we believe about the Bible. It is not a human book, it is a divine book, given by God to human writers, but God Himself is the author of Scripture.
We are a privileged people in our culture, as we have free access to the Bible, the Word of God. He has given us His Word. The Bible is a gift from God, and He speaks to us and our brothers and sisters in Christ through the pages of the Bible.
People in the world today often ask questions about the Bible. Among the most common are, is the Bible reliable? Is it relevant today? Is it really the Word of God?
The answers to all of these questions, is of course, a resounding yes.
The Bible is reliable, it is true, it is relevant to us today, and as you read it, you are reading the very words of God. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
In his commentary on this verse, Vernon McGee writes, “The writers of Scripture were not just pens that the Lord picked up and wrote with. The marvel is that God used these men’s personalities, expressed things in their own thought patterns, yet got through exactly what He wanted to say. Through these men God has given us His Word. He has nothing more to say to us today. If He spoke out of heaven today, He wouldn’t add anything to what He has already said.”
You would think that having this treasure at our fingertips would spur us on to spend as much time as we can reading the Bible, but for the vast majority of Christians, the exact opposite is true. We need to do more with our Bibles than leave them to gather dust on a shelf somewhere at home. We need to read it, study it, and believe it.
When we read the Bible, we need to listen to God’s word, as we allow His Truth to penetrate our hearts and minds and allow Him to change and transform us.
There is so much we can learn from the Word of God, but it certainly needs to be more than about just learning head knowledge.
As disciples of Jesus Christ, the principles and precepts of God revealed in the Bible need to be learned, applied and obeyed in our daily lives.
There needs to be an obedience to the word and commands of God. Last week we considered how we can bring glory to God and enjoy Him forever. One of the keys to living this life is by being obedient to Him. And if we’re going to obey Him, we need to know what He is saying to us.
The world tells us to make up our own minds when it comes to deciding what is right or wrong. Truth has become something which is relative, rather than absolute, but if you think about it, the term “relative truth” is an oxymoron. Something is either absolutely true, or it is an absolute lie. There are no other options.
Not understanding this basic, yet vital principle has caused much confusion in the Church. Our opinions may be contrary to what God has said – but God is the one who is perfect. We are imperfect and just because we don’t agree with God on something, does not make us right and God wrong.
Changing God’s Truth by shaping His Word to suit our own agendas is wrong. The last chapter of Revelation couldn’t be any clearer: “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.” (Revelation 22:18-19)
If we really want to be guided by God, we must be obedient to His word and calling on our lives.
James 1:22-25 says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it - he will be blessed in what he does.”
Through the pages of Scripture, God teaches us, guides us and admonishes us. He requires us to listen, learn, live by faith and in love to serve Him and each other.
When we ignore God’s Word, we are not being obedient to His guidance and direction for us.
We know the lesson Jesus teaches us in Luke 6 very well. Most of us first heard it as children, and we all learned the cute little song that goes along with it, but we must not ignore the severe warning in Jesus’ words. In fact, what He says should send shivers down our spines: “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed, and its destruction was complete.” (Luke 6:46-49)
If we ignore the Word of God, we are just building sand castles that are swept away by the incoming tide. We will have nothing to build our lives and values upon, and the consequences of that are eternal.
The Word of God, Scriptural Truth, on the other hand, is the solid foundation for our lives, and will help us stand firm in faith.
As I mentioned in the bulletin this morning, Biblical illiteracy in the Church is a huge problem today, as so many Christians are basing their lives of faith on what they hear from pulpits, what they read in self-help motivational books thinly disguised as Christian literature and from warm, fuzzy memes on Facebook.
Of course, one would hope that what is proclaimed from pulpits every Sunday is the undiluted truth of God, and there are some excellent, sound, Biblical Christian authors out there. Even the pretty pictures shared on Facebook can be Biblically sound, but all of these things must be tested. And they need to be tested against God’s truth, revealed in the Bible.
Do you know the Bible well enough to find the guidance you need in life and to test something you hear or read? Having a vague idea of what the Bible might say, is not the same as knowing the Word of God for yourself.
A classic, often quoted example is “God helps those who help themselves.” There is nothing of the sort found in the pages of the Bible, but we’ve heard that heresy so often, that many Christians automatically assume that it is Biblical, when it most certainly is not.
We need to know the Word because it is God’s Word given as a to gift to us. It teaches us how to live. It guides us on our way through life. It reveals God’s will and purpose for us.
And so we need to read it for ourselves, rather than rely on others telling us what it says.
Many Christians say they don’t read the Bible because they’re too busy, or they just don’t like reading. Others say it is boring or hard to understand. The only people who say the Bible is boring are people who haven’t read it enough to understand it.
There are some amazing stories which have come out of parts of the world where the Bible was banned, and the sheer joy and enthusiasm of people who are finally given a Bible in their own language should shame us.
I have even heard of some who call themselves Christians who simply refuse to read the Bible. Their reason is that they know that if they read the Bible they may have to change the way they live. They know that there are things in their life that God says in the Bible are wrong.
They value their choices, their opinions and their lifestyles above the truth which God has revealed in the Bible and they don’t want to change.
The essence of Christianity though, is living a changed life. We are works in progress as the Spirit moves us from what we were, into Christlikeness.
Psalm 119:105 says, “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” There are two images used here to describe God’s Word: A light and a lamp.
In case you haven’t noticed, we are living in an ever-darkening world, a world in which the light of God does two things: It shows us the way, and it exposes the darkness.
I mentioned Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus in John 3 a couple of weeks ago, and He uses the same analogy of light and darkness here. “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” (John 3:19-21)
The Word of God guides us to walk the right path, the path of Truth, as it helps us not to stumble, or shuffle along in the darkness of sin. Rather, His Word is given to illuminate the way we should travel.
Too many people choose to stumble around in the darkness rather than let the Light of God’s Word lead their way.
We can all neglect reading God’s Word as often as we should, as other things crowd into our lives. And before we realise it, we find spending time in the Word slips further and further down our list of priorities, but the old saying is true: If something is important and precious enough to us, we’ll make the time.
We need to re-evaluate our priorities on a regular basis. How much time are we actually devoting to God on a daily basis?
Are we thinking about and meditating upon His Word, as we consider how it applies to our daily lives?
When everyday problems – large and small – and things happen which catch us unawares, are we seeking counsel and guidance from the Word of God?
We need to cultivate a methodical, verse by verse study of God’s Word, instead of just grabbing the odd verse here and there.
We have been called and commanded to share the truth of God with others, to be salt and light in the world, but if we don’t know what that means, how will we ever be effective in sharing the love of God with others? How will they ever understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ, if those who profess it have a sketchy understanding of the Gospel at best?
Someone did a snap survey of a number of Christians some years ago. They asked just one question: What is the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
Some of the answers (given by professing Christians!) were so far off the mark, that it was quite scary.
In Acts 26 Paul tells King Agrippa what the resurrected Jesus told him on the road to Damascus: “I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you. I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” (Acts 26:17-18)
Jesus may not have physically appeared to us, but the message of the Gospel we’re to take into the world is exactly the same. And we learn what this message is from Scripture. Our greatest need is redemption from our sins. We need a Saviour, and the Gospel spells out exactly how God has provided for that great need.
We can’t be a light to this world if we spend the majority of our time stumbling around in the dark, because we don’t understand the light.
The Bible is the Word of God, it is truth, it is the lamp to our feet, the light to our path.
It is our spiritual food, our spiritual drink, and it provides sustenance for our spiritual lives.
God has not created us to wander directionless through this life. This is what we looked at last week. “The chief and highest end of man is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy Him forever.” How do we live lives like that? By getting into His Word and finding out what He is saying to us.
He has given us The Bible to direct us in and through this life to eternity.
The Bible tells us where we came from and why we were created. It gives our life purpose and meaning. It teaches us how to live a life of victory over sin. It teaches us the reality of Heaven and Hell. It tells us of a God who loves us and has a plan for us. It teaches us that satan is already a defeated foe. It prepares us for eternity. The Bible is reliable, and the Bible is Truth. God’s Word is a lamp for your feet and a light for your path, because the words in the Scriptures are the inspired Word of God.
What we have in the Bible are not the words of man, but the Word of God.
2 Peter 1:20-21 tells us, “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
Jesus proclaimed in Matthew 24:35 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”
And finally, Proverbs 3:5-6. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
Homegroup Study Notes
Read 2 Timothy 3:16-17
The Bible was written by more than 40 writers over a period of approximately 1500 years. Yet, these verses make it clear that God, by His Spirit is the author of all Scripture.
How do we make sense of this truth?
How do we respond to the critics who oppose the Divine inspiration of Scripture?
Why do you think so many Christians have a sketchy (at best) understanding of the Bible?
What are some of your struggles in this area?
Read Psalm 19:7-14
Pay particular attention to the six statements in verses 7-9.
Discuss each of these points in your group.
How can we learn to apply them in our lives in practical ways?
All Christians would agree that we need to spend more time than we usually do in personal prayer and Bible study.
How can we make these necessary changes in our lives?
Close by praying that God would give us a renewed passion to know His Word better.