The Bible can be pretty daunting, even at the best of times. It’s filled with stories of people living in cultures far different from ours written by people who lived thousands of years ago. Some of their struggles can seem irrelevant to our circumstances at times. Some stories recount people who have had more faith in God than we feel we could ever possibly exhibit. And to top it all off, our bibles have been translated from ancient Aramaic, Greek, and Hebrew into modern English, providing further difficulty in our endeavors to understand the cultural perspectives in which they were written. But as weird (and wonderful) as it is, the Bible is one of the most important things we have.
The Bible is important because it is God breathed.
In 2 Timothy 3, Paul writes about the importance of the scriptures, how all of it is God-breathed/inspired and useful. When this was written, ‘scripture’ referred to what we call the Old Testament.
Paul, who met Jesus dramatically and wrote most of the New Testament, said the Old Testament is divinely inspired and through it servants of God are equipped. The fact that these writings have withstood the test of time to now be mass published and available like never before is a pretty strong indication that God has at least something important to say through them. And when God’s talking, we should be listening. And then Paul straight up tells Timothy how important it is while he is inspired by the Holy Spirit. God once again telling us what has been written is important.
Since the Bible is the word of God, and Jesus is the Word of God made flesh (John 1:14), then approaching the Bible is like approaching God. I feel like many Christians (myself included), though they know that they have God as the Holy Spirit living within them, still see God as an abstract, making it difficult to understand how to draw near to Him. We don’t have the prophets of the Old Testament leading the way, nor do we have Jesus in the flesh.
In John 16:13, Jesus tells us the Spirit of Truth (aka Holy Spirit) will guide us in all truth. I’ve always known this (both in theory and experience) to mean He enables us to understand what is written in the scripture. So take a deep breath, God did not leave us to puzzle over a difficult book all by ourselves. You’re reading the book with the Author, and He’s telling you about it as you read. As an avid reader, I find this beyond cool.
The Bible is important because by knowing the Word we know the truth.
Knowing the Word is so important because through it we learn the truth about who God is and what He has said. We also learn the truth about our enemy (Satan) who is also called the deceiver, and wants nothing but our destruction. From the beginning, his MO has been to get us to question and doubt what God has said. The fruit Adam and Eve were instructed to avoid was pleasing to the eye and not at all like something that could kill them. But through lies and deceit, the enemy convinced Adam and Eve to follow his voice rather than God's. His proposal to them sounded reasonable and subtly led them away from their Father's instruction into sin. So how are we to differentiate between the voice of God and the enticing deceptions of the enemy?
The answer to this can be found in Matthew chapter 4, where Jesus is being tempted by the devil. Satan tempts him by using scripture! He gave ‘biblical’ reasons for actions that were sinful.
But how did Jesus respond to this? Did He get all flustered and say ‘no, you’re dumb, leave me alone’ or plug His ears singing ‘LALALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU’? No, Jesus responded back with scripture. He knew everything that had been written: His Father (and our Father) was the One who inspired it! Proper knowledge of what God has said was the only thing He responded with. It was His weapon.
Ephesians 6 lists all kinds of pieces of armor when it comes to warfare against the enemy. Most are for defense, there is only one weapon. And you know what that is? It’s the Word of God, called the sword of the Spirit. And it’s not a normal sword either, Hebrews 4 tells us that it’s sharper than any sword and penetrates beyond the physical body all the way to the soul.
But the thing about weapons is they can’t be used effectively if you don’t know how to use them. I would never pick up an actual sword to defend myself because I don’t know how to use one properly. In the same way, you cannot use scripture to fight our enemy if you don’t know the scripture.
The Bible is important because it doesn't change.
Humans change. We grow, mature, and are shaped by events and people around us. I can say with absolute certainty that I am not the person I was 5 years ago. I am not the person I was 5 months ago, I'm not even the person I was 5 weeks ago. As I seek God through His word, I grow to become more and more like Christ.
The Gospel is consistent, being mentioned as early as the 3rd chapter in the Bible, Genesis 3:15, all the way up until the incarnation of Jesus and His death on the cross and resurrection three days later.
That's a really comforting thing about the Gospel (which we know about through what? The Bible!), because it means we don't have to stay trapped in a cycle of sin and separation from God, hoping that maybe this shiny new thing we spotted will perhaps save us and restore a connection to God. We’re always going to find salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. That fact hasn’t changed since it was revealed to humans, and it never will.
And the written word itself does not change. The Bible can tell me one thing about God, and that thing is true whether or not I feel like it is. Our feelings and emotions are the fastest things that change for us. But the truth in our Bible will never change. It won’t need to be updated in five years, making all previous published texts obsolete (like some college textbooks).
And though it doesn’t change, God's word is described as ‘living and active’ in Hebrews. It can be read many times, but God will continue to reveal more and more of His truth through His word than we can retrieve at any moment.
When our world is shaking, the Bible is full of unchanging truths to stand on and act upon. If we allow Him to speak into our lives through it He will teach us the truth about Himself, the world we live in, and our future hope in everything He has promised. It is through His Word that we grow in our faith and are equipped to live in the plans He has for us.