The Bible is a vital thing; we neglect it at the peril of our souls. In the name of separation of church and
state we keep it out of our schools. Somewhere, however, in homes, in Sunday schools–somewhere our children
ought to be taught the Bible just as conscientiously as they are taught math or geography. Tragically, they are
deprived of such knowledge. Not all children go to the Sunday schools, and the Bible isn’t read consistently in
most homes! The result is that we are bringing up a generation of Bible illiterates. Does this account for our
troubles at home? Does it account for the difficulty we are having in solving the social problems that confront
us? Could it account for many of our international problems? The problems we have in our churches? I dare say
that in the last analysis, most all the problems that confront us come back to this same point: How are we using the Bible?
What is the Bible? Let me suggest some things the Bible is not. It is not a textbook on science, although
it sets forth truths regarding our scientific world many scientific scholars have overlooked and missed. When
we read unverifiable references of some pseudo-science so-called, we owe it to ourselves and generations to
come to “let God be true and every man a liar.”
Science appears only as illustrative material. The Bible is a book of religion and not of science, nor of
physics, nor even of history. These things are incidental to the major theme: Religion. When we see the Bible in
this light it makes sense. The lasting things in life are spiritual. All else changes and decays. Man’s world
changes; his thought forms change; his knowledge increases. Man himself, however, changes very little over the
years. His desires, his motives, his urges, change little. The words of Jesus are valid because they are eternally
true, and what was good, solid teaching in 30 A.D. is still good, solid teaching.
The Bible is a library of sixty-six books, bound together by two ideas: God’s love for man, and man’s
hunger for God. The Bible is not a charm to ward off evil spirits. It is not an amulet to keep us safe from harm.
It is not an end, but a means to life’s highest goal. It is not a textbook on all subjects, nor is it a reference shelf
for proving pet theories. It is a book about God and man, and their need for each other. It involves the yearning
search on the part of God for man, and man’s fulfillment when he lives in right relationship with God. Miles
Smith, once Bishop of Gloucester, said of the Bible in his Preface to the King James Version: “It is not only an
armor, but an armory of weapons; it is not an herb but a tree, or rather a paradise of trees; it is not a pot of
manna, or a cruse of oil for a meal’s meat or two, but a shower of heavenly bread, a whole cellar full of oil
vessels, a basket of wholesome food, a treasury of most costly jewels, a fountain of most pure water springing
up into everlasting life.”
So, why should we read the Bible? There may be some who read this who remember the days prior to
the electric lights and electric lamps. Their source of light was kerosene lamps and lanterns. Often the lantern
would be the difference between safety and trouble, life and death even. If you have ever walked at night with a
lantern, you know it is not carried head high, but is allowed to swing down near the feet. The lantern does not
light up the whole area. It lights only a small space, room for the next step. This is what the psalmist meant
when he said, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet.” (Psalm 119:105)
We read the Bible because it answers life’s questions: “Where do we come from? Where are we going?
Why are we here? What are we supposed to do?” All men need and want adequate answers to these questions.
They are found in the Bible. The Bible gives us the very best portrait of God that we have.
This is our finest picture of the great God. The Bible exalts him over all lesser gods and points to his
power, his majesty, his wisdom, his holiness, his love, his sacrifice in Jesus for sinful man. Jesus said, “He that
hath seen me hath seen the Father.” (John 14:9) The Bible shows us a God who knows us by name, who is
concerned with our needs, who stoops to share our sorrow, and who fulfills life for us when we let him.
Where is your Bible today?