The Bible is a Big Deal
From Laurie Ukrainetz
I recently came up against an area of my life that is deeply wanting. I share it with you here because I suspect that I am not alone in this….
A few months ago I began to research new movements and schools of thought that are gaining influence in Christian churches across North America. In the course of my search, I have encountered- from Christian sources- statements of belief and presentations of scripture that cause me to pause with a little tingle inside- and not in a good way. I have found myself often muttering under my breath, “Is that really what the Bible says?” “I’m a follower of Christ, do I believe that too?” I find I’m uncomfortable when something I was only familiar with in the secular realm before is newly worded and presented in ‘Christian-ese’. The subtle differences are the most unnerving. It sets me to wonder if I actually know enough of the truth to be able to identify what is false. As humbling as it is to admit, my research has revealed to me that an area of my life left wanting by my busy schedule is time spent really studying and learning the Word of God.
In the 2nd book of Timothy, Paul writes to Timothy in part to exhort him to guard the church under his leadership from false doctrines that were emerging and influencing believers. He writes; “…do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (2: 14,15 NIV). Timothy is exhorted to be diligent and handle accurately (NASB) the word of truth in response to the influence of false teaching. Although this was written to a young pastor, I believe that Paul’s words hold weight for all followers of Jesus who desire to stand firm in what they believe, no matter the time in history or the particularities of the false doctrines.
Can Bible study really matter in this current time, in the world we live in? My response is an emphatic “Yes!” If ever here was a time for God’s people to know His Word, I believe it is now. In the book, Know What you Believe, Paul Little sums up our current situation very well;
“Today our need for the Bible, God’s Word, is more important than ever. Our world is bombarded with ideas, however well-intentioned, that challenge the time-honored concepts of the God of the Bible. Ideas such as “All roads lead to Rome” and “There is no one way” come from every corner of the globe. Relativism has taken over, disavowing all possibility one truth source; postmodernism has arrived, bringing its elastic morality; secularism joins in exalting existential experience.”(p17)
Sadly, it appears that these cultural mindsets have slipped into aspects of the life of the church, not only passively as an effect of generational erosion, but assertively, riding the shirt-tails of some new movements and perspectives that promise new and deeper understanding of God apart from the Bible. (There is not room to treat this subject in its entirety in this article, but I will address it in a series of articles in the coming months as my research continues.)
For now, I believe the important focus for us as followers of Christ is to examine what we base our belief system on. Do we approach the idea of truth in a fluid way as the culture does? Do we allow popular teachers in the Christian culture to tell us what we should believe and what practices should flow out of that belief? Or, Do we study the Bible- do we dig deep to know it as the basis of our faith, and learn to handle it accurately. My prayer for the body of Imprint is that we will be people firmly grounded in the Word of God.
Psalm 119, verses 104 and 105 say; “Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
Your word, Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. (Ps 119:89 NIV)