In Ephesians 6:10-18 Paul exhorts the Ephesian believers to put on the full armor of God, keeping in mind that their enemy is not one made of flesh and blood and therefore their armor is not mere iron and steel. Instead, our power comes through the God who created, saves, and judges. Paul writes that the Christian’s sword is the Word of God, the Holy Scriptures.
Everything we do in the Church is grounded in the Bible because we believe it is the inspired and authoritative Word of God. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 explains that “all Scripture is God-breathed.” It is not merely a book written by wise and insightful men, the very words (not just the big ideas or general concepts) in the original documents were simultaneously the words of men and the very words of God. Because of that, they hold authority over us, because God has chosen to make known to us that which would otherwise remain hidden and unknown. We must not stand on Scripture, but under it!
There are many today who try to discredit the Bible you hold in your hand. Some claim it has been changed so much it would be nearly unrecognizable to its authors, while others assert that portions of the Bible weren’t even written until hundreds of years after the time of Jesus and the Apostles. However, the field of Archaeology has time and time again unearthed ancient manuscripts that support and verify the Bible we have today. Much more can be said here (here’s a great article, and more can easily be found through a quick Google search for “Christian apologetics, biblical archaeology”), but I want to encourage you: you CAN trust your Bible.
So the Bible is Inspired, Authoritative, and Reliable… but what’s it all about? We miss the point if we reduce Scripture to a “rule book” or “instruction manual.” Indeed, those are helpful metaphors in some ways, but they miss the big story of Scripture. The Bible tells the story of Creation (where we came from, why God made us), the Fall into sin (what went wrong, what were the effects of sin), our Redemption through Christ (what did Christ accomplish through the cross, how do we receive salvation), and that one day all things will be fully Restored to how they ought to be (sin will be destroyed, death will be no more, and all the effects of sin will be erased so our relationship with God is perfectly intimate again). The entire Old Testament is pointing forward Jesus, our coming Savior and Rescuer; everything in the New Testament is pointing back to Jesus to show what he accomplished and what that means for humanity.
So how can you wield the sWord of God?
- Read it – If you’re a Christian who doesn’t read your Bible, really ask yourself “Whynot?!” It’s a spiritual discipline, and it can be difficult to do consistently, but do not let the enemy distract you into defeat so you lose your sword.
- Study it – You’re not the first person to ever read that verse, so don’t act like it! Learn from each other. Join a Small Group, attend Christian Education classes, read good Christian books (not just novels!).
- Memorize it – If Jesus memorized Scripture to overcome temptation, how much more should we! We must not memorize Scripture primarily for evangelism and winning debates, but in order that we might endure the enemy’s many attacks.
- Obey it – As James 1:27 warns, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” We do not want our lives to discredit the Gospel.
- Teach it – Are you so moved by God that you cannot help speak on his behalf? The Gospel is a message to be proclaimed. Dig into God’s Word in order that you are so stirred by the Holy Spirit that you cannot help speaking what God has revealed in Scripture to others when you’re given opportunity.
I believe we all want to hear from God. God is still speaking, and He is speaking through Scripture. Are you Listening? Are you Obeying? Are you Speaking to others what He has spoken to you?