Devotional Thoughts for Today
“What Is Scripture to You?”
Jeremiah 36:9-16 (ESV)
In the fifth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, in the ninth month, all the people in Jerusalem and all the people who came from the cities of Judah to Jerusalem proclaimed a fast before the Lord. 10 Then, in the hearing of all the people, Baruch read the words of Jeremiah from the scroll, in the house of the Lord, in the chamber of Gemariah the son of Shaphan the secretary, which was in the upper court, at the entry of the New Gate of the Lord’s house. 11 When Micaiah the son of Gemariah, son of Shaphan, heard all the words of the Lord from the scroll, 12 he went down to the king’s house, into the secretary’s chamber, and all the officials were sitting there: Elishama the secretary, Delaiah the son of Shemaiah, Elnathan the son of Achbor, Gemariah the son of Shaphan, Zedekiah the son of Hananiah, and all the officials. 13 And Micaiah told them all the words that he had heard, when Baruch read the scroll in the hearing of the people. 14 Then all the officials sent Jehudi the son of Nethaniah, son of Shelemiah, son of Cushi, to say to Baruch, “Take in your hand the scroll that you read in the hearing of the people, and come.” So Baruch the son of Neriah took the scroll in his hand and came to them. 15 And they said to him, “Sit down and read it.” So Baruch read it to them. 16 When they heard all the words, they turned one to another in fear. And they said to Baruch, “We must report all these words to the king.”
Foundational to the Christian faith is what we know and believe about the Scriptures. As we read and study our Bibles, there are some core values that must be taken into consideration if we are to get the most out of our time in God’s Word. These values will affect our attitude towards the subjects that we encounter, many of which are controversial in our society, and this in turn will affect our desire to read and obey the Word of God. Central to the correct handling of the Scriptures is understanding the inherent authority of God’s Word and approaching the text with the right attitude of the heart.
According to Wayne Grudem , “the authority of Scripture means that the words of the Bible are God’s words in such a way that to disbelieve or disobey any word of Scripture is to disbelieve or disobey God.” Clearly, disbelief and disobedience constitute an attitude of rebellion towards God. Anyone who is unwilling to submit themselves under the authority of God’s Word is in a state of sin. As difficult as it might seem, our disagreement with anything taught explicitly in the Scriptures is displeasing to God. Although it might be natural to question and doubt some parts of Scripture, ultimately, even those things that we do not fully understand are to be believed and obeyed. It is pride and a lack of faith that says I will believe and obey only those things I completely comprehend and agree with. If we are to uphold the authority of the Bible, we cannot place ourselves over the Word of God (as judge and critic), but rather, we must place ourselves under the Word (as student and servant).
As Baruch reads the scrolls, we see the proper attitude towards the Word of God displayed in the reactions of the king’s officials. There is both fear and a willingness to accept the content as true. When these officials recognize the weight of what is being shared, they immediately sense a need to share the message with the king. In our day and age, we have become so obsessed with not offending people that we fail to share the instructions and warnings of the Scriptures to those who need to hear them. Who knows, perhaps people will listen and turn to the Lord—just like these officials!
Prayer: Father, help me to submit myself to the authority of Your Word. May Your Holy Spirit open my mind to understand the Scriptures, and give me an undivided heart to obey. Teach me Your ways and keep me in the path of Your truth. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Job 19
Lunch Break Study
Read John 17:6-19 (ESV): “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7 Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. 8 For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9 I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.
Questions to Consider
- What is the identifying marker of those who belong to God?
- Where did Jesus’ teaching originate from?
- What does it mean to be sanctified in the truth?
- It’s their desire and ability to obey His word. One of the reoccurring themes in the apostle John’s writing is the connection between loving God and obeying. Love for God is concretely expressed through the keeping of his commandments.
- Jesus freely confesses that the source of His teaching is not from Himself but from the Father who sent Him. According to verse 8, Jesus simply gave the disciples the word that was given to Him. In fact, earlier in John 12:49, Jesus asserts that He does not speak on His own authority, but speaks only what He hears His father saying.
- Sanctification means to be made “holy and set apart.” This passage teaches us that sanctification is not simply a matter of the will but begins by accepting the truth of all that God has said. We are sanctified by accepting and obeying the truth of His Word. It is this truth that will ultimately set us free to live lives that are holy and pleasing to Him.
Do you have questions and doubts regarding certain truths taught in the Scriptures? Ask God to give you clarity regarding those issues so that you can continue to grow in faith. Too often we fail to wrestle with our doubts and to ask God for the answers. The Lord wants us to have a reasonable faith and desires for us to work out every area of our salvation.