One of my new favorite authors is Paul David Tripp. I have read a few of his books and viewed some of his seminars and have found him to be one of the most compelling speakers/authors I have ever encountered. He has a way of really pushing my buttons, a way of convicting me of things that I didn’t think needed to be repented of. Much of what follows is in his book Do You Believe? – which I am currently reading. The following excerpt (taken from his website) stopped me in my tracks – it made me question my faith, my commitment to Christ, and even my salvation. I was forced to look for evidence that God’s holy Word has shaped my life, even in just a small way – I’m still looking. I encourage you to read and reread this passage and ask yourself the tough questions that need to be asked.
Does The Bible Influence You Enough?
By Paul David Tripp
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:18-20)
Everything God made is designed to confront us with his existence and nature. Every morning when we get up, we bump into God and come face-to-face with his presence. Everything good and beautiful we see, touch, taste, smell, and experience is a finger that points to God’s glory.
Although our conscience and God’s creation display his goodness, wisdom, and power, and therefore leave us without excuse, their message is not enough to give us the knowledge of God and his will, which is necessary for salvation.
And so, he gave us the wonderful and amazing gift of his word.
In wisdom and grace, at various times and in a variety of ways, God revealed himself, declared his will, preserved and proclaimed his truth, and protected the church against corruption and the deceits of Satan and the world by committing his truth to writing.
While the Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew and the New Testament in Greek, God called generations of gifted, trained, and godly scholars to participate in the ongoing translation of his book so that no one anywhere would be left without the gift of God’s word.
It is essential never to lose sight of these realities or stop giving thanks that God guided and directed the writing of every portion of his word.
But I have to say it: many Christians, maybe even you, don’t always live as if this is the most foundational source of wisdom in their life. Yes, we profess that we believe in the doctrine of Scripture—the doctrinal foundation upon which every other doctrine stands—but it probably doesn’t change our everyday living to that extent that it should.
I know it doesn’t always for me.
Sadly, many of us do not spend daily time in our Bibles. Many of us are not avid students of God’s word. Many of us are only fed from it for one hour each week as we gather together for Sunday worship. Yet, we spend hours and hours allowing our hearts and minds to be influenced and shaped by the internet, social media, and political commentary on TV. Functionally, these voices of influence are often more authoritative than Scripture.
If we deeply believed in the doctrine of Scripture, wouldn’t we be looking for every opportunity to share its glorious message with others? Wouldn’t that quiet time, when you separate yourself from other people and other responsibilities, and it’s just you, your Lord, and his word, be your favorite part of your day?
If you, like me, are feeling convicted, the solution isn’t to read God’s word in a quasi-guilty, sense-of-duty, this-is-what-good-Christians-do sort of way. No, we always should approach our Bible reading and study with heartfelt joy.
“Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them.” (Psalm 111:2)
“They received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” (Acts 17:11)
“My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you.” (Proverbs 2:1)
Yes, we approach God’s word with commitment, but we do so because we are grateful, excited, and hungry. We find him there, we find his saving grace there, we find astounding wisdom there, we find guidance for our daily living there, and there we find hope to do it all again tomorrow.
Every time you open the book, pray that God would grant us open eyes and a joyful, grateful, eager, and tender heart.