People Of The Book
Roger A. Rush
The Psalmist asserted, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard” (Psalm 19:1-3). That may explain why there are so few true atheists. Anywhere and anytime man looks heavenward, he sees evidence that God is real. We, and the universe we live in, did not happen accidentally.
However, I am quick to point out that a man can gaze at the stars forever and never go beyond the realization that there is a God. The heavens declare His glory, but it is the Bible which declares His will. It is not surprising then that the Psalmist went on to assert the value and virtue of the written word (Psalm 19:7-11).
What amazes me is how little people know about the Bible. Our knowledge of God is made possible only through the revelation He has made of Himself in the sacred text. We can stare at the stars forever and never know His will. It is only in the Bible that we can become personally acquainted with Him, and the best picture of Him is found in the life of His Son. In fact, on one occasion Philip said to Jesus: “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” (John 14:8, 9). If we want to truly know God we must know Jesus, and to know Jesus we must know His word.
So much of what people believe today regarding Christ and Christianity cannot be supported from the Biblical text. By way of illustration (and this list is by no means exhaustive), the Bible says nothing about purgatory, the worship of Mary, the use of mechanical instruments in worship, baptism by sprinkling or pouring, infant baptism, original sin, the celebrations of Christmas and Easter, or the Christian Sabbath.
We in churches of Christ make a concerted effort to be people of the Book. No, we do not worship the Bible, but we worship the God of the Bible and look to His Son as our Savior. The only way we may know His will is to know His word. Like the Bereans we must receive the word with eagerness and search the Scriptures daily (Acts 17:11). Only by being people of the Book is it possible to be children of God.
It is my prayer that we will develop or rediscover our appetite for the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. With the Psalmist we should exclaim, “I open my mouth and pant, because I long for your commandments ... My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law” (Psalm 119:123, 136). -534 Sixth St., Marietta, OH 45750.
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