With every passing year it seems there are more and more reasons to express my thankfulness. The Lord truly has been so good to me and my family. For the next few moments I want to reflect with a thankful heart for something that often goes unnoticed during Thanksgiving. The Bible.
Most of my life depends on the Bible. I don’t mean that in an arrogant way as if to say that my life is all about perfectly following the Bible. What I mean is that my work, my faith, my worship, my family, my worldview, and the way I think are heavily dependent on Scripture. In my office during the day, the Bible practically plays the central role in all I do, whether I’m writing a lesson or sending an email, I usually have my Bible open for reference. The Bible is, of course, the lead player in all my teaching and preaching. The Bible is what I take home to read to my daughter (albeit not enough) and is what I want her to know more than anything. The Bible makes me more excited than anything else – and I really mean that. If you have spent any time reading it critically, you know what I mean. The Bible is what I get asked about more than anything; most of my conversations with church folk will eventually get to the topic of the Bible. The Bible is what first comes to mind anytime I read an article or hear an opinion stated on virtually any topic. My Bible is almost always within reaching distance of me and I get anxious if I am unsure where it is, just ask any of my students (a few of whom have made the mistake of hiding it from me!)
Yes, much of my life revolves around the Bible. It is quite a shame that I fail so often in living it out. That I spend so much time serving that I forget to serve. That I spend so much time reading it yet fail to digest it. That I spend so much time explaining it that I lose track of modeling it.
My thankfulness for the Bible goes well beyond just my own physical closeness to it as described above. I am thankful for the history of the Bible. That we have preserved today the writings of the apostles and men whom God chose as His instruments of revelation is an overwhelming blessing. When we think of the dedication and the loss, often times the loss of life, that went into bringing the Bible safely and accurately into the hands of the next generation, we should be humbled and thankful. Men like William Tyndale, Martin Luther, and John Wycliffe, along with a host of unnamed heroes who God used, are responsible for the enduring legacy of Holy Scripture, a masterpiece of God’s goodness. Within sight of me right now without getting out of my chair I can see 11 Bibles in view. That is beyond belief when so many people around the world would give almost anything just to see a Bible once. I am so thankful.
Most of all, I am thankful for the message of the Bible. It is a message all about Jesus Christ. I am thankful that I know with certainty, as John describes in 1 John 5:13, that I have eternal life. I am thankful for God’s story of love and redemption and that the love of Jesus reaches to depths that are unknown to me. I am thankful that anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. It is popular these days, and quite cool, to think of the Bible as just another tool in the ongoing “conversation.” But I am thankful that at the end of the day, the conversation is over and we can “contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.” If you only get one message from the Bible, make sure it is this one: God is a big God and Jesus is a great Savior.
So, as I finish this article, I have my marked up Bible in front of me and I just don’t know what I would do without it. It seems to call out to me, much like the old hymn says, “calling today, calling today, Jesus is tenderly calling today.”
Thank you, God, for the Bible.