“it is written” – overcoming through the word of god
By Gabriel Gherman
There are many Christians that start the New Year with a resolution to read through the entire Bible. Some reach that goal while others seem overwhelmed by the challenge and they fall short of their goal. The sad reality is that many others haven’t touched the Bible in years, and don’t seem interested in its message or teachings. What should inspire us to read our Bibles? What is the real reason for turning to its pages?
The Bible is the best-selling book of all time, with almost 6 billion copies sold. For decades the Bible continues to be the most translated book in the world, with more than 3300 languages having at least one book of the Bible translated. Today, there are a little over 100 Bibles distributed per minute in the United States alone and downloaded on more the 100 million devices with a new install occurring every 1.3 seconds. Furthermore, there are 92% of Americans who own at least one Bible, whether it was given to them or purchased.
But the Bible has not always been so accessible. Earth’s history suffered numerous ages in which the existence of Christianity was challenged by the banning and burning of the Bible, which led to widespread biblical illiteracy. But in reality, the dark attacks on the Bible never had a chance to extinguish its light. The Lord assures us that “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my WORDS shall not pass away.” Matthew 24:35.
What’s the relevance of the Bible for us in the 21st century? Are its pages simply ancient history or a Revelation of Jesus Christ? Has Heaven invested thousands of ministering agents to preserve its pages or have the sacrificial blood of Christian martyrs preserved the precious keys unlocking the kingdom of heaven for our minds? Unfortunately, the religious landscape of America is rapidly changing, with only “65% of American adults describing themselves as Christians”1 and only three out of ten Americans interpret the Bible literally saying it is the actual word of God. Is there hope that the ancient pages of Scripture can be attractive to the tech-driven, social-media and liberal generation of today?
The truth is that the youth of today are meeting with significant challenges and historic attacks on every level. Our minds are being bombarded, our emotions are being hijacked, and our hearts are being robbed of the joys of innocence. These and many more are the momentous confrontations of our faith. But was Christ shielded from such evil? Was His surrounding more innocent? “Of the bitterness that falls to the lot of humanity, there was no part which Christ did not taste… When questioned why He did not join in the frolics of the youth of Nazareth, He said, It is written, ‘I have rejoiced in the way of Thy testimonies, as much as in all riches. I will meditate in Thy precepts, and have respect unto Thy ways. I will delight myself in Thy statutes; I will not forget Thy word.’ Psalm 119:14–16.”2
But must we wait to fall deep in sin before experiencing this aforementioned transformation? Or rather daily connect with the source of Life, allowing the bright rays of its truth and guidance enlighten our path, protecting us from falling into sin? “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.… Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Psalm 119:9, 11.
Having this reality in mind, what makes reading the Bible on a regular basis so fundamental for our salvation? “The word of God was Christ’s assurance of His divine mission. He had come to live as a man among men, and it was the word that declared His connection with heaven. It was Satan’s purpose to cause Him to doubt that word. If Christ’s confidence in God could be shaken, Satan knew that the victory in the whole controversy would be his. He could overcome Jesus.”3
The Bible is the only source of eternal wisdom, which by reading and obeying brings about a transformational experience preparing the soul to enter into the eternal presence of God. John 5:39 reads, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” Furthermore, “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.” 1 Peter 1:23.
In reading the Bible, we meet our Creator, Redeemer, and Savior, who sacrificed all of heaven to restore our connection with the Father.
Let us consider the benefits of reading the Bible and how we can overcome.
1. The Bible reveals God’s character.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. “The Son of God stooped to uplift the fallen… Tender, compassionate, sympathetic, ever considerate of others, He represented the character of God. “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, … full of grace and truth.” John 1:14.4
2. The Bible reveals the mission of Jesus Christ.
“Jesus saith … I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6 “Jesus Christ has given Himself as a complete offering in behalf of every fallen son and daughter of Adam. O what humiliation He bore! How He descended, step after step, lower and lower in the path of humiliation, yet He never degraded His soul with one foul blot of sin! All this He suffered, that He might lift you up, cleanse, refine, and ennoble you, and place you as a joint heir with Himself upon His throne. How shall you make your calling and election sure? However sinful, however guilty you may be, you are called, you are chosen. ‘Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.’ ”5
3. The Bible points to God as our Prime example.
“Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;” Ephesians 5:1. We must imitate God’s perfection. “Ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” We are to make the foundation of every building thorough and solid, as for eternity.6Imitating Christ in word and in action requires sacrifice, giving up self and willingness to be filled with His glory. “Our notions, our peculiarities, are wholly human and must not be humored or indulged. Self is to be crucified, not now and then, but daily, and the physical, mental, and spiritual must be subordinate to the will of God. The glory of God, the perfection of Christian character, is to be the aim, the purpose of our life. Christ’s followers must imitate Christ in disposition. The Pattern is given us to copy, and no excuse will be accepted of God as a reason for not meeting the divine standard, however contrary it may be to our own nature, our own selfish desires and inclinations.”7
4. The Bible transforms the sinner.
“We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:18. “Let the youth, then, be taught to give close study to the word of God. Received into the soul, it will prove a mighty barricade against temptation. The psalmist declares, ‘By the Word of Thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer.’ Psalm 17:4.”8
5. The Bible brings peace and courage.
“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful…. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:8-9). “We are not to allow our perplexities and disappointments to eat into our souls and make us fretful and impatient…. Let every thought and word and deed reveal Him. You need a daily baptism of the love that in the days of the apostles made them all of one accord. This love will bring health to body, mind, and soul. Surround your soul with an atmosphere that will strengthen spiritual life. Cultivate faith, hope, courage, and love. Let the peace of God rule in your heart.”9
6. The Bible is the source of all wisdom.
“It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeded out of the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4. By prioritizing God’s word, we shall receive mental and physical strength filled with peace, joy, and a hope that the world cannot offer. “The study of the Bible will ennoble every thought, feeling, and aspiration as no other study can. It gives stability of purpose, courage, and fortitude. An earnest, reverent study of the Scriptures would give the world men of stronger intellect, as well as of nobler principle, than has ever resulted from the ablest training that human philosophy affords.”10
“I don’t command you to read the Bible—I never shall. I want you to read the Bible because you love it, not because you are driven to it, for then it will be an unpleasant task. But if you neglect the reading of the Bible, you will lose your love for it. Those who love the word of God are those who read it most. By reading and searching out scripture references, you will see the chain of truth, and will see new beauties in the word of God. While you make the Scriptures more your study, and become more familiar with them, you will be better fortified against the temptations of Satan. When inclined to speak, or act, wrong, some scripture will come to arrest you, and turn you right. It is not natural for the heart to love the Bible; but when it is renewed by grace, then the mind will feast upon the rich truths and promises contained in the word of God.”11
And unto us are given “exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” 2 Peter 1:4. Every promise in God’s word is ours. We ought to exercise faith in the word; we are to live “by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” All strength is yours.
The Bible is our roadmap to everlasting life, because it reveals the eternal purpose that God has for our lives. Furthermore, it points to God as our only source of direction, strength and love. Finally, the Bible shows us how to live peacefully, with courage and compassion. When assailed by temptation, look not to circumstances or to the weakness of self, but claim the power of the “It is written” in the word of God. Amen.
- The Desire of Ages, p. 89.
- Ibid., p. 119.
- The Acts of the Apostles, p. 472.
- Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 251.
- Medical Ministry, p, 125.
- Daughters of God, p. 169.
- Education, p. 190.
- Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, p. 191.
- From Here to Forever, p. 59.
- An Appeal to the Youth, p. 79.