Do We Need the Bible?

Introduction

I was listening to a radio show the other day and I heard someone state that we don?t need the Bible.? He said that people are too literary minded and that we should be more spiritual instead.? The reason we are not more spiritual, according to this person (who was a doctor, but of what I do not know) is that we focus too much on literature to govern our lives instead of learning to be more in tuned with spiritual things.?? The Bible is therefore a hindrance to us according to this person.

Of course the Bible is the most important book to the Christian because in it we have the oracles of God.? I don?t believe that the Bible is meant to be a manual or instruction book per se, but it is a book that reveals the Way of God so that we would be able to live consistently with that Way.? However, the Bible is far from not being spiritual and living our lives based on what is revealed within is not the same as being unspiritual as we will see later.

We need the Bible and a departure from the Scriptures is a departure from God.? We cannot know God apart from the Bible and I will explain that later In this document.? However, the Bible is very important to the life of a Christian and to discredit it is beyond anything that a true Christian would do.? Of course it would make sense that a non-Christian would discredit the Bible and suggest that we don?t need it.? I hope that you will see how important the Bible is to us after reading this document.

Scripture Focus

2 Timothy 3:10-16 (NKJV) — {10} But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, {11} persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra?what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. {12} Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. {13} But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. {14} But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, {15} and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. {16} All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,

 

What is the Bible?

The first thing we need to establish is what the Bible is and what it is for.? Some people say that the Bible is any of the following.

  1. A manual for us to live our lives by
  2. The instruction book for our lives
  3. The cookbook for our lives
  4. A guide for us to live by
  5. A bunch of stories to help us know right from wrong
  6. A bunch of stories about a bunch of dead guys

?The Bible is not a manual or an instruction book.? It is much more than those.? The Bible is the revelation of God and His Kingdom to us.? The Bible is the Word of God to humans.? You won?t find every situation that you could possibly face in the Bible because that is not the purpose of the Bible, namely a reference book that you refer to when you have to make a decision.? However, if you read the Bible, understand the Bible, and then live the Bible then you will find that you have access to the answers that you have to make on a daily basis.? The Bible works behind the scenes so to speak.

Let me give you an example.? A scientist learns about various physical laws from text books that he or she obtains while in school.? However, after he has graduated and begins to work in his field he will find that the answers that he needs is not in the text books.? The scientist will come to find that the knowledge and wisdom that is required started from the text book, but it was the practice that led to experience that provides the path to the answer that she needs.? She will begin to live by the things in the books that she learned in school, but she will not treat those books as an instruction manual or cookbook for her trade.? Surely she may need to refer to it from time to time to recall a formula that was forgotten, but for the most part the knowledge that she needs is within her and she can direct her actions based on that.

The Bible is very similar to the life of the Christian.? We don?t find the answers that we need for specific things that come up in our lives, but we do have the knowledge that we need to get at the answers that we need.? We can interact with God because he has revealed himself and His way to us in the Bible.? The Bible is the first step to knowing God.

 

What did people do before the Bible?

You may ask what people could possibly do if they don?t have a Bible or what people did before the Bible was available to them.? These are good questions.? Consider the following statement from Paul?s letter to the Romans.

Romans 1:18-20 (NKJV) — {18} For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, {19} because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. {20} For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse….

God has made himself known to everyone apart from the Bible and there is no excuse for anyone to say that they don?t know God.? The Bible is very important, but we have to remember that it reveals the way of God and shouldn?t be thought of as God himself.? The Bible points us to Jesus Christ who is the way to God.? Therefore, we have to realize that God is calling us to himself in and outside of the Bible.? However, what he says outside of the Bible is the same thing that he says inside of the Bible.? The two will not and cannot contradict.

Does this mean that we don?t need the Bible?? No.? It means that we need the Bible more than ever and we will discuss that point as we go along in this study.? Consider America without the constitution or any organization without its bylaws.? Those documents aren?t used for every decision that is made, but any decision that is made is consistent with those governing documents.? For example, the legislative branch of the American government cannot make laws that are contrary to the constitution.? However, every situation that arises that require a law and some guidance will not necessarily be found in the constitution.

Without the constitution then America would be a free for all in regards to government.? Without a set of bylaws then a company would have no guidelines by which it could govern itself.? Likewise, without the Bible we would have nothing to serve as a standard for God, what he wants, or his Kingdom.

 

The Bible And Spirituality

The Bible is therefore the Word of God by which we can govern our lives in principle.? Consider something that Jesus said.

Matthew 4:4 (NKJV) — {4} But He answered and said, ?It is written, ?Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.??

The only Bible that existed when Jesus made the above statement was the Old Testament Scriptures, i.e., the Hebrew Bible.? Now here is the very interesting thing.? Look very closely at what Jesus said.

  1. It is Written
  2. Live by what God says

Did you catch that?? Jesus said that it is written that we should live by everything that God says.? Is everything that God says in the Bible?? Of course not nor could it be.? The scripture answers the question, ?How should I live??? The answer is, ?Live by what God says.?? You see the Bible points us to God so the Bible isn?t an end in itself.? Instead it points the way to our heavenly Father so that we would live.? After all it is God who is calling us to himself not to the Bible.? The Bible is a ?tool? if you will, to help us on the way.

Let?s get back to what the doctor on the radio said about us needing to be more spiritual.? We do need to be more spiritual minded because God is Spirit and we must interact with him as such.? However, merely being more spiritual will not necessarily get us to God.? Spirituality is not necessarily more godly as there are many spirits that we may interact with.

The Bible doesn?t take us away from God in that it makes us less spiritual.? Instead, it leads us to a path of more spirituality, but in relation to interacting with the true God.? The Bible gives us a standard that we can abide by when we interact with God.? We can?t go to God any way that we want nor can we interact with him any way we feel like.? We must interact with God based on the way that he is and we can learn about who he is from the Bible and from personal experience.? So why do I need the Bible if I can have a personal experience with God?

 

The Standard

Any person left to himself will not be capable of staying on a straight and narrow path.? We have to remember that the human soul is tainted with sin so there is no way that we could lead ourselves to more godliness or a closer relationship with God on our own.? There is no way that we would be able to enter into a relationship with the Father or live a life consistent with his ways on our own.? We can never forget the sinful nature of humans and how far it has taken us away from the Lord.

Romans 3:23 (NKJV) — {23} for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

The Bible helps to protect us from developing our own personal doctrines, which of course could be tainted with selfishness and of course sin.? The Bible is the standard, which is why it is called the cannon.

But what about those people who have never seen the Bible?? Do they have any chance of knowing the truth about God?? Remember that I said earlier that God has revealed himself to all of us, but what is important is how we respond to that revelation.? A tribe on an island in the pacific can come to know Jesus Christ just as a person in the middle of America full of evangelists, churches, and ministries.? God is not limited by the availability of the Bible.

However, remember also what I said previously that God will not contradict what he says in the Bible.? This makes sense especially when we view the Bible as a revelation of God to humans.? God is revealing himself to us and since he hasn?t changed then he is the same to everyone throughout the world.? He isn?t going to tell a distant tribe something different about himself that he has already revealed in the Bible.? Do you see?? Hopefully this puts the Bible in perspective.

Those who do not have the Bible can only respond to God who reveals himself directly to them.? However, God reveals himself directly to us as well, but we have the Bible to which we can refer and learn more things about God and learn from those in the past.? Are those who are without the Bible at a disadvantage?? Not really, but they surely will not have the benefit of all of the experiences written in the Bible.? However, when the Bible is available then we have no excuse for any false doctrines that we could come up with since the standard is readily available.

 

Do We Need the Bible?

This brings us back to the original question.? Do we really need the Bible?? Why can?t we just interact with God personally and allow ourselves the benefit of developing a personal relationship with God.? Well the first thing that comes to mind is that if the Bible wasn?t needed then God would not have inspired it.

2 Timothy 3:16 (NKJV) — {16} All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,

God inspired the Scriptures and they lead to proper doctrine, reproof (criticism, admonition), correction, and instruction in righteousness (those things that are in right standing with God).? So we surely need the Bible because God inspired it for us.? If we did not need it then God would not have inspired it.

The answer we see here is that the Bible is needed even though it may not be available in all places on the earth.? So there should be no argument as to whether we need the Bible or not.? We need it because God gave it to us.

We can not neglect the Bible in an effort to be more spiritual.? Lack of the Bible may lead to more spirituality, but it may not lead to more godliness.? We need the Bible because it is the standard by which we can live our lives.? We need the Bible because God inspired it for us.

 

Good Doctrine

Consider this.? Even with the Bible we see how there are so many different doctrines in so many different churches.? One church says that they have the way and another church says that they know the way.? However, the point is that if we are not consistent with what God says then we don?t know the way.? If we don?t know Jesus Christ then we don?t know the way.

The Bible is the definite source for knowing good doctrine.? I could easily develop my own doctrine without the accountability to God?s way given to us in the Bible.? As a matter of fact this has already been done in many religious institutions.? Men and women have developed their own doctrines contrary to the Bible and people subscribe to these doctrines because they do not know the Bible.

No one should be fooled by false doctrines when we have the standard available to us.? No one should be able to tell you more about God than what is revealed to us in the Bible.

 

Relationship

I have shown that we do indeed need the Bible.? However, the Bible should not substitute an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.? We still need to pursue God so that we would indeed have a personal and intimate relationship with him.? This can only happen if we truly spend time with the Lord in prayer and fellowship.

The Bible does provide us the revelation from God and since it is inspired we do know that it is needed and benefits us greatly.? However, we still need to pursue God and part of that pursuit is to become familiar with what he has said to us, which means that we have to read and study the Bible.

However, an abundance of Bible knowledge is no substitute for a genuine relationship with the Lord.?? The Bible will help us know how to approach God and know what God is like.

 

Relationship in Check

Here again we seen the importance and need for the Bible.? It is easy to say that we should have a relationship with the Lord, but what type of relationship and how should we pursue the Lord.? Jesus said to seek God first.

Matthew 6:33 (NKJV) — {33} But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

So above all else our primary objective is to develop a personal and intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.? One way we can check the doctrines that we have and even our relationship is to know the Word of God.

2 Corinthians 13:5 (NKJV) — {5} Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you??unless indeed you are disqualified.

Some may say that they know God, but does God know you.? Consider what Jesus said.

Matthew 7:21-23 (NKJV) — {21} ?Not everyone who says to Me, ?Lord, Lord,? shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. {22} Many will say to Me in that day, ?Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?? {23} And then I will declare to them, ?I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!?

We need a relationship with God and in order to test ourselves we need a standard.? The standard that we have available to us is the Holy Bible.? We need the Holy Bible because God inspired it for us and because it is a reference that we can use to check ourselves and the doctrines of others as Paul pointed out in his second letter to Timothy.

 

Final Remarks

The Bible is inspired by God.? It was given to us by God for the purpose of sound doctrine and as a standard for our faith.? We can learn much from the Bible in how to relate to God and how he wants to relate to us.? The Bible will help protect us from false doctrines of others and those that we may develop as we can always refer to it when there are questions.? It will not have answers to the specific questions in our life, but it will surely provide principles that we can live by.

The Bible should not be thought of as a rule book or a manual that we refer to when something comes up.? We can learn from what it reveals to us from the Lord, but it should not be treated as a cookbook for life?s situations.? We should instead learn to interact with God personally.? We need to develop a personal and intimate relationship with the Lord.? We surely need to be more spiritually minded, but that spiritual pursuit should not contradict with what God has revealed to us about himself and his kingdom.

Yes.? We do need the Bible because it is the standard that we need to guide us in our pursuit for God and the godly life.? Amen.

 


Do We Need The Bible?
By William R. Cunningham
December 17, 2006

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