The Word of God is Profitable
The early Protestant reformer John Huss was a man who believed the Scriptures to be the infallible and supreme authority in all matters. He was burned at the stake for that belief in Constance, Germany, in 1415, on his forty-second birthday. As he refused a final plea to renounce his faith, Huss’ last words were, “What I taught with my lips, I seal with my blood.” Compare Huss’ resolve with the findings of the latest Gallup survey of Americans. It reveals that only 58% of Christians believe the Bible to be the inspired word of God. The view of those who do not identify as Christian, according to Gallup, is even more concerning with only 20% agreeing that the Bible is the inspired word of God. With such disappointing data it is no surprise that many are struggling in their Christian walk.
According to Gallup, Americans view the Bible with varying degrees of trust. Nearly three in ten say that the Bible is only a collection of ancient fables and history. Nearly half believe the Bible to be inspired by God but shouldn’t necessarily be taken literally. Compare the opinion of those living today with that of the apostle Paul, who in writing to his protégé Timothy, contended that the words of Scripture were literally breathed out by God, and thus authoritative over every aspect of life, advantageous to the spiritual progress of the believer, and able to provide the necessary knowledge to meet the demands of the Christian life (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
God is the authority over everything because he is everything’s Creator (Gen. 1:1), including his highest creation, you and I (Gen. 1:31). Furthermore, God has instituted every other authority that exists on earth, to which we must submit, while still retaining his sovereign control over each (Rom. 13:1). And thus the words of God, recorded in the Scriptures, are also our authority. As such, we must bring every area of our lives into submission to the truth of the word of God, which is beyond the personal interpretation of any person, and stands apart from any cultural or political reevaluations (2 Peter 1:20-21).
The Scriptures were given not only as our authority, but also for our advantage, they are profitable. This advantage is twofold. First, the Scriptures are given to instill and refine belief, or doctrinal truth. The Scriptures alone point us to the gospel of Jesus Christ, and how to live out the Christian life. When we confront someone about an error in faith or practice, we appeal to Scripture. Life and culture questions regarding origins, identity as image bearers of God, absolute truth, and human relationships, are all answered with the Word of God and thus serve as our road map to holy living.
Secondly, the Scriptures are given to correct and refine our behavior. More specifically, for correcting sinful behavior and training in holiness. Because our actions and attitudes don’t always line up with our professed belief, Scripture helps us bring our actions into line with our beliefs by holding our lives up to a spiritual mirror in which we may see clearly our need for renewal and revival.
Finally, Scripture is given so that we are able to meet the demands of the Christian life. A primary argument of those not living in accordance with the teachings of the Bible is that they lack an understanding of how to live. But the Scriptures themselves affirm that right living is a result of regular study so that the people of God may be complete, not lacking in any necessary knowledge.
The Bible is not a collection of ancient fables and history but rather, “this book contains: the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrine is holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be saved, and practice it to be holy.” – Author Unknown. Let us heed this admonition by knowing and doing the word of God that we may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.