The Bible is the literal word of God, and people can’t help but be deeply impacted by it.
And yet, despite this widespread access to the Word of God, I hear more talk these days about “self-help” than wisdom. There are entire sections of bookstores devoted to step-by-step guides to finding happiness, relieving stress, and mending broken relationships. Disseminating this secular sort of “wisdom” has become a booming industry, and yet people remain unhappy, homes remain broken, and relationships remain fragmented.
As believers, we know that the best “self-help” book out there is the Bible, but even believers tend to over-complicate things! Everything we need for living and serving can be found in the Scriptures (2 Peter 1:3). The God of the Universe has given us His own, actual words! The Scriptures contain no less than God’s revelation of His character, and His will for our lives. The Bible testifies to things beyond what man could ever know, apart from God revealing them to us through His word.
One of my favorite passages that lays out so clearly the result of living life in line with the Scriptures comes in Psalm 119:97-100: “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. Your commands are always with me and make me wiser than my enemies. I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes. I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts.”
There are three clear results King David, the author of the Psalm, shares with us that are great reminders for today. The first is wisdom. In verse 98, David writes: “Your commands are always with me, and make me wiser than my enemies.” This means that as we trust in the word of God, we don’t need to panic when asked questions about the goodness of God, why bad things happen, or if the promise of eternal life is true. We have the answers right in the Scriptures- we simply must meditate on and memorize them to be ready with biblical, wise answers.
The second result is insight. In verse 99, David writes: “I have more insight than my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes.” This verse clearly outlines the Bible as the ultimate authority over other voices. This verse also shows us the importance of studying it– if we want to be as wise as our teachers, we must be in the word of God daily, paying attention to what it is telling us about who Jesus is and how to follow Him.
The final result is understanding. In verse 100, David writes: “I have more understanding than my elder, for I obey your precepts.” The key here is obedience. As we read and study the Bible, we must also take the next step and obey what it is telling us! Obedience to the commands of God leads to greater wisdom, which in turn leads to greater peace.
We are blessed with widespread access to the Bible in the modern world, largely as a result of passionate followers of Jesus throughout history who advocated for all to be privy to the voice of God. And yet, if we do not read, study, and meditate on it for ourselves, we risk missing out on the rich life Jesus has promised us in the Bible. I challenge you to “love the law” of the Lord as David describes in Psalm 119. I assure you that you’ll find newfound wisdom, insight, and understanding each time you open the Word of God!
This article originally appeared in the PROCLAIM! Magazine Spring 2017 issue. The original article was entitled, “Sola Scriptura: Scripture Alone.” Copyright 2017, Luis Palau.
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