By Not Known

We all know that a closed Bible is a useless thing. In the language of an old Anglican prayer, we should have our Bible open to read, mark, learn and inwardly digest its contents.

It’s one thing to have the Bible open and be active learners, but what are the uses of this learning?

As 2 Timothy 3:15 teaches, the first use of the Bible is to make us wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. This was our theme last Sunday.

However, the Bible’s uses do not stop there. The Bible has uses for those who have put their faith in Jesus as well as for unbelievers. 2 Timothy 3:16 gives four further uses, paired around two themes of Christian content and conduct.

  • Christian content: The Bible is useful for teaching and correcting. In a positive sense, the Bible teaches us all we need to know about God. Instead of making up our own ideas about him, we are to let him be our teacher through the Scriptures. We sometimes have defective ideas about God, whether from partial knowledge, some distortion of truth or even a wilful error. The Bible is the standard by which these wrong ideas are corrected and we are pointed to right content in our beliefs.
  • Christian conduct: The faith is something to be lived and the Bible is the street map to guide our conduct. This is especially pressing for converts from non-Christian backgrounds who may have little idea of godly living. The Bible trains in righteousness by pointing us to the principles and patterns of behaviour that please our Lord. On the other hand, both new converts and old believers can slip into conduct that is right in the world’s eyes but offensive to God. We need to have our Bible open so that these behaviours are rebuked and changed.

If we put all this together, we see that the Bible has uses for heart, head and hands. Our heart is to be given to the Lord Jesus in faith as we become wise for salvation. Our head is to be taught and corrected in the content of the faith. Our hands are to be trained and rebuked in right conduct so that we can live what we believe.

The Scriptures are a really useful book. Let’s open our Bibles often and carefully ponder what is written there. Let’s also allow the Bible to both inform and transform our head, heart and hands in the ways that please our Lord.

David Burke