“My son, give attention to my words;
Incline your ear to my sayings.
Do not let them depart from your eyes;
Keep them in the midst of your heart;
For they are life to those who find them,
And health to all their flesh.
Keep your heart with all diligence,
For out of it spring the issues of life.” (Proverbs 4:20-23 NKJV)
We begin our Bible School studies very simply with a teaching concerning the importance, authenticity, and authority of the scriptures themselves. Indeed, because all that follows is based on the inerrant testimony of the Bible itself, it seems appropriate to engage our minds and hearts for a short time in regard to the Source of the scriptures, and why we do indeed believe that they are the very Word of God, and not merely some words about Him.
I want to quote now from the introduction of one of my favourite one volume commentaries on the scriptures, J Sidlow Baxter’s , ‘Explore The Bible’, because I could not express any better than he the sentiment and sincerity with which we must approach our studies in the great doctrines of Christianity together:
“A right approach to the Bible is of utmost importance. There is a movement today to popularise the Bible simply as literature. It is our careful opinion that such a movement has in it more of harm than of good. Amid the wonderful diversity of the Scriptures there is an even more wonderful unity. The sixty-six
books are not simply a collection of writings; they are one book – one in the progressiveness of the revelation which they collectively unfold, one in the harmony of structure which they collectively constitute, one in the spiritual unity of the message which they collectively declare. The Bible as a whole claims to be the Word of God; and its claim is substantiated both by the nature of its contents and the history of its influence. If, then, this book is the word of GOD it cannot be read simply as literature! – not without forcing the mind to an artificial or evasive or dishonest attitude which must prove harmful. In the studies which we here commence we approach the Bible as being in its totality the Word of God; and in all our studying of it, therefore, we are seeking to learn, under the illumination of the Holy Spirit, the mind and the truth and the will of God.
In our study of the Bible, also, we need ever to guard against becoming so engrossed in the fascination of the subject that we lose sight of the object. As we have said, in these studies we want to get hold of the big, broad meanings of the wonderful old Book: but unless the meanings get hold of us our study will have failed of its vital objective. Our Lord Jesus Himself has taught us that HE is the focal theme of all the Scriptures; and everywhere, therefore, we want to see beyond the written word, to Him who is the living Word. And we want to see Him in such a way as causes us to love and trust Him the more. Dr. Jowett tells of a tourist who was travelling through some of Scotland’s loveliest scenery, but who was so absorbed in his guide book that he never saw the loveliness through which he was passing. There can be Bible study of that sort, too. Our great object is to know the true God, to become more like Christ, and to be more fully possessed by the Holy Spirit. True Bible study will encompass that object, for the inspired pages of Holy writ live and thrill and glow with the presence of God!”
Amen and Amen!