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God’s Breathed Word by Maxie Dunnam

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I recently heard this story of a boy who desperately wanted a car for his sixteenth birthday. He didn’t hesitate in making that desire known. When that day finally arrived, he looked out the window, hopefully thinking that surely his new car would be there. But to his great disappointment it wasn’t. 

He asked his parents why he hadn’t gotten a car. The father responded, “Son,” there are three reasons. First, your grades are bad and you never seem to study like you should. Secondly, you don’t go to church and you don’t read the Bible every night. And thirdly, you’ve got that long hair and you won’t get it cut.”

“Well, what do I need to do,” asked the son, ” to get my car?” The dad said, “It’s very simple, you need to study hard and raise your grades. You need to go to church and read your Bible every night. And you need to get that long hair cut.”

Six months passed and the young man came back to his father. “Dad,” he said, “It’s been six months now and I want you to know I’ve made a lot of improvements. In fact I’m getting three A’s and a B this semester. So you see I’ve been studying hard. And I’ve been going to church every Sunday and reading my Bible every night.” The father said, “Yes, I know, and I’m proud of you. But you still haven’t gotten your hair cut.”

The son’s face lit up. “Yes, I know Dad, but I’ve discovered in reading the Bible that Jesus had long hair too.” The father’s reply was really disarming. “Yes, son, I realize that, but if you keep reading the Bible, you’ll also discover that Jesus walked everywhere He went!”

That’s not all we’ll discover if we keep reading the Bible. We will find life – the life God promises in Jesus Christ. We will find direction for living the life we are called to live. We will find strength to persevere, and comfort to live with the problems and the pain life brings.

In my last article I discussed the fact that all the “saints” practiced discipline at the heart of which was prayer. Along with prayer, we can’t think of spiritual disciplines without considering study and living with Scripture. Consider this admonition from the Apostle Paul: “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith.” (Col. 2:6-7)  That’s the way the New Revised Standard Version has it. I like Phillips’ translation of the text: “Just as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so go on living in Him — in simple faith. Grow out of Him as a plant grows out of the soil it is planted in, becoming more and more sure of the faith…”

The point is clear: After we have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior, we spend the rest of our lives bringing every aspect of our lives under the lordship of Jesus Christ. That means we choose to grow, to become stronger in our faith. We continue to grow by our study of God’s Word. 

There is a sense in which to live and breathe as Christians we need the “air” of God’s breathed word. Does the designation “God breathed” sound strange? Maybe the clumsiness of that designation will jangle our hearing enough to etch the point solidly in our mind. When Paul says to Timothy, “All Scripture is inspired by God”, that’s what he is literally saying: Scripture is God’s breathed word. 

Now I don’t want to get into a discussion about the words “literal” and “inerrant” as words to describe the Bible as God’s word. More important for me are the words revelation, authority, and sufficient.

The Bible is God’s revealed Word, providing revelation of God’s self. The Bible is the authority of Christian teaching. And, the Bible is sufficient in directing us to salvation, in being disciples of Jesus Christ, and providing the support, comfort, and strength we need for daily Christian living. 

That’s what Paul  said to Timothy, All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Tim. 3:16-17)

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