|Volume 22 Number 9 September 2020||
All of Scripture
There are all sorts of ways to think about the Bible. It is its own library, containing 66 books which offers us God’s wisdom regarding life and eternity. It’s like a large mansion, with each room having different items in it, but considered together, one can get a clear picture of the One Who built it and gave it the order it possesses. It has been considered being like a quilt, each piece its own unique design and offering its own perspective but providing a rich tapestry when all the pieces are joined together.
Another analogy of Scripture is it being like a jigsaw puzzle. Most pieces cannot be identified alone, apart from the other pieces they join. When they are all put together, you have a clear picture of what it’s all about. Viewed as separate pieces, without any connection, it can be hard to see the whole picture. Taking verses and passages of the Bible out of context, viewing them in isolation from the whole, one can draw wrong conclusions and misinterpret what God communicates to us through His Word. By patient study, putting it all together, we not only understand what each section of Scripture says, but we have a better understanding of what God’s overall plan is for all of humanity, as well as how that fits into our lives individually.
Like a jigsaw puzzle, some people begin a study of Scripture, only to just connect a few pieces here and there. They don’t stay with Bible study to gain an understanding of the complete theme of God’s Word to see how it all fits together for their lives. Such an approach can be discouraging, causing them to give up, never seeing the beautiful picture for life God offers us. Others study the pieces that interest them but never try to connect them to the whole. They can draw wrong conclusions about not only each piece but what they infer the whole emphasizes. Many errors and false teachings have come about from not connecting the whole teaching of Scripture together, focusing on just isolated parts here and there.
The view that Scripture presents of itself is found in Paul’s statement to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:16-17. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” Paul spoke of Scripture as a whole, not a group of individual books or letters that are disjointed and have no continuity to the whole. The Bible is not a loose collection of books, each applying only to itself and not to be related to the rest. The sixty-six books in the Bible are those inspired by God, those that God wanted us to have as His Word. We recognize they were written under various circumstances and times to various groups and individuals. However, by also considering them together as a unit, as God’s Word for us, we have a complete picture of Him and His will. By examining Scripture this way, we can have a complete understanding of what we must do to be saved, of how we can live the Christian life and of the promise of eternity. All Scripture is inspired of God, and all Scripture reveals God and His will to us.
We need to take the time to look at each part of Scripture and connect it together to see the marvelous unity it possesses and the purpose it serves, offering us eternal life and leading us in the way that guides us there. We’ll never get there reading it haphazardly, bits and pieces here and there, or even worse, taking a pair of theological scissors to it, trimming the pieces to fit how we want it to look. Instead, put it together for our lives as God desires. Can we read it from cover to cover? Yes. Can we read it a book at a time? Of course. Can we choose themes to examine? Definitely. All of this can help enrich our view of the complete picture it offers and of what it reveals about how we should live. Never forget, however, that the theme of God’s love in Christ touches it all and how that love affects how we respond.
Determine to spend time each day in this book of life, the Bible. Look at each piece, but connect them together. See how all of Scripture fits together in all of life to bring us to eternity. Don’t miss the point God seeks to make for your life through all of Scripture! Don’t misunderstand what it says by only focusing on one piece! Find the blessings it can offer you when you’re willing to connect it all together in the picture of your life. “The entirety of your word is truth, each of your righteous judgments endures forever” (Psalm 119:160).
Gary C. Hampton
Doors in the Word of God can be hopeful or hopeless. Unfortunately, man sometimes closes a door against the Lord. How often do we limit God by refusing to let Him in? The rich young ruler turned away from the Lord rather than sell his possessions and give the money to the poor (Matthew 19:22). The people of Jerusalem would not get close to the very Lord who came to deliver them words of truth (Matthew 23:37). The church in Laodicea heard the Lord say, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come into him and dine with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20). It is sad to think an assembly of Christians would not let the Lord inside.
Our loving Father has promised to give His children protection. The story of Noah includes, “So those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the Lord shut him in” (Genesis 7:16). Behind that door, Noah, his family and the animals he had taken in remained safe, while all other flesh died. The devil correctly charged God with putting a protective barrier around Job (Job 1:10). Even in times of temptation, He will provide a way of escape (2 Thessalonians 3:3; 2 Peter 2:9; 1 Corinthians 10:13).
Paul understood it is within the power of the Sovereign of the universe to give His people a door to tell the good news. God placed doors before the apostle in Ephesus and Troas (1 Corinthians 16:8-9; 2 Corinthians 2:12). Christians need to pray for contact with seeking souls today.
Each of us has an important choice to make. We can close the door against God, losing the many blessings He has promised. Or, we can obey Him and find doors closed around us to keep us safe. Additionally, those choosing God’s protection must ask for open doors to tell others the Gospel. “Now when they had come and gathered the church together, they reported all that God had done with them, and that He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles” (Acts 14:27 NKJV).