The Bible, The Whole Bible, and Nothing But The Bible
As we have now begun a new year and kicked off our Bible reading program (Learn About the Way to Heaven in 2011)an important question comes to mind. Are we really interested in reading and learning ALL that the Bible has to say? In other words, are we satisfied with the level of Bible knowledge that we have acquired in the past, having no curiosity about what we may have missed? Do we feel no real need or desire to learn more? Do we look upon our current effort to read through the Bible as an option that, although noble, is not really necessary?
Another question to consider. How do we know that we have not missed something of vital importance to our salvation? We are familiar with the question that is sometimes asked of the atheist who boldly (and foolishly, Psalm 14:1) proclaims, “There is no God”. He is asked, “Do you know everything?” When he correctly answers “no” it is then pointed out that one of those facts which he admittedly does not know may be the very fact or information that proves God’s existence. Using the same reasoning, how can we admit, on the one hand, that we do not know ALL the Bible, but yet be confident that there is nothing else in the Bible that we need to know? Are we sure there is nothing else upon which our salvation may depend? One of those Bible facts, points or principles of which we are admittedly ignorant may spell the difference between our being saved or lost! Jesus said, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). Was he speaking of only part of the truth? If so, what part? The point is this. We will never be confident unless we read and study ALL the truth, all the Word of God. We must never be satisfied with past accomplishments in the area of Bible knowledge, but continue to study, learning as much as we can.
If you consider yourself to be as knowledgeable of the Bible as you need to be, please consider the following questions.
1) Do you consider yourself to be a serious student of the Bible? Many of us have been Christians for years, maybe even decades, yet have never become serious students of the Word of God. Some may have not even read through the entire Bible even one time. Might it not be more accurate to describe ourselves as casual students, rather than serious students of the Bible? And, should any of God’s children only be casual students of His Holy Word?
2) If questioned about the most prominent Bible subject, such as grace, faith, the necessity of obedience, etc., could you recall or turn to more than a single verse or Biblical principle that deals with the subject? For example, if a non-Christian asked you to prove from the scriptures that baptism is necessary for salvation, how would you respond? I Peter 3:15 forewarns us, “. . . always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you . . .” We see in 2 Timothy 2:15 that Timothy is admonished to be a “. . .workman who . . . correctly handles the word of truth.”
3) For all practical purposes, have you written off (without serious study) books such as Leviticus and Revelation concluding that they have nothing relevant or important to say concerning your salvation? In 2 Timothy 3:16,17 we are reminded that “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
4) If you feel secure in your present level of Bible knowledge, why is that? In other words, who or what told you that you don’t need to continue a serious study of the Word of God? Have we fallen prey to the idea that “hear, believe, repent, confess and be baptized” is all we really need to be concerned about? Reducing the entirety of God’s message down to that simple formula certainly leaves out a lot of information. Has gospel preaching from our pulpits gotten to the point where no new Bible knowledge is ever brought to our attention? (Oops! I’d better slow down here. I’m beginning to step on my own toes!)
Here again is the point, as Christians we should study all the Word of God. We should study with an open mind. We should study with a desire to learn as much as we can. We must not depend upon established habits, traditional thinking or what others may or may not do as our guide as to how much of the Bible we need to read, study and learn. The salvation of our soul is too important to depend on anything less than personally learning as much as we can of God’s Word.
Because the Bible is the only divinely inspired book available to mankind, we must study the Bible. Because all the Bible is inspired, we must study the whole Bible. Because the Bible is the only source from which we can learn about the way to heaven in 2011 (or any other year), we must study nothing but the Bible. Thus, we need the Bible, the whole Bible and nothing but the Bible!