Unfortunately, the world is full of Christians who 1) claim to believe in God and 2) claim to believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God and 3) ignore a lot of what the Bible says. There is a word for this…hypocrisy. Why is this so common? There could be several reasons, but one reason is that many people do not transfer the authority of God to His Word. They agree that we are to submit to God, but they fail to see that it is His Word that is the display of His will, therefore we must submit to His Word.
This is what Paul is reminding his young apprentice Timothy about in 2 Timothy 3:16. The Scriptures are not a book that originates from man; it is a book that originates from the Creator of all things, and not just some of it, but all of it.
The implications of the authority of Scripture are huge. As Wayne Grudem says, “to disbelieve or disobey any word of Scripture is to disbelieve or disobey God himself.” Very few people view the Bible through this lens, but they should. Instead, many people see Scripture as a mere suggestion, or a collection of quaint stories, or relevant for the good old days but out of touch with today. If their life does not match God’s Word, they do not feel compelled to conform, instead they ignore what God explicitly says, or they change what the Bible says. In order to feel this tension, let’s throw out some examples:
- Love your enemies… ISIS included – Matthew 5:44
- Stop storing up materials things…like a wardroom full of clothes, three cars, boat – Matthew 6:19
- Don’t get a divorce – Matthew 19:6; Mark 10:9; Malachi 2:16;
- Do not practice homosexuality – Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9; Jude 1:7; Leviticus 20:13; Genesis 19:1-13
- Wives, submit to the husband – Ephesians 5:22
- Husbands, lay down your lives for your wife – Ephesians 5:25
You may not have cringed at all of these, but you may have cringed at some. This is God’s Word, and He expects us to obey. These things are not up for debate, they are commands of the all-powerful God.
Perhaps one way to see it is through the experience of parenting. If a father leaves a note for his children before he leaves for work with expectations for them (i.e. no T.V., do your homework, clean your room, etc.), the Father assumes that his kids will obey. If upon the father’s return he discovers that his kids did not obey because it was written on a note therefore they didn’t think he really meant it, he will be upset.
This is what we are doing when we ignore God’s Word as authoritative in our lives. We are basically acting illogical or rebellious, or both, in our relationship with our Heavenly Father.
The one thing that I think we don’t understand is that obeying God’s Word is not a bad thing. It is a good thing. As our verse says the Scriptures train us in righteousness. Righteousness means right living. This should be obvious that in life there is a right and a wrong way to do things. We all know this from experience.
The standard of how to do life right is the Bible. It is the ultimate life hack, if you will. The Psalmist in Psalm 119 hits the nail on the head, “Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors.” (Psalm 119:24). God’s Word is good and it is true and it is God’s standard that we are called to conform to; for God’s glory and for our good.
This blog is a part of a series of blogs that are based upon Wayne Grudem’s book titled, Systematic Theology. Each week the title of the blog and the Scripture of the blog are taken from Grudem’s book. Readers are encouraged to read Grudem’s book along with these blogs.