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The Bible in the Heart is Better Than the Bible on the Shelf

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Says Who?

One question that is absolutely definitive for every local church is “says who?,” or “by what standard?”

The Protestant Reformation is marked by Sola Scriptura, or Scripture Alone as the only authoritative, infallible, and inerrant rule for faith and practice in the church.

The 1689 Second London Baptist Confession of Faith states it helpfully this way: “The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down or necessarily contained in Holy Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men.”

That which is not found in Scripture is not binding upon the Christian conscience. The Scriptures alone are the only infallible source of faith and practice for the Christian and the church.

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The Inspired Word

In 2 Timothy 3:16, ESV, we read, “All Scripture is breathed out by God.” This is a tremendous claim about the nature and authority of Scripture. The Scripture has authority because of its nature. The Bible is not like any other book — this book claims to be the very breathed out words of God.

What does inspired mean? Place your hand in front of your mouth while you speak, or blow your “breath” onto a window before you write your name in it — that is what Scripture claims to be. The very breath of God. This is what God has spoken.

Because it is breathed out by God, it is God’s very Word and carries the authority of God (2 Peter 1:16-21). Where the Bible speaks, God speaks.

Thus, to disobey or disregard Scripture is to disobey and disregard God. To think little of Scripture, is to think little of God. To ignore Scripture, is to ignore God. To forget Scripture, is to demonstrate our un-thoughtfulness towards God.

People of the Book

2 Timothy 3:16, ESV, continues this way, “and [is] profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” The God-breathed Scriptures:

Teach us not to worry, but to have faith; not to be greedy, but to give; not to harden our heart, but to soften; not to continue in sin, but to repent; not to hold resentment, but to forgive as we have been forgiven. God’s Word commands our entire life.

Reprove and correct us when are in sin and error. We we covet, we are reproved by God’s provision. When we fear man’s opinion, we are told that it is a snare. When tempted, we are warned; when sinful, we are commanded to repent. The Scriptures convict and correct; point (at sin) and preach (the gospel). They give us Law and Gospel. The Word cuts and wounds; it strikes and heals (Job 5:18).

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Train in righteousness by giving us all the necessary truth for growing in holiness and hating our sin. Everything laid out in the Scriptures is worthy of meditating on, soaking in, and treasuring in our heart. The Bible guides us and leads us; it acts as our engine, our curb, and our guide; it gives us light onto our path and power to our faith. It is a sword to fight temptation (Ephesians 6:17).

The Bible in the heart is better than a Bible on the shelf.

Jesus said in Matthew 4 that man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.

Charles Spurgeon once wrote, “Nobody ever outgrows Scripture; the book widens and deepens with our years.”

The Bible in the heart is better than the Bible on the shelf — may we never leave home without it.

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Cale is the pastor of Union Baptist Church in Orrick, MO. He is married to his wife Kelly and they have two children (third on the way!). Cale will be graduating with a Masters degree from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary this Fall and Spring 2023.
Cale is the pastor of Union Baptist Church in Orrick, MO. He is married to his wife Kelly and they have two children (third on the way!). Cale will be graduating with a Masters degree from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary this Fall and Spring 2023.




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