Is the Bible useful for all of our lives or just for certain parts? Does it take us so far in life and then leave us to get on with the rest? Many people, even Christians, live split lives. They allow the Bible to direct them as regards to what they deem the “spiritual” aspects whilst arranging the rest of their lives according to their own standards. But should it be like this?
The usefulness of Scripture
Paul in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says that 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. Titus 2:14b tells us that the purpose of Jesus coming into the world was to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. We are fully living for Christ when we are doing what is good. Linking the two passages, just mentioned, leads us to conclude that we are equipped to do what is good through the Word of God.
Without the scriptures we are like newly constructed shop-lots which have been left with a “shell finish”. They have potential to function as shops, but without any fitting-out they are useless. They are not “fit-for-purpose”. However, when the fit-out takes place then the shop is equipped to function as a shop. Likewise without the scriptures we, as Christians, are not “fit-for-purpose”. We are unable to do those good works which give nobility to the Christian life. But when the scriptures are running into and through our lives then we are fully-fitted out to live lives that please God.
The function of the Scriptures
But the question is asked regarding how does the Bible tell us what is the good we should be doing in a certain situation at a certain time and place. Are we told what to do at a certain time or where to go and where not to go? However, asking these questions betrays a false view of scripture. Notice what 2 Timothy 3:16 says. It says that scripture is useful for knocking us into shape through teaching, rebuking, correcting and training. When this is happening we tend to have all areas of our lives increasingly brought in line with the Word of God and therefore with the Spirit of God. Like Simeon we will be in the right place at the right time. We read of Simeon that “ moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God (Luke 2:27-28a).
Using Scripture in all of Life
Moreover, the Word, whilst not prescribing everything to do in every situation of life, does give us all we need to make healthy decisions in life. All the instruction is there for us.
Personal Life by way of example, when someone is wanting to know where to live they can ask certain questions like:
Does choosing this location be good for my family life (see Eph. 5:21-6:4)?
Will it it help to fellowship in a good Bible church (see Heb. 10:25)?
Will renting or buying this house be a good use of my resources (see Lk. 16:1-13)? Will I be spending too much money? Will I be wasting too much time in travelling to work / church?
Family Life Not only is it true that the scriptures give everything for our personal lives, it also is sufficient for family life. It gives all the necessary material for families too operate in a godly way. It shows the responsibilities that parents and children have. Look at the passage in Colossians 3:18-21 as one example of this.
Church Life We must continually be examining the scripture to check that as a church we are walking in the way of the LORD. So we will be looking for
Commands: these are statements of scripture which state exactly what we should be doing. We should be choosing elders with the characteristics described in 1 Timothy 3:1-7.
Practice: We look to see what the churches in the Bible were doing and thereby we draw examples that we can follow. The church at Troas on the first day of the week we came together to break bread (Acts 20:7a). Given this practice we can conclude that it is good to celebrate the Lord’s Supper each week.
Principles: Here we are seeking to work out matters in line with the principles of God’s Word. 1 Corinthians 11:3 gives an order of headship; God, Christ, man, woman. We need then in church to be following the principle established in scripture that the man is the head of the woman and working that out in the detail of church life.
Bible Christians are Spirit Christians
It is important to insert a corrective at this juncture. Some Christians dismiss the assertion that scripture is important for the experiencing of a good godly life. They say that they are “Spirit Christians”. They do not focus on the Word because they focus on the Spirit. But this is a false division. The truth is that the truly Spirit filled Christian is, simultaneously, a Bible filled Christian. The great danger for anyone faces who emphasizes the Spirit over against the Scriptures is that they are so easily duped by Satan who presents himself as an angel of light and thereby deceives.
The psalmist said in Your word is a lamp for my feet a light on my path (Psalm 119:105). The scriptures are sufficient to provide us with all the counsel we need for the next step and for all the steps on the pathway to glory. Individually and as a church let us be willing not to make decisions “off the top of our head”, but instead to search the scriptures. In doing so we will be wise and we will be equipping ourselves to live lives full of good works. And that will be for the glory of God.
(Taken from the Feltham Evangelical Church newsletter of June 2011)