biblos: the inner bark of a papyrus plant, hence a scroll, specifically a book.
Many bibles have the words ‘Holy Bible’ imprinted on the spine. This BOOK of books came to us through an amazing process of God’s providence.
This video from the Canadian Bible Society – The Bible Explored – A Brief History gives a fascinating overview of the origin and transmission of the text in about 8.5 minutes. We owe a great debt to those who laboured to translate and defend God’s word for us in a language we may understand.
In I Thessalonians 2:13 Paul offers thanks to God for the way the word of God was received by the Thessalonians.
“And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.”
1. God’s word is spoken. The core responsibility for preachers and teachers is to ‘rightly handle the word of truth.’ One of the most distressing comments I have heard in Bible-believing churches is ‘Thanks for preaching the Word of God…’ There’s nothing else worth preaching. “The entrance of God’s word gives light. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word….” How scripture-saturated is our preaching and teaching?
2. God’s word is accepted. Not everyone accepted it, but the confirming proof that God was at work in this community was the responsiveness to the word of God. We live in a media-saturated, technologically rich society. We may opt to use different methodologies, but let’s not exchange the method for the message. I’ve watched more than my fair share of sermon videos and listened to a number of preachers of all stripes. I’ve heard a fair number of sermons as most Bible-believing Christians. The question is, have I accepted God’s word, not as the word of men, but as it actually is.
3. God’s word is at work in believers. It is ‘alive and powerful’ (Hebrews 4:12). The Spirit of God brings about conviction of sin leading to repentance as the word is preached. Memorizing and meditating on Scripture fuels our faith as we think through issues of observation, interpretation and application. Long after the preacher ended (and some preachers are lengthy), the word of God continues to stir within the mind, will and emotions of those who listened well with a purposefulness.
Thank you, O God, for this BOOK of books, this final authority for our faith and practice. Help us to read it, to hear it, to respond in obedience to it. Grant us your gracious Spirit to rightly apply what we hear. Forgive us for the many occasions when we’ve been distracted in our hearing. Help us to come ‘tuned in’ to your word, having saturated our minds with it personally, as we ‘let the word of Christ dwell in us richly.’ Produce in us the very character of Christ as we seek, by your grace, to be ‘doers of the word and not hearers only.’ In Jesus name, Amen.