“Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the ,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.”
I like to read. So does my wife. She taught elementary school for 27 years and now home-schools our youngest. I am in a career change from health care to pastoral ministry. Given our ages, vocational interests and just the other kinds of things that we enjoy one of the results is that we have accumulated quite a few books.
In the spring of last year we moved from the house I had lived in for 19 years. In the process of moving we down-sized a bit. Clothes, furniture, books and all manner of other things. As we get ready to move again, this time to a place that we anticipate calling “home” for a longer period of time, we are paring down again. Dining room table, car, some more clothes, and a few books are all on the way out.
But as we pack our things the thing that we seem to have in the largest supply is books. We have boxes and boxes and boxes of books. I’ll confess that most of them are mine, and that I have continued to accumulate books during the year we have lived in our present home.
Many of the books I have are connected to my transition into ministry. As we have approached this time and place I have sought out books that would be useful in ministry. Commentaries on the Bible. Books about theology, preaching and counseling. Some history and biography. Reference books.
And amidst all of those books are a few that hold positions theologically that I don’t agree with. They are the kinds of books that give me clarity in understanding why I do believe the things I do. And there are a number books I have had for years and years. Books that “I haven’t gotten around to reading yet but think that I still may read them someday.”
Out of all of these books only one really stands out as distinct from all the others, and that is my Bible.
My Bible, and only my Bible, is the book that touches my heart again and again as I read from it. It is the book that feeds my soul and sets the compass of my life. It grounds me in knowing who God is, who I am, and how we should interact with each other.
I opened this post with Psalm 1. Time and again I open my Bible and get excited when reading the opening of the 66 books within it. “In the beginning…” “The vision of Isaiah…” “In the thirtieth year…” “The book of the genealogy…” “In the beginning was the Word…” “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus…” “The revelation of Jesus Christ…”
Article 2 of the Belgic Confession says that there are two ways in which God reveals himself to the world. The first is in a general way, in what we may observe and perceive of God in nature. The second way is through the Bible, where the Confession says,
“He makes himself known to us more openly by his holy and divine Word, as much as we need in this life, for his glory and for the salvation of his own.”
I have lots of books, but only one that really matters.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.