I am spending a few weeks preaching on the Bible, asking questions about it so we might better understand how God speaks through it and that we would grow in our love of Him. The first week we asked questions of "What?" Two weeks ago it was "Who? This morning we asked "When?" Specifically, the questions addressed were:
· When was the Bible written?
· When should we read the Bible?
· When should we question the Bible?
· When should we doubt the Bible?
· When will the promises of the Bible be fulfilled?
The Bible is an old book, written by many different authors, in languages that no one speaks any more. Those authors all had their own particular point-of view, and maybe their own axe to grind. And the circumstances of our day are so different, in so many ways. Given all that it's only natural for us to question what the Bible has to say in our day, isn’t it? When should we doubt the Bible?
While it may be a natural tendency to want to doubt what the Bible has to say about any particular issue that is a place we should only venture towards with the greatest of caution. It should feel a bit like getting close to the edge of the Grand Canyon and wanting to lean out to get a better look. What seems to be a potential gain is not worth the risk.
When we call into doubt what God teaches in the Bible we blur the distinction between God and the people he created. We make more of ourselves and less of God. We make more of our ability to decide right and wrong, and disregard the boundaries God has put in place, boundaries that exist for our protection.
Sometimes we doubt what the Bible has to say about an issue because we are misunderstanding what God is saying through it. It deals with matters of biology and geography but it is not a science textbook. It addresses issues of marriage and relationships but it is not a handbook for counseling or self-improvement.
And perhaps the greater reason we doubt the Bible is that we disagree with what it has to say about a particular topic, one that may be dear to our heart. In our day marriage is one of those topics that easily comes to mind. It is so easy to say that our culture is so different from the culture the Bible was written in that much of what it says about marriage is no longer relevant.
And that approach would be one of placing ourselves in grave danger. To doubt the Bible and openly dispose of what it has to say is doubt God, who stands behind each word of the book.
Some things the Bible teaches are hard to understand. There are things that will challenge us, things that we would really rather not consider to be true.
But a better approach than doubt is trust, and that when faced with a hard teaching we continue to trust the Author of the teaching. We trust that what He said is true, and we wait, on Him, to make it clearer for us, on His timing, and not according to our own demands.
Or, as Proverbs 3:5-6 reminds us,
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths."
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.