The way we defend the Bible reveals the way we view the Bible itself, and its Author. We need not stress ourselves or fret ourselves in authenticating its truth at every turn. Rather, we need only to proclaim its truth. Oftentimes, we find ourselves fawning over historical signs and evidences and artifacts which prove the biblical narrative is true. And if we’re not careful, we end up with nothing but a religion of trinkets and relics in place of a Person.
The Gospel of Mark is full of encounters with devils and demons. Especially relative to its size, Mark’s account of Jesus’s life makes a point of emphasis to show the Lord Jesus’s outright control and authority over the forces of darkness. It evinces over and over that this Teacher from Nazareth is also the Ruler over everything. He is the King.
In the 14th stanza of Psalm 119, David testifies to the illuminating presence of the Word of God by likening it to his “light and lamp” for all of life. It directed his steps and ordered his future. It was his essential companion in a world that was dark. And so it is for Christians of all ages. Only the Word of God can be our only light and hope in an ever-darkening world.
The first letter to Timothy reads like Paul’s dispatches from the frontlines, his marching orders for the young pastor as he grapples with the labors of ministry. Timothy is being prepared for the conflict that naturally follows gospel proclamation. He is being fortified — secured, surrounded, and strengthened — with the defensive reinforcements of “sound doctrine” that he might do the same in and for the church.
Some passages of Scripture are more tragic than others. Genesis 34 certainly fits that billing as it relays one of the more disturbing tales in the entire Bible. It epitomizes the dysfunction of a patriarch’s family and perfectly characterizes what happens when mankind takes matters of justice into his own hands. Even though vengeance is had, justice is absent. Along with God.
As Psalm 119 everywhere asserts, the life of a Christian is one that feeds off the Scriptures. The common pastoral illustration is, indeed, true: you cannot gorge on meals once a week and expect to acquire all the nutrition needed to sustain a healthy life. This is equally true in relation to our spiritual diets as well. You and I were made for daily nourishment. And the good news is that the Word of God offers us an endless from which to partake.
Coupled with the calling for us to be ardent students of Word — that is, good theologians — we are also called to make ready defenses for the Word. We are called to be apologists. This word, of course, doesn’t mean apologizing as we have come to be familiar with the term. Hearkening back to Classical Greek, an apology was formally a “well-reasoned reply,” mostly used in argumentation and debate and scholastic thought. But don’t let this word scare you — anyone can be an apologist, as, I believe, 1 Peter 3 shows us.
Psalm 119 is a beautifully monotonous chapter. Throughout which, we are made to find comfort in the repetitious prayers of David the king. His recurring inquiries with his Lord inspires incredible relief that he was just like us — fickle, frail, and often faithless. David, too, needed constant reminders of God’s unchanging faithfulness. In the midst of the fluctuation and change that defined his life (and ours), David was seeking something constant. Something steadfast. Such is what he was made to find in God’s Word.
The apostle Paul’s first letter to Timothy primarily deals with the doctrine of God’s church. He iterates the roles they were to play in it, the message they were to proclaim, and its precedent to demonstrate that message in how they lived. In 1 Timothy 5, Paul transitions to inform Timothy of how the church was to function as the family God. This is Christianity in action.
From Jesus’s first moments of public ministry, he has endeavored to declare the gospel of the kingdom of God. Yet, his preference was to upset any and all prevailing notions about how this kingdom would come to be and what its founder, the Messiah, would do to establish it. The disciples are certainly confused in this moment. But Jesus speaks into their confusion by relaying two striking parables about the unexpected operation of his kingdom that was right in front of them.