What is the “Good Book” good for?
The Bible is known as the “good book,” but many people don’t seem to know what it’s good for. Some people think it's good for everything, for every question.
The Yellow Pages have been a familiar feature of homes and businesses for well over a hundred years. Even in this age of online directories, you have probably got one of these around somewhere.
We all know how to use them. They provide an alphabetical listing of businesses and services. So, if I want to find a plumber, someone to fix my computer, or make a reservation at a certain kind of restaurant, all I have to do is look in my Yellow pages.
But suppose I want to know – for example – the favorite color of my city Mayor. Well, I just look up the Mayor’s office in the section on local government, and check under “favorite color” and… well, of course, I don’t find it.
Have the Yellow Pages failed me? Of course not – it would be ridiculous to think that. We all know that kind of information is not in the Yellow Pages.
So why, then, don’t we have the same approach to another old book you most likely have in your home? [the Bible] This one has been around a lot longer than the Yellow Pages.
And yet it is surprising how many people do not really know what the Bible is for. It’s brought out for weddings and funerals and for “swearing in” ceremonies. But many of us don’t touch it at other times. It is known as the “good book,” but we don’t seem to know exactly what it’s good for.
Some believers seem to think they can find the answer to any question imaginable somewhere within its pages. They regard it as the final authority on matters of diet, what to wear, what entertainment is appropriate, what hobbies to have, and so on. Some claim it gives us advance information about the major world events of our time. Some even claim that embedded in the text of the Bible is coded information that allows them to predict when the world will end.
And even though their end-time predictions are always wrong, it doesn’t deter them. They plunge back in, searching the Scriptures carefully until they come up with another secret, scripture-based interpretation.
The second epistle to Timothy tells us that the Scriptures are “able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 3:15.) Verse 16 says that “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”
That, then, is what the Bible is for. And that is how we should use it –as a reliable guide to salvation. It teaches us about Jesus, and how we can look to him and always rely on him.
The Bible answers the really important questions of life. But we shouldn’t expect it to answer every question. That’s not what it’s for, and to use it that way makes about as much sense as, well, looking in the Yellow Pages to find out the Mayor’s favorite color.
Dr Joseph Tkach,
GCI USA President and Pastor General
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