Study 6 WHY WE LOVE THE BIBLE
TEN STUDIES IN PSALM 119
by Francis Dixon
Key-verse: “Oh, how I love your law!” (Psalm 119:97)
In Psalm 119 we only have to compare verses 16, 24, 47, 103, 111, 113, 119, 127, 128, 140, 159 and 162 with the key-verse of this study (verse 97) to see how much the psalmist loved God’s Word. It is true to say that our love for the Bible is like a thermometer by which we may tell the temperature of our love for the Lord Himself. The measure in which we love the Bible will determine the measure in which we love Him; and conversely, as we love Him so shall we love His Word. There are plenty of people who hate the Bible; there have always been those who are enemies of the Book. Some have tried to destroy it but have never succeeded. Those who hate and reject God’s Word do so primarily because they are not willing to submit to its authority and live according to its teaching. Think, though, of the millions who all down the ages have loved the Word of God. David certainly was not alone in his testimony when he exclaimed, “Oh, how I love your law!” Out of love for His Word many people have laboured long hours to translate it, have travelled far to distribute it, and have suffered great perils to declare it, and many have died because of their devotion to the Bible and to the Lord Himself. Think of Stephen, whose preaching was filled with the Word of Truth (Acts chapters 6 and 7). He was martyred for his love for God’s Word, and thousands have followed. Why did David love God’s “law”? Why do we love the Bible? We could give forty answers to this question, forty reasons for loving the Bible! Here are four worth considering:-
1. THIS BOOK CONVICTS THE SINNER
The Bible is the instrument the Holy Spirit uses to show man that he is a sinner. Only the Holy Spirit can convict or convince of sin, and He does it with the sword-thrust of the Word, of which He is the Author – look up and compare John 16:8 with Ephesians 6:17 and Hebrews 4:12. The Bible shows us that we are sinners, and this is one reason why many do not read the Bible; it shows them their sinful state and their sinful actions. For example, look up Ecclesiastes 7:20; Isaiah 53:6; John 8:7-9 and Romans 3:10-23. The Bible not only declares that all men are sinners, but it states that because of our sin we are dead (Romans 6:23 and Ephesians 2:1); and we are lost (Luke 19:10 and 2 Corinthians 4:3). How strange to love the Bible when it shows us to be sinful, dead and lost! But that is a very good reason for loving it! If we were in a burning building and someone came in to warn us, surely we would love that friend for saving us. It is for this reason that we love God’s Word. It shows us our sinful, lost, dead condition, and it leads us to seek salvation (Isaiah 55:6). This Book convicts the sinner, and the convicted sinner becomes a seeker.
2. THIS BOOK CONVERTS THE SEEKER
The Bible is the instrument the Holy Spirit uses to turn a man away from his sin to the Saviour, who is able to save from the penalty of sin (John 5:24; Romans 8:1); able to cleanse from the defilement of sin (Zechariah 13:1 and 1 John 1:7); able to deliver from the power of sin (John 8:36 and Romans 6:14). The Bible converts the seeking sinner (Psalm 19:7)! To be converted is to be turned away from sin, self and Satan and to turn to the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour and our Lord. How wonderfully the Holy Spirit used “the Word of God” on Peter’s lips on the Day of Pentecost to convict sinners and then to convert seekers! – look up and study Acts 1:14-42 (especially verses 36-39 and 41-42). About 3000 were convicted of sin and were converted. Have you been converted? Conversion is described in Psalm 119:59-60, illustrated in Luke 15:11-24, and described again in 2 Corinthians 5:17. This Book convicts the sinner, and the convicted sinner becomes a seeker. Then, this Book converts the seeker and the converted seeker becomes a saint.
3. THIS BOOK COMFORTS THE SAINT
The Bible is the instrument the Holy Spirit uses to comfort those who love and belong to the Lord, and who are described by God as His saints (Deuteronomy 33:3; 1 Samuel 2:9; Psalm 50:5; Acts 9:13; Romans 12:13; Ephesians 1:1; Revelation 15:3). What is it God’s saints need most of all? They need comfort, the sheer practical down-to-earth comfort that is found in and imparted by the Bible. It is not a flabby, sentimental thing; it is that solid spiritual upholding and support that the Lord promises to give to His people to enable them to live for Him, to serve Him, and if necessary to suffer for Him. Turn to a few examples of great words from the Bible which minister comfort to God’s people. Begin with Psalm 119:165. Then turn to Isaiah 41:10; then Psalms 23, 27, 34, 91; then John 14:1-3; Philippians 4:19, etc. etc. We see here comfort, strength, grace, enabling to support and sustain us in every time of joy or sorrow, triumph or trial, health or sickness – life or death.
4. THIS BOOK CONCERNS THE SAVIOUR
The Bible is the instrument the Holy Spirit uses to reveal Christ to His people: Christ, who is in all the scriptures, the theme of all scripture, and whom the Holy Spirit alone seeks to glorify – look up and compare John 5:39 and John 16:13-15. When the two were walking to Emmaus, Jesus walked with them, and we read that “beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself” (Luke 24:13-27, especially verses 15-27). This Book concerns the Saviour, who is in all the scriptures, and all scripture points to Him. Wherever we turn we see Him in the glory of His Person and the sufficiency of His work. Moreover, He is the Author of the Book. We love the Bible because it acquaints us with the Author and makes us “wise for salvation through faith in Christ” Jesus (2 Timothy 3:15).