There is a startling increase in the number of people in America that don’t believe in the authority of the Bible. They wrestle with how to believe the Bible is true when, let’s be honest, there are some pretty bizarre passages like the one about the earth opening up and swallowing people who rebelled against God.
Here’s what Andy Stanley says: “Trying to appeal to post-Christian people on the basis of the authority of Scripture will have essentially the same effect as a Muslim imam appealing to you on the basis of the Quran’s authority. Whether you know what the Quran says doesn’t matter; it carries no weight with you. You don’t view it as authoritative. That’s exactly how almost half of our population views the Bible.”
Over the years, people have come to me and said, “You know, I just can’t accept the creation story or how God wiped out the human race with a flood, and that whole thing about a whale swallowing a man and spitting him out on dry ground. I’m just not feeling it. Nope. The Bible’s not for me.” And what I usually say to people in those situations is, “Well, I hear you. But our faith is in Jesus Christ, so why don’t we start with him?
Here’s one of the things that Jesus said that is included in the Bible: “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it” (Matthew 7:24-27).
Others might say, “That’s all good, but the Bible is just out of touch. It’s a bunch of stories about goody-two-shoes people who don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t chew and don’t hang out with people who do. It’s not relative to life today.” I think to myself, man what Bible are you reading? The Bible I read ought to be rated R in certain places because of the level of content that’s there—the violence, the raw grit of life, trials, dysfunction and brokenness. The Bible speaks to these real-life problems—our real-life problems—just as it did back then. God’s Word is living and active, and it imparts wisdom and guidance.
Nowhere does it say that if you build your house on the rock the storms won’t come. The storms are going to come to all of us one way or another. But when they do, Jesus says, if you build your life on My word, it will stand the test, and it will give you the strength you need to weather the storm. There is hope. That’s how we should be with the Bible—devouring it. And when you devour it, it will change your life. Then you will be able to share the good news with others.
Author’s note: This post was excerpted from the second message in our sermon series, Why?. The full message will be available online after March 18 at http://www.east91st.org/resources/sermons/series/why/