Reformed Reflections

The Bible is its Own Defence

When Charles Spurgeon was asked by a young man: "Dr. Spurgeon, how can I defend the Bible?" the great expositor replied: "How would you defend a lion? Let it out of its cage and it will defend itself!"

Persuaded by the testimony of the Bible itself that God's Word never returns void (Isaiah 55:11) but is "living, and active, and sharper than any two edged sword" (Hebrews 4:12), this article will not be a formal defense of Scripture. The Bible will take care of itself if it is read and studied, and its message proclaimed in its own light.

The Bible claims to be God's Word, the truth of God, and insists on our complete submission to its authority. As it is the living Word of God, the Bible asserts itself in the face of all opposition and all efforts to reduce it to a mere human book, a classic in literature. The more we read the Bible the more profound we find it to be.

Generations have studied it and have found it a safe and sure guide. Thousands of volumes have been devoted to its exposition, but its riches and depth of wisdom have not been exhausted. Scholars from all over the world are still producing new studies on this amazing Book of books.

Throughout the centuries the Biblical message has gripped and moulded men. In the fourth century Chrysostom praised the excellence of Scripture: "Yea, rather the reading of the divine Scriptures is not a meadow only, but a paradise; for the flowers here have not a mere fragrance only, but fruit too, capable of nourishing the soul. "

In the sixteenth century the Reformers had the same reverence for God's Word. John Calvin regarded his life's work as the faithful exposition and systematization of the teaching of the Bible. He confessed about God's Word: "Our wisdom ought to be nothing else than to embrace in gentle docility, and without any exception, whatever is handed down to us in the Sacred Scriptures....The Scriptures are the school of the Holy Spirit, in which nothing is omitted which it is necessary and useful to know and nothing is taught except what it is of advantage to know."

Martin Luther had also a high view of Scripture. He said concerning this holy writ: "No book, teaching, or word is able to comfort in troubles, fear, misery, death, yea, in the midst of devils and in hell, except this book, which teaches us God's Word and in which God Himself speaks with us as a man speaks with his friend.... No book but Holy Scripture can comfort us. It alone has the title St. Paul gives it: "The Book of Comfort” (Romans 15:4).

"It can support the soul in all tribulations so that it does not give way to despair but keeps on hoping; for the soul apprehends the Word of God, in which it learns His gracious will, to which it firmly clings, and thus remains unshaken in life and death. But the man who does not know the will of God must doubt; for he does not know what his relation to God really is...

"The Bible is the proper book for men. There the truth is distinguished from error far more clearly than anywhere else, and one finds something new in it every day. For twenty-eight years, since I became a doctor, I have constantly read and preached the Bible; and yet I have not exhausted it but find something new in it every day."

The Bible is most, precious to the Christian. The Bible testifies of Jesus Christ. It is Christ-centered from Genesis to Revelation. The Old Testament is a prophecy of His coming while the New Testament is a record of its fulfillment. The Bible gives a solid outlook on life and the world.

Without the Bible, history is a clueless maze, a mass of contradictions, a chaos.. The Bible gives the interpreting principle to events. Above all it alone answers the burning question: "What must I do to be saved?"

The Bible has a message not just for the individual. We need to be reminded that the Biblical message is for all of life. We cannot go into a huddle and leave the world in the hands of the enemies of God and look on ourselves as squatters on the earth. We should not accept eviction nor give the world to believe that God has abdicated. God is not an absentee landlord, nor a king in exile.

The Bible has a message for the nation. The world is its parish. It always remains the final court of appeal. It alone is the basis for testing the spirits of this age. Dr. John Warwick Montgomery observed: "The spirits, most definitely including the spirits of the age, must be tested (1 John 4:1); and the only touchstone remains the inscripturated Word.

The instability of current 'action' philosophies and theologies is becoming evident as our contemporaries, a la Aldous Huxley and Timothy Leary, simultaneously seek answers in Eastern mysticism and reality-avoiding psychedelic drugs.

Unconsciously, modern man recognizes that, whether in the metropolis or in the wilderness, whether in action or in silence, his heart, to recall Augustine's great truth, is restless till it rests in God. But to rest there it must know who God is and what He has done for sinful man, and that can only be learned in the pages of Holy Writ."

Read and study the Scripture. Submit yourself to it as your complete rule and authority for life. In it you find everything that is necessary as to what we must believe concerning God and what duty God requires of man.

Johan D. Tangelder
November, 1972