“To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isa. 8:20). Isaiah faced people who were believing and practicing things that were completely contrary to the revealed will of God (cf. Isa. 8:19). Today, both religious and non-religious people believe and do things that are not Bible centered. Jesus knew that what is inspired of God is authoritative and essential (cf. Matt. 4:4). Jesus also knew that knowing without practicing was foolishness (cf. Matt. 7:26-27).
Sometimes people get into religious discussions over matters where contradictory positions are taken. It was not uncommon years ago for members of the church to challenge their friends with the words “Give me the verse.” Many a person has been led to “the true grace of God” (1 Peter 5:12) by confronting people to support their claims with Biblical passages. While some may take offense to such an approach, there is still a valid reason for asking for Bible authority for spiritual beliefs and practices. Consider three areas where this simple approach is certified.
Faith Demands a Verse.“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). This fundamental passage clearly teaches that what one believes must be tied to a statement from God. One is foolish to believe anything of a religious nature without divine revelation (i.e. the Bible) for believing it. The Bereans knew that Paul’s preaching must harmonize with the Scriptures to be true. Luke wrote of these, by saying, “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11). The next verse states, “Therefore many of them believed; also of honorable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few” (Acts 17:12). Here is a Biblical illustration of Romans 10:17 in these Bereans. Their faith was tied to the revelation given by an inspired apostle and the inspired written word of God. They would not believe if the Bible did not verify it.
Fighting the Good Fight Demands a Verse. Fighting the good fight (cf. 1 Tim. 6:12) demands that the faith be defended. Whenever someone questions spiritual things, one cannot go wrong with the example of the Lord who said, “What is written in the law? how readest thou?” (Luke 10:26). While Jesus was addressing the law of Moses, mankind is under the law of Christ today (cf. 1 Cor. 9:21; Gal. 6:2). The statements would hold as true today as Jesus gave them questions to the man. Brethren are to earnestly contend for the faith (cf. Jude 3) and such demands a verse of Scripture for everything (cf. Col. 3:17).
Fully Equipped for the Judgment Day Demands a Verse. All scripture profits, perfects and powerfully equips people to every good work (cf. 2 Tim. 3:16-17). The greatest work a person can do for himself is save his/her own soul in view of the day of judgment (cf. Acts 2:40; 1 Tim. 4:16). Every person will give account of his deeds (cf. 2 Cor. 5:10). John was shown the nature of how one will be judged by being shown the opened books (i.e. the books of the Bible) and the book of life (cf. Rev. 20:12). It is the Lord’s words that will judge (cf. John 12:48). The judgment demands living the Bible.
“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip” (Heb. 2:1). This exhortation calls for all, including the writer of the book of Hebrews, to give the more earnest heed to what has been heard. That message which was heard was the word of God (cf. Heb. 2:2-3). The book of Hebrews is a great book to encourage all to remember the special details that God has given through His word. Consider three from this special book.
A Great High Priest. “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:14-16). Access to that great throne of grace is through the priesthood of the Son of God. Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father” (Eph. 2:16-18). Paul wrote to the Roman brethren, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Rom. 5:1-2). The sacrifice of the body of Christ and the service given as the great high priest in the heavens are things that the child of God can claim for strength and optimism.
A Great Hope Promised.“Wherein God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil” (Heb. 6:17-19). The oath and impeccable truth of God to His word gives the anchor of the soul for the future. Life that is lived without hope is the saddest of all existences. God did not intend for His children to have such a dismal view of life. The promise made to Abraham has been fulfilled in Christ and is for all who submit to the will of the Father. Christ has made open the living way to heaven through redemption from sin and the resurrection of the death of His Son (cf. Heb. 10:7-23).
A Great Heavenly Provision.“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Heb. 13:5-6). The abiding presence of God caring for His people is a sustainer of the heart and life. The eyes of the Lord, while invisible to man, are upon mankind (cf. Heb. 4:13) and His ear is open to the prayer of the righteous (cf. 1 Peter 3:12). Seeking first things first brings a sufficiency in the provisions of God (cf. Matt. 6:33).
“My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother” (Prov. 1:8). The Second Sunday in May has traditionally been deemed as Mother’s Day to honor mothers everywhere. All of humanity should have to admit that good parenting is a key to a productive and successful life from birth through childhood and even beyond. Solomon closed the book of Proverbs with a chapter beginning with the words, “The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him” (Prov. 31:1). The law (torah in Hebrew meaning direction, instruction, law) of one’s mother is the general instruction that mothers would give to their children. The exhortation is not to forsake or leave a mother’s teaching. Consider some things found in Proverbs about children and their mothers.
Admonitions for Making Wise.“My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother: . . . For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life: To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman” (Prov. 6:20, 23-24). The combined and unified teaching of both the father and mother go a long way to helping the inexperienced find their way through the maze of problems in life. Wisdom calls for the older generation, especially parents, giving to their children what is both proactive and preventive instruction. Proverbs closes with words from a mother who said to her son, “Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings. It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink” (Prov. 31:3-4). All children would do well to listen to such teaching.
Appreciation from a Wise Child. Proverbs is replete with passages warning children about wrong attitudes toward the teaching of parents. A wise child is seen as one who shows appreciation for the instruction of father and mother. A foolish son is seen as one who creates problems. Solomon wrote, “A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother” (Prov. 10:1). “A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish man despiseth his mother” (Prov. 15:20). “He that wasteth his father, and chaseth away his mother, is a son that causeth shame, and bringeth reproach” (Prov. 19:26). “Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old” (Prov. 23:22). “Whoso robbeth his father or his mother, and saith, It is no transgression; the same is the companion of a destroyer” (Prov. 28:24). “The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it” (Prov. 30:17).
Admiration from a Wise Child. Proverbs closes with the model wife and mother. It is written of her children and husband, “Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her” (Prov. 31:28). This instruction of a mother to her son (cf. Prov. 31:1) shows that she was seeking the best for her son when it came to choosing a wife and future mother of his children. A mother who practices and teaches the law of the Lord is indeed a blessing. Honoring such women for the sacrifices made over the many years is truly an honorable act.