A Greater Witness

If you have spent time on social media you have probably seen the meme that says, “If you are going to believe anything, start with believing the Bible.” That is a great meme, because it reminds us that there is a true, accurate, and faithful witness. The Bible reveals God, the truth about man, a proper understanding about what is happening in our world, how to are saved, and how everything is going to end. The Bible is the only book that can say that, and it is the only book that has been and continues to be proven to be 100% true. 1 John 4:9 says, “If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son.”

In the day and age of “fake news” which sucks so many people in, why do people often struggle to believe the Bible? There are a lot of reasons I’m sure, but I believe it all comes down to one thing. The Bible doesn’t paint the same rosy picture of man as we want to believe about ourselves. The message of the culture is that mankind can try harder and solve all of our problems ourselves. It seeks to define truth according to its standard. The problem is that man’s standards continue to change with the culture, and mankind’s idea of truth is based on our own sinful understandings of things. Not to mention that we only understand things from the past and how we view them in the present. We are unable to see in the future and see how decisions made today will affect generations to come. We always want to believe the best about ourselves, even if we know that what we think or wish isn’t the truth. John says even if the witness of a person is good, the witness of God is greater. We need solid, truth-telling teachers of the Word. However, we need to realize that even the best pastor/teacher is still fallible and prone to mistakes in our teaching. That is a humbling statement to write, but it is also 100% true. Only the Spirit of God teaching the Word of God is guaranteed to be 100% accurate. This is why it is so vital that every Christian learn to read the Bible, and depend upon the Holy Spirit to guide them in the truth for themselves. We have over the last several decades taught people to be dependent upon pastors or other teachers to tell them what the Bible says and means. I believe this has stunted the growth of so many Christians, and therefore the growth of the church has been stunted. This verse also speak to us who are pastors or teachers about the greatest teacher of the Bible. I’m not against commentaries at all. If you were to come to my office at Westlake, you will see several shelves filled with commentaries. However, pastors and teachers must resist the urge to trust their favorite commentaries explanation of a certain text. There is no better teacher of the Bible that the Holy Spirit. The greatest interpreter of the Bible is the Bible itself. Yes, it requires us to spend more time studying in tracking down cross references, and fitting a text into the overall storyline of God’s plan, but we must do it. We must not only do it for our own spiritual growth, but we must also do it so that we can help our people learn how to connect the dots from the Old Testament to the New Testament, and to see the grand redemptive plan of God that begins unfolding in Genesis and will be fulfilled in Revelation. What does this mean for us?

All of this means that if we are going to trust anything, let us trust the Bible first and foremost. As much as people have tried to explain it away or discredit it, they have never been able to do so. It has stood the test of time, because the Word of God reveals the eternal God. I would say this should also encourage us to pray for our pastors and teachers. They carry a very heavy burden, and the Bible says that they will give an account for how they live, but also have they teach. Speaking as a pastor, that can feel like a crushing weight at times. The last thing is be intentional about spending time in the Bible at least most days. Someone who only reads the Bible on Sunday is not going to go from one day a week to an hour a day. By the way, there isn’t a “standard” of how long you should read each day given in the Bible. Therefore, wherever you are right now, try to read a little more. If you are only reading it one day a week, try to start reading it three days a week. Then work towards more as you develop the habit of getting into the Word. Focus on learning and understanding what you are reading instead of trying to read a lot and not being able to remember what you read. The goal of reading the Bible is to know the God of the Bible. Think of it in terms of relationships. I have been married to Diana for almost 16 years. I know a lot about her. However, I didn’t learn it all at once. It has been slow and methodical. I have been intentional about trying to learn her and understand her. Why? Because I love her. The same should be true for us with God. For years there has been the “gold standard” of reading through the Bible in a year. For some you have been doing it for years, and you are remembering more. If that is you, that is great, continue to do it. However, if you are new to the Bible, don’t try to eat the whole elephant in one bite. Start small, and go from there. I have heard several people say, “people often overestimate what can be done in a short amount of time, but they underestimate what can be done over a longer period of time.” This is absolutely true when it comes to reading the Bible. Start where you are, and allow God to slowly, and steadily grow you in your faith as you read the Bible. Maybe it will take you two years to read through the Bible. But it would be better for it to take two years if you are learning and obeying the Bible, than to read it through in a year and not remember even five percent of what you read. Don’t let someone shame you because you aren’t reading through in a year. Remember, the witness of God is greater than the witness of man. Start where you are and take the next step for the love and glory of God.

By His grace and for His glory,

Pastor Justin

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