A Bible is pretty versatile. It can be a file. Did you ever notice how much people stick in their Bible? I look at mine sometimes, and I find a number of things in there I don’t want to lose. Unfortunately, it does hurt the binding a little bit. Sometimes the Bible can be a record book. You see these Bibles where people put important dates, their family tree, weddings, deaths, and the autographs of people whose ministry they want to remember.
A Bible can be an antique. You can go into an antique store and drop quite a few bucks getting one of those old Bibles. And a Bible is a great gift. I’ve gotten several as a gift. A Bible can be your identification. I used to carry mine to school. My kids carried theirs to school; it sort of identifies you as a follower of Christ. And at some times in my life, the Bible’s been a textbook. Oh yeah, there are a lot of ways you can use your Bible. There’s one I hope you never use.
I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about “The Problem with Bible Clubs.”
Our word for today from the Word of God, 2 Timothy 4:2 – “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.” This is a call, I think, to Bible balance. First of all, Paul is saying, “Use God’s Word to help people know what’s right; that’s correct. To warn them about what they’re doing wrong; that’s rebuke. And to encourage them in what they’re doing right. Use this book boldly to change people’s lives. That’s certainly part of it.
Here’s the other part: Do it gently, do it patiently, do it carefully. Don’t use the Bible as a club! You can use it for a lot of things, but not as a club to win an argument, or beat a person down, or shame them, or corner them. I know it’s good to have some Bible clubs where kids meet to study the Bible around the school. I did that in high school. But don’t use the Bible as a club. Too many people use the words of the Bible but they lose the spirit of the Bible while they’re doing it.
Ephesians 4:15 is a perfect balance, “Speaking the truth in love.” The problem is that often the truth-bearers leave out the love, and the lovers leave out the truth. It’s important to be sure that you measure everything you believe and behave by God’s Word. There is no room for, “Well, in my opinion…” Or, “I don’t feel like it…” Or, “It doesn’t seem right to me.” Or, “I just read this great Christian book and it says…” No, show me what the Bible says. God has spoken – the final word.
It’s important to remind each other of what the Bible says about how we’re living. But it’s important to be gentle, non-condemning and patient like God has been with you. We want to make sure that when we’re communicating the truth, we’re also communicating, “I care about you. That’s why I’m doing this. That’s why I’m giving you what the Bible says, to correct, or to rebuke or encourage. I want God’s best in your life. You’re made for more. You’re better than this.” Not, “I’m sitting in judgment, and here are my verses.”
Hebrews 4:12 says, “The Bible penetrates between soul and spirit.” It’s a sword that does that; it judges. We don’t judge, God’s Word judges. So let God’s Word do the judging. Share it and then let it do the penetrating work God has promised.
Use God’s Word to love people with the truth. Don’t use it as a club.