Letting God speak for Himself

Letting God speak for Himself

Sometimes you might hear someone say something like this:

  • “I hope the sermon today is interesting; I hope the preacher uses funny illustrations and makes the Bible interesting”; or
  • “I love that particular Christian blogger; they make the Bible relevant to me”; or
  • “I think non-Christians won’t be interested in the Bible; let’s reduce the amount of Bible read and preached in the church service, so it is more relevant to them.”

All of these statements are well-intentioned (well, maybe not the first one which seems pretty selfish). They are also all wrong. What underlies each of these statements is a belief that the Bible is kind of dated, kind of boring, and what we really need is a talented person who can take this average raw material and mould it into something useful and interesting.

The problem is that the Bible is God’s word. It is inherently relevant and useful and interesting. It reveals to us the most important things we could ever know and shows us what our Creator and Redeemer is really like. If we understand the Bible to be boring, that either reflects badly on the people who have been explaining it to us, or it reflects badly on our attitude.

The Bible says all kinds of things about what it is like, things like this:

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Heb. 4:12 ESV)

Those who are not Christian need to hear God’s word explained to them; this is what will pierce their soul and impact their heart. That will not happen with just good rhetoric or a powerful speaker using self-help techniques. It is the word of God through his Word by His Spirit.

I am someone who preaches the Bible to people most weeks. My job is not to make the Bible relevant or useful; it is already these things. I just need to explain it, point out what it means and the implications, and God will use it to change hearts. It is not my skill that changes anyone; it is not that wonderful illustration that I include that will change anyone’s direction in life. God uses his Word to change hearts. I just need to explain it and get out of the way.

All of this means that we should strive to read the Bible above what others say about the Bible. And when we come to hear God’s word preached, expect it to be useful and interesting. Expect to be convicted and changed. Not because you like the preacher, but because God’s word always does that. Listen to preachers that explain God’s word to you, not talented speakers who speak about anything except God’s word and the wonder of Jesus who died in your place.