For a healthy relationship with God, we should engage the Bible in our community of faith, guided by the Holy Spirit.
I grew up singing songs about the Bible, memorizing Scripture, and hearing sermons preached from its pages. It all started when I was about nine years old with a Sunday school teacher who challenged us to read something from the Bible every day of the week. She promised to give us a gold star next to our name if we had done so! What started as a self-centered approach to having the most gold stars next to my name turned into a Spirit-led encounter with the pages of Scripture that changed my life.
The more I read the Bible, the less fearful of it I became. At the same time, reading the Bible made me increasingly uncomfortable with many of my own ways of looking at reality. How could one book make me feel so much peace and so much discomfort at the same time? When I later responded to the call of the Holy Spirit to truly become a follower of Jesus, this same Holy Spirit was bringing to life the pages of that sacred book in a way that challenged and changed me. A variety of brothers and sisters in Christ taught me how to read it, interpret it, and apply it to my life.
Along the way, I have encountered those who misuse the Bible for their own purposes. I have also encountered those who want the Bible to be something other than what it was intended to be. I have misused the Bible at times, too. But, when I allow the Spirit of God, working in the context of the community of faith, to utilize the Bible for its intended purpose—namely, to lead me from my sinful state into a growing relationship with the Living God through Jesus Christ—then I am able to read the Bible for all it’s worth and to focus on the God who inspired its writing.
In this issue of Holiness Today, we will hear from men and women who have spent their lives studying and following Scripture. The purpose of these gallery articles is to renew our passion for these sacred texts and to glean insights to help us read and apply the timeless truths of the Bible to our lives.
This community book called the Bible has been written and passed down to us so that we may truly be the community of faith that God intended His people to be.
May we rediscover our passionate pursuit of the ways of Jesus as we are guided by these sacred words.
Charles W. Christian is managing editor of Holiness Today.
Holiness Today, Jul/Aug 2018.