A Word Shaped Life

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Reading, hearing, believing, and obeying Scripture is the sum of the Christian life. In the Holy Scriptures we meet Christ and learn to become like Christ.  If a man is to be truly Christian then he must be a man of the Bible. The Bible will shape how he thinks, feels, and acts. This means we reject rationalism and emotionalism as foundations for truth.We do not reject emotion or rational thought. But we seek to bring our actions, thoughts, and emotions in line with God’s Word.

We are not emotionalists. We do not believe the Bible simply when we experience something emotionally. Most people today believe something to be true only if they feel it is true. True worship is worship which makes us feel a certain way.  Many Christians approach both the reading and preaching of Scripture the same way. If I experience a good feeling when I read the Bible then what I read spoke to me. Otherwise it did not. Christians are to believe and obey the Bible whether or not we feel it to be true.  Truth shapes our emotions. Emotion does not determine truth. If our feelings object to certain truths in the Scriptures, we need to change our feelings, not reject or change the Scriptures. This is not to reject emotion, but rather to say that our emotions are sinful and need to governed by God’s Word.

We are not rationalists. Truth is not determined by what makes sense to us. There are many truths in Scripture that hard to reconcile in our minds, such as the Trinity, the Incarnation, and even the creation of the world from nothing. And even beyond those obvious examples there are other Biblical truths that are odd or hard to reconcile with what we see. Is suffering good for us? Why should I have a bunch of kids in this terrible world we live? Our minds and eyes say, “No.” But reason should bend to the Bible, not vice-versa.  This does not mean that we do not use our mind. We are to honor God with our mind. We are to think, observe, meditate on, and analyze the world with our  minds. But our mind must be shaped by the Word.

Finally, not only must our mind and our emotions be shaped by God’s Word, but our actions must be also. Often the things we do and why we do them are influenced by the world more than by Scripture. This world could be the home we grew up in, the books we read, our friends, or the movies we watch.  Usually the influence from these various worlds lurks beneath the surface. We do not recognize  how heavily influenced by the world our actions are. The reading and preaching of the Word remind us that we are living like the world instead growing up into Christ. We should constantly be asking, “Am I walking in the ways of God?” The only way we know the answer to that question is by examining our life in light of God’s Word. 

We are to read and then re-read the Scriptures. But is this enough? The answer is no. We all come to the Scriptures with our own set of glasses, which can cause us to see things in the Bible which are not there or miss what is there. We should read the Bible privately. But beyond that and more importantly we must read the Bible with other believers in church and especially to give heed to the preached word. It is from the pulpit that our assumptions about God’s Word are most forcefully challenged. As we sit there week after week the Word works on us. In the Scriptures, the preached Word is the great tool God uses to make us like Christ.

Read the Bible. Listen to the Bible preached by men who know, love, and obey the Scriptures. Then shape your life, emotions, and mind by God’s good Word.