“Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day” (Ps 119:97)
If you grew up in the church, you have probably heard many times that we should read, meditate, and love the Bible… But have you wondered why? Why should we love God’s Word?
Once we put our trust in Christ, our worldview starts to change. Our worldview is how we understand/perceive the world. Dr Miller defines it as a “set of assumptions held consciously or unconsciously about the basic makeup of the world and how the world works” and those “assumptions control how we think” (D. Cashin).
We could summarize it with four fundamental questions: How do we know true from false (epistemology)? How do we know right from wrong (axiology)? Who are we (ontology)? What is our community (sociology)? Before our conversion, our answers to those questions were different than after. What I am going to do is to look at how God’s Word transforms our worldview, and therefore why we should love it.
How do we know true from false?
In a survey I had to do a few years ago with international students, most students responded “science” or I should say a scientific process or by experience:
- We make an hypothesis
- We experiment
- We conclude whether it is true or not
For example, we make the hypothesis that getting slapped hurts. We run some tests and after getting slapped enough, we conclude that our premise is true.
Another answer was what parents and older people tell us. As children, our parents are our main teachers. They are those who define what is true or not to us. We learn reality through their lens. Haven’t we all believed Santa Klaus was real because our parents told us so?
Why can the Bible be our legitimate authority?
Now when we become Christian, the Bible slowly becomes our source of truth. It becomes what we call our authority for truth. It does not mean it is necessarily contradictory to other sources of truth. It does not displace the role of science. Learning by experience can still be a source of knowledge. For example, airplanes fly and we use science for that, not the Bible. But it does not mean the Bible is not true because it does not try to say anything about airplanes!
But the reason why people often see science and faith in the Bible as opposite is because they think about the Bible from a framework of thoughts that denies the existence of God. They may say the Bible cannot be true because there is no such a thing as miracles. At best, they are extraordinary, coincidental but natural phenomena, but true miracles are impossible. For example, in Exodus, Moses shouts to God and a strong wind splits the sea in two. They wonder how is that possible unless it is shallow water, but if it is shallow water, how can the Egyptian army drown in it? Therefore, the Bible must not be true.
But what they actually do is the judge the Bible in a framework where there is no God who can bend the laws of physics. Their underlying assumption is that reason/logic is the ultimate authority because they assume they can prove the truthfulness of the Bible and therefore the existence of God through a logical approach.
But with this approach, we make the assumption that the world is always rational. We assume there is always a cause to a result. We think we do not need faith with science because we experience the truth. But that assumption must be taken by faith. To build logical reasoning, we must assume the universe works rationally. For example, if each time you throw an apple, you see it falling on the ground. The 10th time you try, you expect the same or if it doesn’t, you expect a cause to that.
Just like when your parents and professors teach you, they are authorities for the truth that you believe when you learn from them. You take them by faith as well. So this “scientific” approach is also a faith-based approach and it is not greater than a biblical approach to truth. Therefore the Bible can legitimately be taken as authority to tell us what is true. That’s what Ps 119:99-100 imply when it says:
“I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the aged, for I keep your precepts”
It does not say that professors, parents, mentors are not useful. But that the Word of God is a greater authority to understand the truth and to obey to God.
Another good example is the Jews in Berea (Acts). The apostle Paul went to Berea to preach the Good News of Jesus to the Jews in the synagogue. It says that the Jews “received the word [of Paul] with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so” (Acts 17:11). They looked at Scripture to see if Paul was correct or not. Scripture was their authority for the truth.
Our knowledge of the truth is transformed when we decide to put our faith in the Bible
We finally get to the point: why should we love God’s Word then? We said there are two (usually in our western mindset) frameworks of thoughts. One where reason is what defines truth and where we usually tend to deny the existence of God… and another one where God and His Word defines truth… though it does not deny that the world is rational.
My point is that we should love God’s Word because we move from the old framework or worldview to the new worldview through the study and meditation of the Bible. What the Bible does is to reshape our understanding of the world. It reshapes our worldview.
The Bible transforms our knowledge of what is right and wrong
In today’s American culture, the definition of right and wrong is often seen as relative. The response I got from the survey with the Chinese students was often that right and wrong depends on people: “I do whatever I want. I can go get drunk if I think it is right. I can go sleep with whoever I want if I want to. etc.” We could debate for how this relativism is not viable, but my point is that once we start to submit to the Word fo God, our definition of right and wrong moves toward what the Bible defines as right and wrong.
We can see that in Ps 119:101 “I hold back my feet from every evil way, in order to keep your word.” The Bible teaches us what is right and wrong for the purpose of obedience. It guide us to walk in righteousness so that we can please God in all that we do.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Ti 3:16–17)
The Bible transforms our knowledge of ourselves
The Bible transforms our knowledge of who we are. From an atheistic perspective, we are the result of a random process called evolution and there is nothing after death. But what the Bible teaches us is who we are in the light of who God is.
Ps 119:102 says “I do not turn aside from your rules, for you have taught me.” The reason why the Bible is so valuable is because of its Author. The Bible reveals who God is. It teaches what God wants and who God is. I actually like reading the Law of Moses because I see God’s compassion as He sets up laws for Israel to care for the widow, the orphan, and the foreigner.
“The Word reveals God’s mind, so we should learn it; God’s heart, so we should love it; God’s will, so we should live it. Our whole being—mind, will, and heart—should be controlled by the Word of God… We do not study the Bible just to get to know the Bible. We study the Bible that we might get to know God better. Too many earnest Bible students are content with outlines and explanations, and do not really get to know God. It is good to know the Word of God, but this should help us better know the God of the Word.” (Wiersbe, 2:397)
“Thinking: humble task of cutting wood for the fire – knowledge is the fuel of the fire of love for God and man” (J. Piper, Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God)
Studying the Bible increases our love for God and for men. The Bible teaches that God is the creator of life – now whether there is a guided evolution, that’s another discussion. It teaches that Heaven or Hell are our eternal destinies. It teaches we were made to glorify Him and delight in Him. It teaches that we have value because of who God is.
In conclusion, we should love the Word of God because it is “a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Ps 119:105). It is God’s guiding tool for our lives: to know Him, to please Him and to make Him known. Without Bible, there is no spiritual growth. Be renewed in your mind. Be transformed in your worldview.
“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Ps 119:103)