The Bible: Lamp or Sword?
If you were raised in the church, you may remember the old kiddy song The B*I*B*L*E (if not, you can listen to it here). The lyrics went "The B I B L E , yes that's the book for me. I stand alone on the Word of God, the B I B L E." Cute. Child-like. And child-ish (not in a bad way).
But for much of the world, the Bible is viewed with suspicion and even contempt. And why not? The church has used the scriptures arbitrarily to justify almost everything. Case in point: The American Civil War. Union churches used the Bible to justify war with the slave-holding Confederates. And Confederate churches used the Bible to defend slavery and to justify war against those impinging on their states' rights. Same book, different manipulations.
But even the Bible itself seems a bit confused about what it is. In Psalm 119:105 the Bible says the Word of God is a lamp for our feet and light to our paths. That sounds pretty peaceable (especially for the Old Testament!). But in the New Testament, on two occasions we're told the scriptures are like a sword. In Ephesians 6:17 the Bible says "Put on the helmet of salvation and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." Pretty un-peaceable. And in Hebrews 4:12 the writer tells us the scriptures are "sharper than any two-edges sword – it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow." Is the Bible a lamp or a sword? Peace or battle?
This week, I'm starting a new teaching series called The WORD of the day, and on Sunday we'll begin by taking a good, hard look at the Bible. What it is, where it came from, and why we at Raytown Christian Church hold that book in such high esteem. I hope you'll join me ... and go ahead and invite that skeptical friend of yours. The message could open up a great dialog!
Missed worship? Here's the Message Podcast