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OceanSide church of Christ

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PEOPLE OF THE BOOK

Victor M. Eskew

 

            The Bible contains the mind of God (I Cor. 2:9-13).  It is a powerful Book (Heb. 4:12) intended to save the souls of the lost (Rom. 1:16-17).  It contains all that mankind needs for both life and godliness (II Pet. 1:3).  Members of the church of Christ love, cherish, and respect The Holy Bible.  They pride themselves on being a “people of the Book.”

            This writer believes that it is good to remind ourselves of what it means for us to be a people of the Book.  First, people of the Book believe that the Bible is the inspired revelation from God to man.  II Timothy 3:16 expresses the belief that they hold deeply within their hearts.  “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”  As an inspired work, everything contained within the pages of the Bible is true.  There are no errors.  There are no contradictions.  Every word is the word of God.  It is not a message that in any way originated in the minds of mortal man.  “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation.  For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man:  but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (II Pet. 1:20-21).  People of the Book believe that the Bible is the only book on earth that has been revealed by the Almighty God of heaven.

            Second, people of the Book commit themselves to living the Book.  It is not enough for a man to know the message; he must apply the message to his life.  James said:  “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.  For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:  for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.  But whoso looketh in the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed” (James 1:22-25).  When the Book is lived properly, one’s life will conform to the image of God’s Son.  This is the goal of every faithful child of God (Rom. 8:29).

            Third, people of the Book are eager and willing to teach the Book to others.  Jesus instructed His apostles, saying:  “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations…” (Matt. 28:19).  In verse 20, He reveals that which is to be taught.  “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I command you:  and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”  This teaching involves the truth of the gospel that sets men free from sin (John 8:32).  In involves words that will build one up and lead him to his eternal inheritance (Acts 20:32).  If it is not taught, men cannot believe and call on the name of the Lord (Rom. 10:13-17).  Therefore, the people of the Book commit themselves to faithfully proclaiming the word to others.

            Fourth, people of the Book are willing to defend the Book.  The Bible has always had it enemies.  The atheists, agnostics, and skeptics deny its message.  The modernist refuses to believe that it is the inspired Word of God.  Those in denominations and those caught in the throes of liberalism add to, take from and pervert the Bible.  Thus, people of the Book set themselves up to defend the gospel.  They take the attitude of the apostle Paul, who said:  “But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defense of the gospel” (Phil. 1:17).  Some have come to believe that the gospel does not need defending, but if it is not defended, there will be many who lose their souls to false doctrine.  Jude realized this and exhorted his readers to earnestly contend for the faith (Jude 3).

            There was a time when our nation respected God’s holy Book.  There was a time when the Book of God was a primary text in our educational system.  There was a time when the judicial system diligently followed the precepts of the Book.  Times, however, have changed.  God’s Word is not respected in many circles today.  This should never be the case among the people of God.  They should pride themselves in being “people of the Book.”  They believe the Book.  They live the Book.  They teach the Book.  They defend the Book.  They do this because they know that one day they will be judged by the Book.  “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him:  the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48).