2nd September 2012

Yellow Pages And The Bible

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you  have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed, and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness….”
2 Timothy 3:14-16 (NIV UK)

The Yellow Pages Directories have been a familiar feature of homes and businesses for well over a hundred years. Even in this age of online directories, you’ve probably got one around somewhere.  And we all know how to use them. They provide an alphabetical listing of businesses and services. So, if I want to find a plumber, someone to fix my computer, or make a reservation at a certain kind of restaurant, all I have to do is look in my Yellow pages.

But suppose I want to know—for example— the favourite colour of my local politician. Well, I just look up his ‘surgery’ office in the section on local government, and check under “favourite colour” and… well, of course, I don’t find it. Have Yellow Pages failed me? Of course not—that would be ridiculous. We all know that that kind of information isn’t in Yellow Pages.

So why, then, don’t we have the same approach to another old book that you most likely have in your home?—the Bible. That’s been around a lot longer than Yellow Pages! And yet it is surprising how many people don’t really know what the Bible is for. It’s brought out for weddings and funerals and for “swearing in” ceremonies. But many of us don’t touch it at other times. It is known as the “good book,” but we don’t seem to know exactly what it’s good for.

Some believers seem to think they can find the answer to any question imaginable somewhere within its pages. They regard it as the final authority on matters of diet, what to wear, what entertainment is appropriate, what hobbies to have, and so on. Some claim it gives us advance information about the major world events of our time. Some even claim that embedded in the text of the Bible is coded information that allows them to predict when the world will end. And, even though their end-time predictions are always wrong, it doesn’t deter them. They plunge back in, searching the Scriptures carefully until they come up with another secret, scripture-based interpretation.

Paul tells Timothy what the Bible is for (you read it above). And that is how we should use it—as a reliable guide to salvation. It teaches us about Jesus, and how we can look to him and always rely on him. The Bible answers the really important questions of life. But we shouldn’t expect it to answer every question. That’s not what it’s for, and to use it that way makes about as much sense as, well, looking in Yellow Pages to find out your local politician’s favourite colour!

Holy Father, we give you thanks that you focus our attention on the important things in life—salvation. We are so easily distracted; help us, please, to keep the focus as we live the Christian way of life. In Jesus’ name we pray.

Study by Joseph Tkach

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