Once again, look with me at II Timothy 3:16, 17. Let’s focus on “instruction in righteousness”—how to stay right. We know how to get back into the will of God, but how do we stay there? The Word of God is what we need for staying right and living a holy life.
To whom do you go for counsel? The psalmist said, “Your testimonies also are my delight and my counselors” (Ps. 119:24). In the Hebrew, that phrase is “the men of my counsel.” Some people are forever running to other people for advice and counsel. But the Word of God instructs us in righteousness. The Christian life is a life of learning—a life of studying the Bible, learning the will of God and coming to know the God of the Word.
Let’s consider some aspects of this important truth. To begin with, our textbook in life is the Bible. it is a miracle book. It is miraculous in its origin, for it was inspired by the Holy Spirit of God (II Tim. 3:16). The Holy Spirit spoke, and men of God wrote. Though their styles and their approaches were different, their message came from God. Paul did not write like John, and John did not write like Isaiah. Each one’s writing was distinctive, and yet the Spirit of god produced an inspired book. He “breathed out” the Word of God. He breathed upon those who wrote the Word of God.
The Bible is also a living book. The Word of God is living and powerful according to Hebrews 4:12. First Peter tells us that we are born again through the Word of God that lives and abides forever (1:23). The Word of God gives life. It also sustains life. When people say, “Oh, the Bible is so boring, and going to church is so boring!” it is perhaps an evidence that they don’t possess spiritual life within. When you have God’s life, you love God’s Word.
Millions of books are available in the world today. Every year thousands of religious books are published. However, the Book of books is the Word of God. We don’t read other books to test the Word of God. We read the word of God to test the books that men have written.
The Bible is a true book. We can trust it. “Therefore all Your precepts concerning all things I consider to be right; I hate every false way” (Ps. 119:128). Whatever the Bible says about history or geography or science is right. Whatever it says about man and God and sin and judgment is right. The Bible is one book we can trust completely. It is inerrant.
The difference between the Bible and all other textbooks is this: In order to understand the Bible, you must know the author. During my formal education, I read many textbooks. Sometimes the instructor of the class was the author. But I could read and understand the book without knowing the author personally. This is not true of the Bible. Many people are bored in church, not because it is boring but because they don’t know Jesus Christ as their Saviour. The Holy Spirit does not live within them. They cannot truly call God their Father. Therefore, the Word of God doesn’t make sense to them. To them, the Bible is just a boring, burdensome book. This isn’t true of those who know Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. They love the Word of God.
Our textbook is the Bible, and our teacher is the Holy Spirit of God. Unless you have the life of God within, unless the Spirit of God is teaching you, you won’t be able to understand the Bible. A knowledge of the Word of God does not depend on a high IQ. Some of the finest students of God’s Word I have known were humble people who never got past the eighth grade. But, oh, how they understood God’s Word! Why? Because they were yielded to God’s Spirit.
“But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (I Cor. 2:14). Without the Holy Spirit, we simply cannot understand the things of the Lord. He wrote the Word, and He teaches the Word. Jesus made that clear in John 14:25, 26: “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper [the Comforter], the Holy Spirit, who the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance the things that I said to you.”
The Holy Spirit doesn’t teach me trigonometry or Greek or Sanskrit. He can help me, but I must apply myself. He does teach me the truths of the Word of God if I give Him the opportunity. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth (16:13). The Word of God is the Word of truth (II Tim. 2:15). Jesus said, “I am…the truth” (John 14:6). Therefore, when you open the Word of truth and are guided by the Spirit of truth, you will see the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the truth; and then you will grow spiritually.
Obedience is part of knowing the Word of God. When we do what God’s Word tells us to do, the Holy Spirit keeps on teaching us the truth of the Word of the living God (see 7:17).
© 2005 Warren W. Wiersbe
© 1989 by The Good News Broadcasting Association, Inc. All rights reserved.
Dr. Warren Wiersbe (1929-2019) was an internationally known Bible teacher, author, and conference speaker. He graduated in 1953 from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Lombard, Illinois. While attending seminary, he was ordained as pastor of Central Baptist Church in 1951 and served until 1957. From September 1957 to 1961, Wiersbe served as Director of The Literature Division for Youth for Christ International. From 1961 to 1971 he pastored Calvary Baptist Church of Covington, Kentucky south of Cincinnati, Ohio. His sermons were broadcast as the “Calvary Hour” on a local Cincinnati radio station. From 1971 to 1978, He served as the pastor of Moody Church in Chicago 1971 to 1978. While at Moody Church he continued in radio ministry. Between August 1979 and March 1982, he wrote bi-weekly for Christianity Today as “Eutychus X”, taught practical theology classes at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, and wrote the course material and taught a Doctor of Ministry course at Trinity and Dallas Seminary. In 1980 he transitioned to Back to the Bible radio broadcasting network where he worked until 1990. Dr. Wiersbe became Writer in Residence at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids and Distinguished Professor of Preaching at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. In his lifetime, Dr. Wiersbe wrote over 170 books—including the popular Be series, which has sold over four million copies. Dr. Wiersbe was awarded the Gold Medallion Lifetime Achievement by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA).