By REV. LUNA L. DINGAYAN
“All Scripture is inspired of God and is useful for teaching the truth, rebuking error, correcting faults, and giving instructions for the right living, so that the person who serves God may be fully qualified and equiped to do every kind of good deed.” — II Timothy 3:16
National Bible Week
January 21-27 is declared as National Bible Week. It is perhaps an attempt on the part of our national leadership to give due recognition of the centrality and importance of the Biblical Scriptures to our nation’s life. As a matter of fact, if only our nation’s leadership would really read and study the Bible and live by its message, then perhaps we might have lesser problems as a nation.
The worse thing that may happen is if and when the declaration of National Bible Week would be used only to make it appear that we are indeed a Christian nation, and worst still, to cover up the graft and corruption, political killings and other anomalies for which we have become famous as a nation. It would be a great disservice and desecration of the Scripture if and when it is used for such vested interests. For that is not the purpose of the Scripture.
In his second letter to Timothy, Apostle Paul says, “All Scripture is inspired of God and is useful for teaching the truth, rebuking error, correcting faults, and giving instructions for right living, so that the person who serves God may be fully qualified and equipped to do every kind of good deed”(II Tim. 3:16). This is the very nature and purpose of the Scripture.
Inspired of God
First of all, the Scripture is “inspired of God.” Literally, it means it is “in the spirit of God. God breathed His breath of life into the Scripture so that through the Bible God speaks to us. By seriously reading and studying the Scripture, we would come to know and understand God’s will and purpose for our lives.
The Bible is like a mirror on which we see ourselves: who we are, and what we can become as God wills us to be.
Teaching the Truth
Apostle Paul says the Bible is useful in “teaching the truth.” The Bible starts and ends with the affirmation that God indeed is the Lord of all. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen.1:1). “I am the first and the last, the beginning and the end” (Rev. 22:13).
This Biblical declaration that God is the Lord of all is a very important reminder for us, especially in our time when leaders of nations and modern-day empires are trying to lord it over the people as if they are the lords of all. We have to remind ourselves always that we have the Lord of lords and the King of kings. This Scriptural affirmation teaches us to live by this truth, especially at this time when lies and deception seem to be the order of the day. A recent survey shows us that most people in the world today distrust politicians and doubt their truthfulness and sincerity.
Apostle Paul also says in his letter that the Bible is useful in ‘rebuking error.” It is in the Scripture that we read the story of King David, the greatest king of Israel. When he saw Bathsheba, the beautiful wife of his Hittite soldier, Uriah, he took advantage of her. And to cover up his wrongdoing, he ultimately ordered Uriah’s death in the front line of battle and took Bathsheba to be his wife (II Sam. 11:1-12). But God saw what happened and sent His Prophet Nathan to confront King David. And the Prophet made use of a parable to rebuke the King’s evil deeds.
Now, if only political leaders today who are making use of political killings to silence their enemies or to cover up their misdeeds would read and study the Scripture, then perhaps they would see themselves in a mirror, and hopefully repent of their sins, like King David.
Again, Apostle Paul also says the Bible is useful in “correcting faults.” It is also in the Scripture that we read about the life of King Solomon, famous of his wealth and wisdom. But he was also infamous of his so many wives and concubines, high taxes and forced labor policy and war economy that brought him away from God and led to the division of his kingdom after his death (I Kings 3,10-12).
That’s why the Deuteronomic writers later on revised the Mosaic Law and included instructions for would-be kings (Dt. 17:14-20). Part of the instructions says, “The king is not to have many wives, because this would make him turn away from the Lord; and he is not to make himself rich with silver and gold”(v.17). How we wish our political leaders today would read and reflect on this portion of the Scripture; they might be able to get a glimpse of the brighter side of the Solomonic wisdom.
Finally, Apostle Paul also says in his letter the Scripture is useful in “giving instructions for right living.” It is in the Scripture that we read about the life of King Lemuel. His mother gave him some instructions on how to be a good king. Part of her instructions says, “You are my own dear son, the answer to my prayers. What shall I tell you? Don’t spend all your energy on sex and all your money on women; they have destroyed kings. Listen, Lemuel. Kings should not drink wine or have a craving for alcohol. When they drink, they forget the laws and ignore the rights of the people in need…Speak up for people who cannot speak for themselves. Protect the rights of all who are helpless. Speak for them and be a righteous judge. Protect the rights of the poor and the needy” (Prov. 31:2-5,8-9).
Again, how we wish our political leaders today, especially those who are already positioning for the 2010 elections, to read and study this portion the Scripture and apply the Biblical teachings in their own lives.
This is the very purpose of having a National Bible Week; for us to read the Bible and to live by its tenets. This is the intention of making the Bible central in our life as a nation. #