The Power of the Word
Yesterday a friend told me a story about a conversation he had on an airplane with a woman who is an insurance executive (IE). It went something like this:
IE: I am a Lutheran. What are you?
Friend: I am a Baptist.
IE: Oh, you are one of those people who hate homosexuals.
Friend: We do not hate homosexuals. We believe that homosexuality is sin.
IE: What do you base that on?
Friend: Would you really like to know?
Friend: (Pulled his Bible out of his bag, opened it, and handed it to the Insurance Executive.) Here is Romans chapter one. Read the entire chapter.
IE: (After reading Romans 1.) Oh, I did not know that was in there.
Friend: What do you think of the Bible?
IE: Well, I believe it is the Word of God.
Friend: Have you never read this before?
IE: No, I never read that chapter before.
Friend: You see, we do not hate homosexuals. We only try to understand and to obey the Word of God as it is written.
IE: Now I understand.
Defending our faith, known as apologetics, is a big deal. Our Southern Baptist seminaries offer degrees in apologetics. Many books have been published to defend the Christian view of creation, of ethics, of theology, of marriage, of human life, and all of these are important and worthy. Entire parachurch organizations with significant budgets are devoted to apologetics.
But I have to wonder, how many self-identified Christian insurance executives are out there who take the world’s side on topics like homosexuality and believe Christians who hold a biblical view of the matter are haters, simply because they have not read the Bible?
Could it be that easy sometimes? No, the Bible alone cannot win the day. That episode with the insurance executive was a fluke. People just will not respond to the Bible like that, will they? They need us to speak their modern lingo and to engage their modern and post-modern ideas, don’t they? They need me to speak to their needs before they will even listen to the Bible, right? They cannot understand this ancient document, can they? God just doesn’t work that way, does He?
Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. (Matthew 22:29)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1)
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. (Isaiah 40:8)
The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. (Psalm 19:7)
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:17)
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:12-13)
But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:13-16)
But He answered and said to them, “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.” (Luke 8:21)
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17)
His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had [a] a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. (Revelation 19:12-13)