Is the purpose of Bible preaching to inspire us?

Actually, God uses regular and faithful Bible preaching to share His truths about life. Here is what the Bible says of itself:

And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto 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 perfect, [thoroughly] furnished unto all good works. (2 Timothy 3:15-17)

So based on this passage, what’s the aim of Bible preaching?

1. It makes us wise by turning us to trust in Jesus: “able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” Where we are trusting in our own hearts, wealth, strength, ideas or in the things of this world more than in God’s Son, then we are unwise. We are wise when we have learned from the Scriptures to settle our trust in Jesus Christ. If we are not trusting Christ, then our trust lies elsewhere, and the Word of God will point it out. In Philippians 3:3-9, Paul tells us that he was trusting in his family heritage, his nationality, his religious dedication, and his strict adherence to the Bible laws – and none of these things could make him righteous before God except faith in Jesus Christ. What are you trusting in?

2. It makes known the mind of God: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God.” If we are not listening to Bible preaching to find out God’s truth about a matter, but to be entertained by a speaker, or looking up passages to justify what we already believe, then we’ve forgotten the originator of the Bible, the God who still speaks today. Too many of us think the Bible is a collection of moral stories, of do’s and don’ts, or a guide to right living, or there to make us happy. If we are not interested in learning God’s perspective of a matter, then we will not be careful hearers of the Bible (nor be faithful preachers of the same). Instead, we will read into the Bible what we believe about life. But a holy God, who is distinct from our world and culture, has something to say that does not come from our world or culture so that we may hear and respond, and live in love with Him by His power. If we are not interested in hearing from God how to live our lives for Jesus Christ His Son, we are not approaching the Bible in the proper manner, for this is the central aim of the Bible.

3. It tells us how things really are by giving us a solid foundation of truth: “is profitable for doctrine.” After all the TV shows showing violence, murder, death, autopsies, and grieving families at funerals, how can anyone come to the conclusion that there will be a resurrection from the dead? Only through the revelation of God’s Word, the Bible, do we learn of the resurrection and other doctrines. Through the Bible we learn of the natural and spiritual truths around us of the meaning of life, death, wisdom and foolishness, angels and demons, and man’s sinful nature and God’s remedy for it. It tells us of the nature of God, that He knows all things, He guides all things, He is everywhere, He has always existed, His is the creator of all things, visible and invisible, and He is a triune God of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We learn of Christ’s death, and its purpose of delivering us from ourselves by bringing us into a trusting relationship with God.

Many, many of these truths are absent from the airwaves, schooling, and literature today. Even many Bible teachers do not talk about these things, choosing instead to focus on favorite topics like wealth, money, health, good times, prophecy, positive thoughts, and so on: the focus is on making us feel good rather than on the God who wants to win us to Himself.

4. It tells us the awful truth about ourselves: “for reproof.” How can we make changes to live right if we don’t know where we’re going wrong? For instance, the world teaches us to “trust your heart; follow your heart.” But Proverbs 26 teaches us, “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool.” If we are all too ready to defend ourselves when someone points out a fault, we are not ready to hear God’s voice, which tells us where we have erred and how to get it right. It shows us all the ways we trust in self, things, and others more than in God. It tells us of the ugly truths in our hearts: the “heart is deceitful above all else and desperately wicked.” Repentance and humility mark the person who truly grasps the message of the Word. The doctor tells us the grim truth about our illness so that we’ll see the gravity of the situation and agree to work with him in the recovery phase. Are we ready to hear bad things about ourselves and take the prescription God offers?

5. It assumes that we are wrong, but offers hope that, through God’s power, we can be made right: “for correction.” Many religions tell us what we should do to live right. But Christianity is different in that God Himself makes the correction; He works in our lives and hearts to transform us into His image; He not only tells us what we should do but dwells in us to give us guidance on how to get there. He provides the power of the cross and the washing of the blood to keep us going forward. No other religion can do this; all they can do it point to works to be done without lifting a finger to help. There are also strains of thought that teach that we are all OK, and nothing really needs to change but to have a new perspective of life. “If we just look at things in a different way, then life will get better than ever.” But sin and separation from God is the major culprit for all that’s wrong, and any solution that does not take these into consideration becomes part of the problem.

6. Just as the royal staff prepares the king’s sons to take the throne, even so does God train us up to reign with Him in the kingdom to come: “for instruction in righteousness.” The Bible does not point out our problems to shame us, but to help us walk as we were created to be – sons of God, children of the Most High. The preacher tells a holy people how to walk holy before their God and be His ambassadors to an estranged world, to be light in the darkness, to be salt in a sin-ridden, decaying society. We learn to be sheep before our Shepherd, servants to our Master, and children of the heavenly Father.

7. It trains us up in practical holiness: “That the man of God may be perfect, [thoroughly] furnished unto all good works.” Our religion is not one of the mind only, or heart or soul only, but is to help others see what God is like as He works through us. No one can see God, but they can see God in the lives of those who love and help others. Those who live for themselves are not being trained up in good works; they are not learning how to follow the orders of their heavenly King. The church is made of many individuals, and all of them are needed to be agents of God to build up His church. Ideally, the body builds up itself and then overflows to reach out to the world.

Aeschylus, a Greek tragic dramatist (525 BC – 456 BC), wisely noted, “In war, truth is the first casualty.” Satan is at war with God’s people to keep us from knowing the truth. Lies and propaganda are his weapons of choice. How can you tell whether your foundation of determining right and wrong is correct? With the Bible as your foundation, and faith in Christ as the plumb line of correctness, you will detect truth and error.

Be careful if the preacher you rely on the most doesn’t teach through the whole Bible (http://twft.com/?page=C2000). Just as the human body needs a variety of fruits, vegetables, and nuts to remain healthy, even so the human spirit needs more than a strict diet of faith, or healing, wealth and health, judgment, prophecy, or other focused teachings. So read the Bible through in a year (http://www.ewordtoday.com/year/), then do it again.

Only in the Bible are the words that give us eternal life, so none other book will do. God has given us no other books that are “able to make thee wise unto salvation” through faith in Jesus Christ. Let’s read the one the faithful God gave us.

About Steve Husting

Steve Husting lives in Southern California with his wife and son. He enjoys encouraging others through writing, and likes reading, digital photography, the outdoors, calligraphy, making iPhone apps, and chocolate. He has written several books, iPhone apps, and hundreds of Christian devotionals. Steve is also having a great time illustrating God's Word with calligraphy.
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