How many bibles do you have in your house? How many of them do you actively read? I encourage you to count how many copies of scripture you own at some point soon.
If you’re like me, there’s a story behind each of the bibles. One I received from my parents, another upon graduation, another while I was in seminary, and another from a church I served.
Have you ever thanked the people who gave you each bible you own? How about the people who gave you a love for scripture?
Today, I want to focus on 4 ways we can express thanks for how God’s word shapes our lives.
#1: The scripture teaches us
Remember in high school or college how certain teachers and professors gained a reputation for being the best teachers. Inevitably those classes filled up as students clamored to learn from these esteemed men and women.
God pulled together some of the best teachers in the Bible, peoplel ike Moses, David, Paul, and of course, Jesus–God himself. According to Answers in Genesis, “The Bible was written over a period of roughly 2,000 years by 40 different authors from three continents, who wrote in three different languages.”
But not all of these authors were necessarily great orators. Moses spoke through Aaron. Paul might have stuttered. They all had authority.
That’s because God ultimately authored the Bible. 2 Timothy 3:16 says all scripture is God-breathed, meaning God inspired all of it. He didn’t force the pens of the authors, but the Holy Spirit gave the message.
How to give thanks: This leads to many occasions for thanksgiving. First, that God gave us his words and we don’t have to guess. Second, that he’s willing to teach us and correct us. Third, that he orchestrated the lives of so many authors to give us words that tell a story of God’s heart for the world and for us. Fourth, that he patiently teaches us, even when we don’t get it.
#2: Scripture defends us from Satan’s attacks
When Satan tempted Jesus to turn stones into bread, Jesus responded: “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matt. 4:4)
E.V. Hill referenced Jesus’ response of “It is written” when he famously taught us to hit Satan with the word when he attacks us.
I remember standing in the stadium that day chanting “Hit him”, “Hit him”, “Hit him”. We became so worked up that E.V. walked off the stage prematurely because he felt we got the essence of the message.
The problem for me and many others is we can remember that stirring moment, but we forget to actually draw out our spiritual sword when we’re under attack. We don’t practice drawing our swords daily so that it’s natural when we’re in battle.
Prayer of thanks: Lord, thank you for giving me your word to sharpen my mind and defend me from the evil one and all his wicked ways.
#3: Scripture reminds me that God never lies
In Numbers 23, Balak sought to hire Balaam to curse Israel. In this context, Balaam reminds us of something profoundly important, “God is not a man, so he does not lie.”
When Paul wrote Titus, he contrasted God with Zeus –who was a rampant liar–by saying, “This truth gives them confidence that they have eternal life, which God—who does not lie—promised them before the world began” (Titus 1:2 NLT).
Everyone lies at some point. We lie to ourselves seeking to convince ourselves that we’re not lying. We laugh at movies like Liar, Liar where Jim Carrey can no longer lie and has to tell the truth. We can become so used to lying that we don’t know how to always tell the truth.
God isn’t like that. God can’t tell a lie or he’s not God. He’s either perfect or he isn’t God. So if he claims that all of the Bible is true, we have to decide to believe that based on his claim. That doesn’t mean all of scripture is immediately clear, but it is clear enough for us to understand God’s call of salvation.
Prayer of thanks: Lord, I thank you that you never lie and always tell the truth. Thank you that I can trust the Bible to be true, even though I don’t always understand it. I pray your Holy Spirit will help me to understand with increasing clarity.
#4: Thankful for those who gave us God’s word
John Wycliffe advocated strongly to give scripture to people in their own language. He sacrificed significantly to allow for this and created a movement that now has God’s word translated into over 3400 languages with active translation happening in another 2700 languages Currently, 80% of the world can access at least portions of God’s word in their language.
English speakers can choose from between 450 different translations. That leaves little excuse for not being able to understand its basic message, but we still have to read it!
I spent seven months in Kenya working alongside bible translators seeking to bring God’s word to one of the many unreached people groups living there. While arduous the work brings such hope and life. If you’ve never read some of those stories, see Don Richardson’s book Eternity in Their Hearts.
Prayer of thanks: Lord, thank you for equipping and burdening Bible translators so I can now read your word. Thank you for the men and women who faithfully teach God’s word every week so I can better understand your message. Keep me grateful.
Write a thank you card to someone who gave you a Bible or taught you to love God’s word.
EXTRA CREDIT: Give a copy of the Bible to someone who doesn’t have one. If you don’t know anyone, offer to buy some copies for your church to give away when someone doesn’t own a Bible.