The 1999 International Spiritual Life Commission of The Salvation Army stated: “We call Salvationists worldwide to a renewed and relevant proclamation of and close attention to the Word of God, and to a quick and steady obedience to the radical demands of the Word upon Salvationists personally, and upon our movement corporately.” We need to affirm that the Word of God must be central in the life of every believer.
What is this book about? It is not a record of people desperately clinging to God by their fingertips. The Bible is, rather, the story of God’s search for us. And as Christians we affirm that the heart of that search-story is the story of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ is the center of the Bible. The lasting value of the written Word is that it points to the enfleshed Word. The final Word is Jesus Christ. The true Word is Jesus Christ, He of whom the text itself bears witness: “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
What impact is the Bible meant to have on us as Christians? The sure mark of the Christian is not spirituality—there are many people who appear outwardly spiritual, but who are not the children of God by grace. The clear sign that we are Christians is that we obey the Word of God.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer said: “Only he who believes obeys, and only he who obeys believes.” God wants His book translated into the lives of His people.
But how do we ensure that translation will happen? Only by placing the Bible at the center of our common life through study, worship and preaching. Without this we languish and cannot be the people of God we are intended to be.
The Bible is indeed God’s Word to a fallen world. It is His Word because of His work in the person of His Son Jesus Christ. The centrality of this Word made flesh comes alive as the Word is faithfully proclaimed, accepted by faith by sinner and saint alike, and acted upon in obedience to the Christ.
It is in this Word that we rejoice.
Roger J. Green, The War Cry