For many, many years I went into prisons and jails on a regular basis leading people to Jesus, leading others back to Him and strengthening the Body of Christ in those cells. tanks and dorms.
There was another Christian ministry that would give inmates free Bibles. I always appreciated that.
However, I noticed something: often I would be in one of those jails or prisons and I would see one of those brand new Bibles. I would pluck a verse at random and ask whoever owned one of those Bibles to look it up and read it to me.
When they did, that Bible would make a loud “CRACK” sound.
Do you know why? It cracked because it had never been opened.
That sound was the binder cracking.
I would always touch the prisoner on the arm, smile kindly, and say, “You know….those things work better if you open them up and read them.”
Prisoners aren’t the only ones not reading their Bibles. Many of the people we know that attend services in church buildings, offices, homes, and other places and many who never do that NEVER read the Bible for themselves.
For centuries many Christians have settled into an “audience” mentality. We go places and sit and listen to someone else, someone “special”, share what they know from the Bible. Many of these ministers frequently, perhaps constantly, encourage the people to read the Bible and study it for themselves.
Many, however, never do.
Some never open their Bibles.
If they did, their Bibles would crack.
I think this is a terrible waste.
Many people died, murdered by the institutional church of their day, just so that ALL Christians would have the opportunity to read God’s Word for themselves.
This is an amazing thing that God has arranged to have available for us.
Paul, writing to his spiritual son Timothy, said this about the Word of God:
“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 3:16-17 - NKJV)
Timothy’s mother and grandmother were Jewish. Listen to how the Complete Jewish Bible renders that verse. I’ll emphasize the part that really amazes me:
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is valuable for teaching the truth, convicting of sin, correcting faults and training in right living; thus anyone who belongs to God may be fully equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 – CJB)
Think about that. God breathed Scripture into those who wrote it. The word translated to “God-breathed” is the Greek “theopneustos”.
Every time Holy Spirit is mentioned in the New Testament the word “Spirit” comes from the Greek “pneuma.” This is related to the word we just looked at (God-breathed = “theopneustos”)
How did people begin their existence on the earth?
“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7)
Adam’s soul CAME ALIVE when God BREATHED into him.
The fact that Holy Spirit, through the Apostle Paul, used a similar image when He described the Scriptures seems VERY significant to me.
I can’t speak for you but I can speak for myself. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says that “all Scripture is valuable” (helpful, advantageous) “for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”.
I NEED doctrine (instruction) from God. I NEED reproof (conviction) from God. I NEED correction from (literally, to be straightened up by) God. I NEED instruction from God (literally, to be tutored by Him) in righteousness.
I NEED that.
To be sure, as one who teaches the Word of God to others, I AM aware that there is a place for us to listen to someone else speak the Scriptures to us and show us a few facets of those diamonds.
However, the best I have ever learned anything was from personally sitting at the feet of the one who originated what I was being taught.
There is something about learning from the Source that can never, ever be as good as hearing someone else talk about what He wrote.
When you open your Bible does it crack when you open it?
None of this is written to inspire guilt or shame. My hope is that it will create inside all who read this piece a HUNGER to go spend some time with the God who BREATHED these Scriptures just so we could experience LIFE.
As Holy Spirit wrote 2 Timothy 3:16-17 through Paul’s pen, He finished it with this:
“that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
I enjoy how the Complete Jewish Bible renders that last part:
“thus anyone who belongs to God may be fully equipped for every good work.”
Since we are the people of God, we BELONG to God. It is His desire that we not lack anything we need to do the things He has prepared for us and has prepared us to do.
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)
So, let’s purpose in our hearts to take advantage of this wonderful gift we have available to us. Let’s ask the Lord to prompt us to read His word regularly. Let’s read it slowly and when we do let’s ask the Spirit who breathed these Scriptures to speak to us and show us what He would have us take away from each reading.
I pray that when we open our Bibles there WILL be the sound of cracking…but NOT from the binders of our underused Bibles.
“For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8b)
It will be the sound of the works of the devil being destroyed in and then through us. THAT cracking will be music to our Lord’s ears.
“He will bless those who fear the LORD, both small and great. May the LORD give you increase more and more, you and your children. May you be blessed by the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD's; but the earth He has given to the children of men. The dead do not praise the LORD, nor any who go down into silence. But we will bless the LORD From this time forth and forevermore. Praise the LORD!” (Psalm 115:13-18)
May His Word be satisfying to our souls!
Pastor Mike McInerney
Mike McInerney Ministries, Inc.
© August 30, 2016
(For use with permission)