In 2006 I was challenged by someone—someone that might not have liked me very much—who asked me this question: “Does the Bible really give us everything we need to know about everything?”
She ridiculed my answer because I said, “Yes! Yes, the Bible does give us everything we need!”
The verse that came into my mind was 2 Peter 1:3, which says,
“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”
Do you know how you can quote a verse that’s a pat answer, but later, you think about it and wonder if that was really the truth? You wonder if you really believe it?
I remember I could not sleep that night. I kept asking myself, Does the Bible really tell me everything I need for life?
I knew it gave me everything I need for godliness. That only makes sense. That’s what the Bible is all about, right? It’s all about God, and how He sent a redeemer to rescue me from my sin.
But did the Bible give me everything I needed for life?
I had a really bad feeling in my stomach that night because I was putting two and two together. I realized that if the Bible really did give me everything I need for life, did I even know what those things were? Had I even read my Bible all the way through? And if I knew what all those life-giving things were, did I obey them?
The next morning, I started reading in Genesis 1. I told God that if His Word really did have all the answers, then I would obey. I also decided that if it didn’t, I would probably become an atheist and just go have a good time. Why would I follow a religion that said it had everything for life—but didn’t?
As I read, I determined to mark any verses I found that seemed to have a command for life.
Shortly after that, I was diagnosed with a deadly disorder called Addison’s Disease. I was very sick, and throughout the months, when I was at my lowest, feeling like I could die, my church family came around me and lifted me up. Several friends prayed with me, and they encouraged me to go to God in His Word for everything I needed for life. I resolved to find out if God’s Word had anything to say about my health, and if it did, to obey it.
One of the verses my friend Cathy read with me was Psalm 1.
Blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners
or sit in the seat of mockers.
But his delight is in the Torah of YHVH,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.
Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
For YHVH watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.
Cathy and I discussed how there are two sources of information:
- We can go to God.
- We can go to man.
Most of us realize that we can pray when we need help, such as when we have a terrible illness, but we don’t think about opening our Bibles for information in a time like that. We are conditioned to run to man for our source of help and healing. We call the doctor. We Google our symptoms. We talk to all our friends. Why would the Bible tell me how to recover from Addison’s Disease?
In the Bible we read of a king of Judah whose name was Asa. He was inflicted with a disease in his feet. We don’t think of feet diseases as being deadly, but the Bible tells us that his disease was very severe. Even as he was in extreme pain, the Bible tells us that he did not seek help from YHVH but only from the physicians. Two years later (ugh!), he died (2 Chronicles 6:12).
God said to His people,
“My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the Torah of your God, I also will ignore your children” (Hosea 4:6).
Where did this knowledge come from? He was saying it could only come from Himself! His people had rejected this knowledge, which was found in the Torah.
Joshua told God’s people,
“Do not let this Book of the Torah depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful” (Joshua 1:8).
My son, do not forget my teaching,
but keep my commands in your heart,
for they will prolong your life many years
and bring you prosperity.
Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
Then you will win favor and a good name
in the sight of God and man.
Trust in YHVH with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear YHVH and shun evil.
This will bring health to your body
and nourishment to your bones (Proverbs 3:1-8).
Wow! Did I really believe that? Did I take that literally?
“Listen, my son, accept what I say,
and the years of your life will be many” (Proverbs 4:10).
“My son, pay attention to what I say;
listen closely to my words.
Do not let them out of your sight,
keep them within your heart;
for they are life to those who find them
and health to a man’s whole body.
Above all else, guard your heart,
for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:20-23).
Wow! It clearly said that we need to turn first to God, to His Word, for answers. He has an owner’s manual. It is the Bible.
“He sent forth his word and healed them;
he rescued them from the grave” (Psalm 107:20).
It seems to be very clear, very specific, about where we should get all our advice.
“To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn” (Isaiah 8:20).
If we hear advice that goes against God’s Word in any way, we should not listen to it!
The “law” and “testimony” referred to in this passage are the Torah.
The Torah is the first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. It was recorded for us by Moses.
In fact, every time you see the word scriptures in the New Testament, it’s referring back to the Torah and to the prophets. These are the Old Testament writings. When Paul wrote his letters, there was no New Testament! All he could refer to and call “Scriptures” was the Old Testament.
That thought really made me pause!
Paul wrote to Timothy,
“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
When I read that, I asked myself, Why don’t we obey all those Old Testament laws, if God calls them “useful,” so that I can be “thoroughly equipped for every good work”?
It was a fair question.
Back in Leviticus, God said,
“Keep my decrees and laws, for the man who obeys them will live by them. I am YHVH” (Leviticus 18:5).
God created His law for our good!
He is the Creator of the universe. He says that if I commit adultery, I’ll face serious consequences in my marriage. He has a law of gravity. If I jump off a cliff, I will face serious consequences!
In the same way, he has dietary laws (Leviticus 11, Deuteronomy 14). He tells me that if I eat something He did not intend to be food for me, my body will suffer death in some way.
“For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23).
“Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that YHVH promised on oath to your forefathers. Remember how YHVH your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of YHVH” (Deuteronomy 8:1-3).
God is our great physician. He is the Bread of Life. He wants us to feed on every word that comes from His mouth—and then be careful to follow every command He has given us. Why? So that we may live! The Creator knows what helps us and what hurts us!
“Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, ‘Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?’ Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, ‘Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?’ No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it” (Deuteronomy 30:11-14).
It’s almost as if God is sarcastic here. It’s as if He’s saying, Do you really need me to go across the ocean and find some smart scientist who can confirm to you that I know what I’m talking? I’m the one who made you! I think I know what works! It won’t be too hard for you or beyond your ability. In fact, my commands are the very things that will give you life and healing!
“See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love YHVH your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase,and YHVH your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed” (Deuteronomy 30:15-18).
If my Creator says that resting from sunset on Friday night to sunset on Saturday night is good for me, then it only makes sense that I should obey Him.
If my Creator says that eating bacon is bad for me, then it only makes sense that I should obey Him.
If He says that murder, adultery, coveting, disobedience to parents, idol worship, lying, homosexuality, and more are bad for us, then why do we not listen?
If He says that we are to worship Him on seven special holidays (Leviticus 23), then why do we put up with religion inventing new holidays to worship Him (1 Kings 12:32-33)?
I began to realize that God’s instructions for life and godliness had been in my Bible all along. I just hadn’t read them. I thought they weren’t for me. I had many questions, but I wasn’t looking to my Creator.
The answer was to read my Bible, from cover to cover, with the intent to obey.
“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3).
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture in this blog post taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.