Finding a Guide in a Dangerous World
International Day of the Bible, Sunday, November 18, 2018
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. – 2 Timothy 3:16-17
by Barry C. Black, Chaplain, United States Senate
Is there a guide to help us navigate through a dangerous world? All around us we see people deviating from integrity’s path, manifesting arrogance, incivility, immorality, cruelty, and stupidity. One Bible passage, 2 Timothy 3:1-7, captures the dangers of our times with stark candor: “But, understand this: there will be terrifying times in the last days. People will be self-centered and lovers of money, proud, haughty, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, irreligious, callous, implacable, slanderous, licentious, brutal, hating what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, as they make a pretense of religion, but deny its power. Reject them.” This passage seems as fresh as today’s newspaper, compelling us to ask the question, “Can we find a guide to help us navigate through a dangerous world?”
The Holy Bible is our guide in a dangerous world. Psalm 119:105 declares, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path.” We have a light to illuminate the paths we travel even during challenging seasons, and on November 18, 2018, many people will celebrate International Day of the Bible. On that day, various Bible associations will highlight the power of the global bestseller, The Holy Bible, seeking to encourage people to receive nourishment and guidance from God’s revelation to humanity.
What makes the Bible so special? Second Timothy 3:16-17 describes this unique book: “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”
First, the Bible is a guide because it teaches us. It is one of the few books that tells us where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going. It tells us that we came from God (Genesis 1), that we should live for His glory (1 Corinthians 10:31), and that God has a plan and future for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11). In Proverbs 3:5-6, the scriptures also inform us how to best follow this divine teacher: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, on your own intelligence, rely not; in all your ways be mindful of him, and he will make straight your paths.”
Second, the Bible is a guide because it convinces us of error. It persuades us of error by being the gold standard when it comes to what is true. We don’t need to know the names of different fallacies, for John 17:17 says regarding God’s word, “Your word is truth.” When we need to test the validity of an ethical decision, biblical admonition helps us to think straight and stay on the right road.
Third, the Bible is a guide because it trains us in righteousness. This training enables us to “be competent, equipped for every good work.” This holy book enables us to add to our faith the following traits: virtue, knowledge, self-control, endurance, devotion, and affection (2 Peter 1:5-6). This is the kind of training that enabled the apostle Paul to say in 1 Corinthians 9:27, “No, I drive my body and train it for fear that, having preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.”
Protestants and Catholics, Jews and Gentiles, have direction and guidance in an unsafe world because of sacred scriptures, for God’s revelation to humanity teaches, convicts, and trains. It is an indispensable guide in a dangerous world.