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How Large is Your Bible?

by H. L. Olmstead

The article was   taken from a booklet: Sermons – Speeches and So Forth”  It was compiled  by his daughter, Florence Olmstead Collins. (According to his daughter, these appear to be his notes in preparation of a sermon he planned to preach.)


Christianity is the result of the teaching and work of the Divine Person, Jesus of Nazareth, Son of God and Son of Man. In the Bible, and in the Bible alone, we learn all that is to be known of his person, his teaching, and his work.  While the Christian religion is preeminently a religion of a person – our faith is in a person, our love is for a person, and our obedience is to a person – yet we come into the knowledge of that Person through the Bible, which is the divine means by which the Holy Spirit  brings us to faith in Christ, love for Christ and obedience to Christ

     The one who is the reason for the Bible said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God .” (Matthew 4:4). We have a Bible because we have a Christ. When we ask the question, “How large is your Bible?” one is likely to answer, “My Bible is the whole sixty-six books of the

contain the whole sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments.  But our Bibles are no larger than that which we use.  By the term, “use” we mean the part we read, study and meditate upon as the means of communication

with God and the means of strengthening our faith in him.

     The Bible is a revelation from God, and it is a revelation of God. Through our knowledge of the Christ and God’s purposes in him, we come to know the ways of God.  There is no part of the Bible from which Christ is absent. He, after all, is the subject of holy scriptures – the entire body of the sacred writings is ‘The testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy.(Revelation 19:10) "Jesus told disbelieving Jews that the Old Testament scriptures bear witness of him, and that Moses wrote of(John 5:39,46).

     To the young preacher, Timothy, Paul said, "From a babe thou hast known the sacred writings which are  able  to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in  Christ Jesus (II Timothy 3:15)." It is evident that the holy scriptures which Timothy had known from his babyhood were the scriptures of the  Old Testament. The  New Testament  was not completed and perhaps none of it was written when Timothy was a child. Yet, these Old Testament scriptures, we are told, are able to make men wise unto salvation that  is in Jesus  Christ. So the idea that we can today close up entirely, or neglect  the  study and meditation upon the Old Testament scriptures is false. To say the least,  this practice  deprives  us of much that would  be of great value to our spiritual  well-being.  We  are  plainly taught that "Every scripture inspired of God is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness that the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work (II Timothy 3:16,17)."

So we ask again, "How large is your Bible?" Some people feel that all they need is the ten  commandments  and  the sermon on the mount. Others say, "Give me the twenty-third Psalm and the thirteenth chapter of I Corinthians and you can have all the  rest of it.  Others have  used only certain proof texts, which they use to bolster some theological argument or doctrinal position.

     Do you find yourself shying around certain portions of the Bible? Do you skip the genealogies in  your  reading? They are in the book which God has given and most certainly lead us to Christ on his human side. Do the messages of  the  great prophets of God fail to interest you? We are told that we have the word of prophecy made more sure, to which we would do well  to take heed as  unto a lamp  that shines in a dark place until the day dawn and the day-star  arise  in  our  hearts  (II Peter 1:19). When we think of all the Bible which we omit in our reading and study, we should say, "Just how large, after all, is my Bible?"

     Some years ago an edition of the Bible was  brought out called "The Shorter  Bible." Much that is in the sixty-six  books of the Bible was omitted. There was a great hue and cry of protest raised in many quarters  against  this  edition  of  the Bible, and rightly so. Yet many of us have  an  even  much shorter Bible which we use. If only  what  we  actually  have read, studied and prayed about was  put  in  a single  volume, how small it would be!

We should, I think, admit that the parts of the  Bible which we omit are those passages which many of us reject outright or explain away to mean nothing much at all. We say they are not essential, therefore we do not seek to  know  their  meaning. There are people in the  world who have no arms, no legs, or eyes. It is plain that these things are not essential to life. Some must go on  living -- in  a  way -- without  them. But, after all, it is a poor way of living.

     So it is when great areas of God's word are overlooked, or merely glazed over or rejected because we do not deem them necessary to our Christian lives. Legs, of course,  are  not essential to a man's life, but  they are  essential  to his walking and living a full, active life. God would not have made legs if they were unnecessary. Neither would he  have  given  us  so large a book if any part of it had no purpose or meaning.

     We feel that it is the solemn obligation of the church at all times to foster and pursue a full Bible ministry.  Groups  of people should be gathered around the whole word of God, searching the scriptures, for Jesus said, "They testify of me."

     As you look this morning upon that beautifully Morocco­ bound volume lying upon the table in your home, or as you see the large, ornate family Bible in a place of honor in your living room, ask yourself, "ls this my real Bible? Or do I have an abbreviated, shortened, diluted,  emasculated  volume  of  my own choosing?"

-H. L. Olmstead (1883-1958) was a long time preacher  in Gallatin, TN

 

 




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I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

John 16:33