Yes, Virginia, Christians Really Are . . .

Okay, I know, I know. Your name is not Virginia, and you didn’t ask me a question. But I thought I would answer the question anyway. So, here goes.

Moses turned and went down the mountain with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands. They were inscribed on both sides, front and back. The tablets were the work of God; the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets. (Exod 32:15–16)

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. (Deut 6:4–9)

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the LORD swore to give your ancestors, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth. (Deut 11:18–21)

Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day, so that you may command your children to obey carefully all the words of this law. They are not just idle words for you—they are your life. (Deut 32:46–47)

Blessed is the one . . . whose delight is in the law of the LORD,
      and who meditates on his law day and night.
   That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
      which yields its fruit in season
      and whose leaf does not wither—
      whatever they do prospers. (Ps 1:1-3)

The law of the LORD is perfect,
      refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy,
      making wise the simple.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
      giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are radiant,
      giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
      enduring forever.
The decrees of the LORD are firm,
      and all of them are righteous.
They are more precious than gold,
      than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
      than honey from the honeycomb.
By them your servant is warned;
      in keeping them there is great reward. (Ps 19:7–11)

In God, whose word I praise— (Ps 56:4)

In God, whose word I praise,
      in the LORD, whose word I praise— (Ps 56:10)

My soul is consumed with longing
      for your laws at all times. (Ps 119:20)

You are my portion, LORD;
      I have promised to obey your words. (Ps 119:57)

The law from your mouth is more precious to me
      than thousands of pieces of silver and gold. (Ps 119:72)

Your word, LORD, is eternal;
      it stands firm in the heavens. (Ps 119:89)

I will never forget your precepts,
      for by them you have preserved my life. (Ps 119:93)

To all perfection I see a limit,
      but your commands are boundless.   (119:96)

Your word is a lamp for my feet,
      a light on my path.   (Ps 119:105)

My flesh trembles in fear of you;
      I stand in awe of your laws. (Ps 119:120)

The grass withers and the flowers fall,
      but the word of our God endures forever. (Isa 40:8)

These are the ones I look on with favor:
      those who are humble and contrite in spirit,
      and who tremble at my word. (Isa 66:2)

But if I say, “I will not mention his word
      or speak anymore in his name,”
      his word is in my heart like a fire,
      a fire shut up in my bones.
      I am weary of holding it in;
      indeed, I cannot. (Jer 20:9)

“Is not my word like fire,” declares the LORD, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces? (Jer 23:29).

This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘Write in a book all the words I have spoken to you.” (Jer 30:2)

This word came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “Take a scroll and write on it all the words I have spoken to you.” (Jer 36:1–2)

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matt 4:4)

Jesus answered . . . “It is written.” (Matt 4:6)

Jesus answered . . . “It is written.” (Matt 4:7)

[Note: The phrase, “It is written,” occurs approximately seventy times in the Bible. Over sixty of those occurrences are in the New Testament!]

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt 5:17–19)

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. (Matt 7:24–25)

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. (Matt 24:35)

My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice. (Luke 8:21)

Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. (Luke 9:26)

Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us? (Luke 24:32)

For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God. (John 3:34)

Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. (John 5:24)

The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life. (John 6:63)

Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68)

Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death. (John 8:51)

Scripture cannot be set aside. (John 10:35)

Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. (John 17:17).

The Jews have been entrusted with the very words of God. (Rom 3:2)

This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. (1 Cor 2:13)

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Eph 6:17).

And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe. (1 Thess 2:13)

Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. (1 Tim 4:13)

God’s word is not chained. (2 Tim 2:9)

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 servant of God p may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Tim 3:14–17)

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (Heb 4:12)

For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For,

      “All people are like grass,
      and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
      the grass withers and the flowers fall,
      but the word of the Lord endures forever.”

And this is the word that was preached to you. (1 Pet 1:23–25)

Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Pet 1:20–21)

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll. (Rev 22:18–19)

So, Virginia, I hope these passages of Scripture will help to address your question, in light of what some, perhaps well-meaning, but nevertheless mistaken, people may have tried to tell you. Notice the emphases of these passages: God’s words, written on tablets, scrolls, and in books; words which bring light and life; words from the mouth of God, and on which our very lives depend; words which are not just idle words, but our very life; words to be written on our hearts; words to be constantly on our minds; words which are like fire in our hearts, causing our “hearts to burn within us”; words that we dare not take away from, or add to; words which will endure forever; and words which if we believe them, cherish them, and obey them, will bring us salvation, honor, and life eternal, when “the Son of Man comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”

Yes, Virginia, Christians really are “a people of the book.”

Jerry Shepherd

Sept 5, 2015

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