Today the great majority of the people who read this site will be heading to church (or perhaps still taking in a service through a live-stream). As we assemble to worship, we will have the privilege of hearing the Bible read and preached. And in this brief quote from Harold Senkbeil we are reminded of what a privilege this is. Read it and be encouraged as you consider God’s precious word.
In our digital age, we’re swimming in gigabytes of data, yet thirsting for reality. We’re drowning in information, but starved for genuine community. Technology links us instantaneously with people all around the globe, yet paradoxically the more information we get and the more virtual connections we acquire, the more isolated and lonely we become. I enjoy all the technology of social media as much as anyone else, yet these virtual communities are poor substitutes for the kind of exchange that happens when I put my arms around my wife, hold my grandchildren on my lap, or sit face to face with a friend for mutual conversation and the consoling flesh and blood interchange of what lies on our hearts.
If that’s true in terms of relationships between humans, how much more essential is it when it comes to our relationship with the Lord God, who made heaven and earth? Though we can infer something about God by looking at the world he has made (his power and majesty, for instance) we would know nothing about his true nature if he hadn’t revealed himself to us.
The God of the Bible is not a God of human conjecture, but a God who speaks. He reveals himself to humankind in human language. In the opening verses of Genesis he begins his self-revelation by speaking and then he never stops—right through the closing verses of Revelation. The God who marked the beginning of the universe by speaking into the black and empty void of the initial creation—“Let there be light” (Gen 1:3)—anticipates its culmination at the glorious return of his incarnate Son, who promises: “Surely I am coming soon” (Rev 22:20).
If you want to know something about God, you’ll need to get to know him by his word; that’s the long and the short of it. There simply is no reliable knowledge of God apart from his word. That makes the word of God the sole source and norm of all teaching in the church and therefore the sole source and norm for all pastoral work. Yet that word is not the kind of information dump we’ve come to associate with most ordinary human communication—a kind of data transfer. Rather, God’s word is the means by which he discloses himself to us and opens up his heart to us so we can see what kind of God we have, how he may be addressed and accessed here in this world, and how we can receive his gifts for our forgiveness, life, and salvation.