Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A Godly Man is a Lover of the Word: Part Eight

A Godly Man is a Lover of the Word

by Thomas Watson

"O how love I your law." (Psa. 119:97)

Part A: Godly Man Loves the Word Written

3. e By defending it. A wise man will not let his land be taken from him but will defend his title. David looked upon the Word as his land of inheritance: "Your testimonies I have taken as a heritage forever, for they are the rejoicing of my heart." (Psa 119:111) And do you think he will let his inheritance be wrested out of his hands? A godly man will not only dispute for the Word but die for it: "I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God." (Rev 6:9)
For those who have asked me to interact a bit with Mr. Watson, I will add these remarks. I have hesitated thus far to add my two cents because, that's all they are--my two cents; and I have hoped that whoever is reading this will allow his words to speak to their hearts. But I do see the value in sharing our takes on these exerpts, so I will share my thoughts today.

So far, Watson has challenged us to read the Word, to meditate upon it, to delight in it, and to hide it away in our hearts. It seemed easier for me to understand and relate to each of those challenges, but this one is a little more difficult. For all my Christian life, I have been challenged in books and sermons to read the Word, meditate upon it and delight in it and to memorize it. But I don't recall ever being challenged to defend it.

So I'll ask you; what are the ways in which we are called to defend the scriptures? Is he calling for us to defend the doctrines of the Holy Scriptures or perhaps the integrity of the text? After all, there are those who have made clumsy paraphrases and there are even those who have written their own "scriptures" to be held along side the Bible. Or is he asking us to defend our rights and privileges as Christians to have and study scripture?

I think that many of us, myself included, take for granted the privilege of owning and studying the Bible. There are people in other lands, such as China, who could be arrested and jailed for possessing the Bible. There are places in this world where one's very life could be in danger if it were known that one possessed a Bible.

It is one thing to memorize and meditate upon the Word of God; that is of priceless benefit to individual believers, but the Bible is God's written Word, for a reason. I wrote about it in a post a while back:
And, oh!--the wisdom of God in revealing Himself and His ways in written form! Being written, it is preserved, set, defended from alteration or modification. Being written, we can study it, meditate upon it, hold it in our hands, take it along with us, share it, give it, rely upon it's familiar and comfortable passages, be forced to face the difficult and convicting challenges.

Had He left it for us to re-tell by word of mouth, who would want to face up to the truth of the certainty of death, the certainty of judgment, the wrath of a Holy God? Who would remember or place value on every aspect of God's revelation of Himself? Left to ourselves, our understanding of God would quickly descend to tradition and superstition, for as the Puritan, Thomas Adams said, devotion without instruction winds itself into superstition. And that instruction resides within the pages of God's Holy Word.
I'm not sure if I have understood Watson correctly, but it seems to me that he may be indicating the need to defend the Word in its written form. What do you think?

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