First Thoughts: The Influence of the Bible

Monkey Thinker

Hello friends,

It's no secret that I write my Veritas talks and sermons about as close to when they are delivered as I can. And so, starting what I can only hope will be a tradition, on Wednesdays I will be offering this series called First Thoughts, as I'm sitting down to write the VeriTalk for the evening. If you are a regular attender of Veritas, and would like to weigh in, please feel free to do so!

We've spent the last few weeks talking about Influences, and whether we are an influential kind of people or whether we are easily influenced. At a few different points along the way this week, we asked what the most influential things were in our lives, and at a few different points along the way the response came back that the Bible was very influential.


If the Bible is really that influential in people's lives, why is it that I see so very few students carry it with them to youth group (let alone other places, but let's start here...)? Why is it that so many students (and adults for that matter) so often misquote some of the most basic passages? Why is it that so many people spout off phrases that they are certain are in the Bible, but are in actuality not contained within its pages?

One of two possible explanations must be true: Either the Bible is not as influential as we claim it is, or some people misunderstand how to best use the Scriptures.

If the Bible is a book that is only used by those of us who work in ministry, as a kind of centering text for our teachings and sermons, then the problems above make sense. Why would I bring my Bible to youth group? J is just going to read it for us anyway at the beginning of his talk and then not come back to it again. I misquote the Bible because really the only time I hear it is during one of J's sermons, and I misquote what he says all the time anyway!

But that can't be why the Bible exists, can it? Just for pastors and youth workers to have something to base their talk on?

If we affirm that the Scriptures are the Word of God, then we have to affirm that the Bible actually contains teachings on how to best live our lives. Think about it: If God created the world, and knows how it works, and then hands us a book of his teachings, wouldn't we do well to know it as well as we could? Wouldn't it make sense to turn to it often, and allow it to influence us as much as possible?

Even more than that, the Bible is not a owners manual that we consult whenever something goes wrong. Several of the authors of the Bible indicate that their aim is to display the love and grace of Jesus Christ as plainly as they can, that we (the reader) might fall in love with him. The Bible is a collection of love letters from the God of the universe. The Bible is a constant reminder of where we stand with God, what our relationship looks like, and how much he is willing to give in order to win us back to him.

And so tonight we examine how the Bible can become more influential in our lives. How do we best use this book? How can we approach the Bible without it feeling like homework? What does the Bible say about itself? And most of all, how can we live the Bible in the world and culture we find ourselves in today?

Tune in tonight at 6 to find out!