Honesty: a signpost to inspiration
“The whole Bible was given to us by inspiration from God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives; it straightens us out and helps us do what is right.”
2 Timothy 3:16 (TLB)
Just suppose someone wanted to write our biographies, unlikely though it might be—which bits would we want left out? We’ve probably all got regrets, things we’ve done that make us wince when we recall them, and who likes to look bad? We wouldn’t want tell-all stories mapping out our lives unless we had a reverse pride in inappropriate behaviour or wrong-doing—only a few would have the courage to publish an unedited version of their lives and be open to judgment.
But the collective family of man has had a substantial biography written: it covers the lives of the good and the bad alike and it’s certainly an exposé, where the thoughts and actions of our collective hearts are laid out in black and white. Some of the best and worst of us star in its pages and are treated equally impartially, with our faults and failings revealed for all to read. For example, let’s start with just one incident in the life of Abraham, called the father of the faithful: yet when he and Sarah had to move to Egypt to escape a famine he asked her to say that she was just his sister, so if Pharaoh saw her and took a fancy to her, Abraham didn’t get killed in the process. Of course Pharaoh does exactly what he fears, and only the intervention of God gets her restored safely back to Abraham again. He actually repeats his save-my-skin plan at a later date and again God has to intervene to get Sarah safely home after a local king abducts Sarah.
Then there’s David—a man after God’s heart: we are not spared the details of his adultery with Bathsheba or his subsequent order to get her husband, a man who was one of David’s loyal generals, killed. Move to the New Testament and there’s no escaping the fact that Peter, the leading apostle and devoted disciple of Christ, disowned all knowledge of Him and did it with some colourful language. And if we thought that was just the ‘major players’ of the book and we’d got away with it, remember Jesus was talking about all of us when he told the crowds that out of our hearts ‘evil thoughts arise—lust, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, arrogance and folly!’ (Mark 7:20-22 Phillips).
All our sins, weaknesses and failings are in print; surely then, if we were the sole authors of the Bible we would make sure that we were portrayed slightly more advantageously. But, as Paul told Timothy, all scripture is inspired by God. It’s this unexpurgated honesty of the Bible that affirms just who is behind all these writings that make up our Bible and it’s not us – it’s God Himself.
Father, our thanks go to you when we see your hand behind the scriptures. It is you alone who are full of goodness and worthy of all glory.
Reprinted with kind permission of daybyday.org.uk.