Devouring the Bible

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Protestors seek to destroy it. The faithful want to consume it.

by Mark Hitchcock

The Bible is the perennial best-seller in America. For over two centuries, it has been the spiritual bedrock of America. But the Bible is falling on hard times in the United States today. It’s being disregarded, distorted, denied, and even derided and disdained.

Over the summer, a Gallup poll found that fewer Americans than ever believe the Bible is the literal word of God:

A record-low 20% of Americans now say the Bible is the literal word of God, down from 24% the last time the question was asked in 2017, and half of what it was at its high points in 1980 and 1984. Meanwhile, a new high of 29% say the Bible is a collection of “fables, legends, history and moral precepts recorded by man.” This marks the first time significantly more Americans have viewed the Bible as not divinely inspired than as the literal word of God

A few days ago, total disdain for God’s Word hit a new low as transgender activists in Wisconsin snatched a Bible from a believer’s hands, ripped it up, and devoured its pages.

That’s right. They ate pages of the Word of God in a frenzy of contempt and derision:

Earlier this week, conservative commentator Matt Walsh held an event at the University of Wisconsin in Madison to screen his documentary, What is a Woman?

The documentary goes into detail on transgender activism and the erasure of women in modern America, which makes him and his supporters a target for left wing anger.

That anger erupted outside of the screening, as a man reading Bible passages out loud was attacked by protestors. According to Fox News, the protestors “snatched the Bible, ripped it up, and one protestor ate the pages.” Video of the incident shows the pages being ripped apart, with one left wing protestor shoving a page into their mouth.

The article goes on to draw a sharp contrast:

Just imagine if this had happened with the Koran; the school would have taken immediate action, condemned their actions, and it would lead national news stories for days on end. Instead, because they destroyed the Bible, there’s little to no outcry from anyone outside of those targeted.

A Microcosm of Our Culture

For centuries in America, the Bible was revered and honored—even by those who didn’t believe its message or obey its contents. But all that has changed dramatically. This incident is a microcosm of our culture. The Bible is being shredded and devoured before our eyes.

It reminds me of the tragic story in Jeremiah 36 when wicked King Jehoiakim cut up a scroll containing God’s Word and threw it into the fire because he didn’t like the prophecies in it that foretold his doom. Nevertheless, his actions did nothing to change God’s message. God had Jeremiah make another copy, adding more words about the wicked king, and Jehoiakim met his fate just as God predicted.

Those today who hate God’s Word and the message it contains cannot change it by ripping it up, burning it, or eating it. God’s Word stands forever in heaven.

The Bible is the very words of God Himself. As 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God.” Literally, the Greek word we translate to the English word “inspired” means “God-breathed.”

The pastor and professor Dale Ralph Davis use a great expression to describe what this means:

“Every time one deals with the Word of God one is dealing with the God whose word it is. The Word of God is not some extraneous object out there for us to squeeze to our liking; rather it is always warm with the breath of God’s own mouth.”

I love that. The Bible is alive. The Bible “is always warm with the breath of God’s own mouth.” For that reason, you and I must love and treasure God’s Word and take it into our lives every day. God’s Word is our spiritual nourishment.

Destruction vs. Dissemination

Those who literally consume the Bible—like the protestors in Wisconsin—are trying to destroy it. But God calls us to eat His Word, figuratively, so we can disseminate its life-giving truth to others.

Consider God’s instructions to the prophet Ezekiel:

And he said to me, “Son of man, eat what is before you, eat this scroll; then go and speak to the people of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat. Then he said to me, “Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.” So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth. He then said to me: “Son of man, go now to the people of Israel and speak my words to them.—Ezekiel 3:1-4

And ponder God’s words to the apostle John in Revelation:

So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, “Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but ‘in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey.’” I took the little scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour. Then I was told, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.”—Revelation 10:9-11

As followers of Christ, we have had the same mission in these last days. We must consume God’s Word. We need to take it into our lives and then speak its prophetic truth to those around us. Notice that Bible prophecy is “sweet and sour.” It’s sweet, in that, it tells of Christ’s coming to rapture His people to heaven and reign over the earth.

But it’s sour because it tells of the judgment coming to those who reject Christ.

Our mission today, like the instructions to Ezekiel and John, is to assimilate God’s Word and then disseminate it. But we can’t disseminate what we haven’t assimilated.

As we approach the coming of Jesus Christ, and our society becomes more antagonistic toward God’s Word, we must allow the breath of God’s own mouth to change our lives each day. Consume it. Take it in. Digest it. Metabolize it. Assimilate it.

Allow it to change your life and fill you with hope and peace as you await the coming of Jesus Christ and then faithfully disseminate that word to others. As you fulfill this calling, let the words of the famous 19th-century preacher Charles Spurgeon encourage you:

“Oh, that you and I might get into the very heart of the Word of God, and get that Word into ourselves! As I have seen the silkworm eat into the leaf, and consume it, so ought we to do with the Word of the Lord—not crawl over its surface, but eat right into it till we have taken it into our inmost parts. It is idle merely to let the eye glance over the words, or to recollect the poetical expressions, or the historic facts; but it is blessed to eat into the very soul of the Bible until, at last, you come to talk in Scriptural language, and your very style is fashioned upon Scripture models, and, what is better still, your spirit is flavored with the words of the Lord.”