Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 10, 1962

The Bible --- A Useless Book?

Jack Holt

It may seem strange to hear the Bible spoken of as a useless book, but that is what the Bible is to many. Jeremiah said: "0 Lord the way of man is not in himself, it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps." (Jer. 10:23) Man, therefore, needs a guide and God has given him the Bible. Yet in spite of this plain statement in Jeremiah, many affirm that it makes no difference what you believe in religion, and that one may worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience.

The Bible was given to reveal to man what he is to be, and what he is to believe. The only belief acceptable to God is belief of His word. Without this faith "It is impossible to please" God. (Hob. 11:6) This faith comes by "hearing the Word of God." (Rom. 10:17) One does not please God by merely believing something, but by believing what God said. If it makes no difference what a man believes in religion, or what acts he performs in worship, then man can guide himself, faith comes from his own thoughts, and the Bible is useless to him.

The trouble in the religious world, and one great cause of confusion is that men will not believe what God tells men to believe. Jesus said: "He that believeth not (the Gospel) shall be damned." (Mk. 16:16) To be saved one must believe the Gospel of Christ. (Rom. 1:16) The Bible is often extolled and honored as God's word, yet it is generally rejected as a guide. Jesus said to the religious leaders of His day: "Ye hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy of you saying, This people draweth nigh to me with their mouth, and honoreth me with their lips: but their heart is far from me. But in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." (Matt. 15:7-9) These men were religious, but wrong. They were hypocrites because they pretended to believe God's Word, but did not. If it makes no difference what one believes in religion, or how one worships God, why did Jesus condemn these religious people? To these men the Bible was useless for they had rejected it to guide themselves and to walk in their own ways.

Is the Bible a useless book to us? Do we really believe and follow it? Jesus said: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." (Mk. 16:16) Do we reject this to follow men and say in effect that God does not have a right to tell us what to believe? God tells us, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved," and in the same verse He tells us that if we do not believe this we shall be damned. Jesus asked: "Why call ye me Lord, Lord and do not the things which I say?" (Lk. 6:46) To confess Christ as Lord involves believing what He said. Many believe something in religion, but the belief that saves is believing what Christ said.

The Bible teaches that God is to be glorified in the church. (Eph. 3:21) Can we believe and do we believe God when we form benevolent and missionary societies and attempt to glorify God by our own wisdom and our own ways? Is the Bible useless to the church? Can the church do anything it wants to do, or only what God reveals for it to do? Just doing something, believing it is for God, does not mean that it is for God. "Not everyone who saith unto me Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my father who is iiL heaven. Many will say unto me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works?" These people did something, and believed all their works were good and acceptable to God. But Jesus said unto them: "....I never knew you (approved you or your works) depart from me, ye that work iniquity." (Matt. 7:21-23) To these people the Bible was a useless book, for in their religious works they followed their own will, rather than the will of God.

What shall we do? Follow God by using His Word as our guide? Or shall we endeavor to walk in our own ways? The Bible was given to guide us. It is either a complete and perfect guide or no guide. It is a full and perfect pattern or no pattern. If it makes no difference what one does in religion, or what one believes then how shall God judge the world? Let us use the Bible; let it be a lamp unto our feet and a light to our path.

— Box 545, Longview, Texas