The Bible: Our Dwelling Place and Portal to Freedom

The Bible: Our Dwelling Place and Portal to Freedom

“Jesus then said to the Jews who had believed in him, ‘If you persist in my word, you are indeed my disciples, and you will understand the truth, and the truth will set you free’” (John 8:31, 32 RSV). These powerful verses set the stage for our exploration today as we delve into the Bible’s critical role as our sanctuary and the passageway to spiritual freedom.

The cornerstone of our deep respect for the Bible lies in the understanding that it is indeed the word of God, echoing the teachings of Christ during His time on Earth, as influenced by the Holy Spirit. This sentiment is cemented by Paul’s proclamation that all Scripture is inspired by God (2 Tim. 3:16), referring to what was eventually known as the Old Testament. Echoed in the writings of Peter (2 Pet. 1:20, 21), it’s clear that the Hebrew Scriptures’ divine inspiration is a foundational tenet of Christianity. The New Testament further reinforces this concept, as it encapsulates the actions and teachings of Jesus and His apostles under the guidance of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

However, the Bible’s transformation into Christ’s word is a deeply personal journey that unfolds only for those who embrace Him as their Saviour and Lord (John 7:39, NIV). Jesus’s teachings elucidate that the true disciple—a loyal follower—is one who continuously resides in His word. His word becomes more than a fleeting interest; it forms a safe haven of truth, a sanctuary that offers safety and certainty.

The privilege of permanent residence in this house of truth, however, requires liberation from sin’s shackles (John 8:34). “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be indeed free” (John 8:36, KJV), Jesus promises, emphasising that our faith in Him paves the way to such spiritual emancipation.

With freedom comes an enhanced comprehension of the Bible. Jesus empowers us to overcome the temporal and cultural barriers that separate us from the Scriptures through His Spirit of truth. He also resolves confusions and contradictions and illuminates the more peculiar ideologies of some Bible authors. While these challenges may persist, they no longer hinder our joy and enrichment derived from diligent study of the text, our faith’s bedrock. This newfound freedom gives us the ability to comprehend and love, perceive the truth, encounter Christ within the Bible, and reside within His teachings.

Encountering Jesus throughout the Bible presents its own set of challenges. While the New Testament lends itself readily to this endeavour, the Old Testament demands a more studious approach. Yet, with sustained effort and careful study, it is indeed possible. A compelling example is provided by Jesus Himself in the Gospel of Luke, where He accompanies two of His disciples on the road to Emmaus. After hearing their grief and confusion over His death, He reproaches their failure to understand the prophecies foretelling His suffering, death, and resurrection (Luke 24:19, 25, 26, RSV).

Although we lack an exact record of Jesus’s interpretation, it is evident that it is possible to relate the entirety of the Old Testament to the Messiah’s mission. Not every verse directly mentions Him, but His presence permeates the Hebrew Scriptures in various passages. Thus, we can encounter Jesus as profoundly in the Old Testament as in the New.

In conclusion, as an embodiment of Jesus’s teachings, the Bible provides us with a spiritual home—a haven of welcoming and protective truth. But to truly dwell in this home, we must shake off the chains of sin. Through Jesus’s teachings, we find liberation and an enriched understanding of the Bible, allowing us to navigate its inherent ambiguities and intricacies. The key to this journey is persistence in our study of the Scriptures, fostering encounters with Jesus throughout the Old and New Testaments. Consequently, the Bible transcends its status as a mere text; it metamorphoses into our sanctuary of truth and the roadmap to spiritual liberation. Therefore, as we delve into the Scripture, we become readers and dwellers in its wisdom, forever transformed by the liberating power of truth. Our journey in the word of God is indeed a journey into the heart of freedom itself.