Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 22, 1949
NUMBER 33, PAGE 2,4b

The Bible, Our Perfect Guide

Chas. L. Heron, Arlington, Texas

The writer of the 119th Psalm had undoubtedly gained a great deal of good from following the instruction of the Lord. He says, "I have refrained my feet from every evil way...I have not departed from thy judgments... Through thy precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way." (verses 101-104.)

In this age of denominationalism men are recognizing every sort and kind of religion. Even in some circles of the Lord's church, there is a tendency to frown on those who stand forthrightly for the truth of the Lord. But the Psalmist said, "Through thy precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way." Doubtless if all who are laboring honestly in denominationalism got their understanding from the precepts of the Lord, they, too, would begin to hate the false ways. No student of the Bible can endorse the false ways that are in the land today; certainly Jesus did not endorse the many false doctrines of his day.

From the very beginning of the church of our Lord, faithful men have urged that we follow nothing more nor less than the Bible in our attempt to worship God. "If a man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God."

(1 Pet. 4:11.) "All scripture given by inspiration...that the man of God may be...furnished unto every good work" (2 Tim. 2:16, 17.) "He that goeth onward and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ hath not God."

(2 John 9.)

During the great restoration movement, the key-note of the preaching of those faithful men was, "Where the Bible speaks, we speak; where the Bible is silent, we are silent."

There is no other way in which religious people can be united. It would be as impossible to unite men upon the uninspired works of men as it would be unreasonable to ask such. It is both reasonable, and possible, to unite all men upon the simple New Testament gospel of Christ. Paul assured the Corinthians that they could have that unity if, indeed, they would "all speak the same things." (I Cor. 1:10.)

One might lay aside every creed of men, and have only the Bible, and still be perplexed. He must study, and must rightly divide the Scriptures. Paul told Timothy, "from a child thou hast known the sacred writings which are able to make thee wise unto salvation"; and again, he said, "study to show thyself approved unto God...rightly dividing the word of truth." (2 Tim. 2:15.) Two things are right on the surface in this admonition: first, that there is a right way and a wrong way of handling the truth; and second, by careful study one can learn what is right, and therefore follow in safety.

For any man today to begin to do the things which God required of Abraham, Noah, Moses, and others, would be the height of folly. Also for one to try to make the present law of Christ binding on Old Testament characters, and judge them by its precepts and commandments, would likewise be unreasonable. With the coming of the new dispensation, came the new law. Paul put it to the Hebrews, "The priesthood being changed, there is also of necessity a change of the law." (Heb. 7:12.) So when Christ became our High Priest, the law of Christ came into force.

The New Testament, containing the law of Christ, must be properly divided. The first four books of it do not tell us fully what to do, but they do tell us what to believe. And Jesus said, "Except ye believe that I am he, ye shall die in your sins." (John 8:24.) The testimony of men concerning Jesus, and the testimony preserved by the Holy Spirit are definitely for the purpose of creating faith in him as the Son of God. "These were written that ye might believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and believing, ye might have life through his name." No man believes in Christ until he believes everything concerning him. He must believe what the Bible says concerning his birth, his resurrection, his ascension, his atoning blood, etc. The modernist who claims to believe in Christ, yet denies many things of vital importance concerning him, does not believe in him at all, regardless of how he talks.

Just as the four "gospels" tell us what to believe, so the Book of Acts tells us what to do to become Christians. One may do everything else he reads in the Bible, but not until he does that which he finds these early disciples doing can he truly become a Christian. The Book of Acts, alone, gives the full information. In it we learn both by precept and by example exactly how the sinner is to be saved or forgiven of his sins.

Then there are the epistles—twenty-one of them. These books were written, and are preserved, for the purpose of directing us in our Christian living. The epistles instruct concerning both individual and congregational duty. Just as it is impossible for one to become a child of God without complying with every command addressed to the alien sinner, so it is likewise impossible for one to live the full Christian life without complying with every command addressed to the Christian.

The Bible must be considered as a guide—a perfect guide, all along the way of the Christian life. Substituting creeds for the word of God, and inventing new doctrines, following the ways of men rather than the way of God is certain to bring tragedy and disaster. It is no greater sin, however, to write a new creed and to subscribe to the doctrines of men than it is to understand the Bible—and not obey it. Refusing to obey the commandments of the Lord, is, in effect, exactly the same as subscribing to a creed of man—our own creed. For we are doing the thing that pleases us, rather than the thing that the Lord commands. The Bible is a perfect guide, all right, but it is not a guide at all until it is followed.