Published Dec. 17, 2013

Paul's Epistle...
"Opening The Gift"

In this season of gift-giving, we think about God's greatest gift – the gift of His Son, Jesus – and , thereby, the gift of salvation through Christ.

But as we consider at Christmastime God's gift in human form – Jesus – let's remember another amazing gift – God's Word in written form – the Bible.

Michael Booth of the Booth Brothers recently reminded me of this during an interview about Christmas. He told me that as a parent, he loves watching the excitement in his children's eyes as they run to find and open their Christmas gifts on Christmas morning.

But, Michael says, it's a reminder of another gift: "As an adult, you look at it and see how excited [the children] are when they discover a new gift. And it's a reflection now to me of what a child of God is like when we read Scripture and we get a new revelation of the Word, opening our eyes to truth, and we respond with joy and excitement. I can imagine that the Father looks at us the way I look at my kids and goes, ‘Wow, I'm excited to see them get it, to be excited and grateful for something new.'"

It is surely an understatement to say so, but there's something quite amazing about God's Word, as presented to us in written form. Every time we open the Bible and read it with an open and accepting heart and mind, the Holy Spirit will not only reaffirm familiar truths but will also impart some new understanding of truth to our minds. There simply is no other literature that will do that. None.

Why is that? It's because the Bible is, after all, God's Word. God gave it, and God is moving and working through it — today and eternally. He honors His Word, after all. And as a result, because God is alive, the Word of God is alive, too. It never changes, but is constantly imparting new insights as the Holy Spirit opens our minds to new understandings of God's eternal truths.

That's why, if you're struggling with a particular issue, you can read a portion of Scripture that you've read many times before – but now the Holy Spirit opens to your mind an appropriate truth in a brand new way that speaks to your current need. God doesn't change (Malachi 3:6), only our understanding of what God has already provided changes as He provides the "light" that we need. Only God's Word can do that.

2 Timothy 3:16 reminds us that "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God..." Scripture is "given" — it's God's gift. And it is, of course, the gift that helps us to see and understand God's great gift of His Son. From cover to cover, the Bible is the story of God's great gift of redemption for humankind – a story written in the mind of God from before "the foundation of the world." (Matt. 25:34; Heb. 4:3, 9:26; 1 Peter 1:20; Rev. 13:8.)

God is a giving God. It's part of His character. It's evidenced through His great love and His grace. But we would know nothing about it without the gift of His Word – preserved for us as the Bible.

What a gift!  But far too many people — even professing Christians — have left this precious gift, for the most part, unopened.

Have you opened your gift today?

- Paul

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