Ten Qualities of Scripture which Testify of its Ability to Transform Us from the Inside Out
In Psalm 19, the choirmaster David exalts the revelation of God. The first six verses, which describe how God’s created works reveal His majesty, wisdom, and power, begin this way: “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge” (vv. 1 – 2). In addition, and more specifically, the psalm explains how Scripture reveals aspects of God’s character and will that are not revealed by nature. Ten qualities of Scripture are presented to convince us that God’s revelation leads us to a relationship with Him and contains the truth necessary to subsequently transform us from the inside out, beginning in the deepest recesses of our very being—our soul.
Scripture Restores the Soul
The words of God contain the power to restore lost souls back to God. “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul” (Ps. 19:7). When employed by the Holy Spirit, the Scriptures are the life-giving power of God to produce faith (Rom. 10:17) and to save those who believe in Christ (Rom. 1:16). As a result, redeemed sinners are restored to a friendly relationship with God.
Scripture Makes Simple-Minded People Wise
The words of God are His self-testimony; they bear witness of Him and, as a result, make “wise the simple” (Ps. 19:7). The Hebrew word translated “simple” means open-minded. In other words, simple people are so open-minded so as to believe anything and everything without consideration of truth; they are naive. The Word has the ability to move us from foolishness to wisdom since Scripture reveals to us the glory of Jesus Christ, who is our wisdom (1 Cor. 1:30).
Scripture Brings Joy to the Heart
The words of God implant joy within the saddened heart. Whether our grief is caused by the suffering that accompanies life in a broken world or is the consequence of our own sinful choices, we may turn to the precepts of the Lord, which “are right, rejoicing the heart” (Ps. 19:8). Even when “severely afflicted,” we find the Scriptures to be “the joy of [our] heart” (Ps. 119:107, 111).
Scripture Enlightens the Eyes of the Heart
The words of God, empowered by the Holy Spirit, supernaturally open spiritual eyes that are blinded by the effects of humanity’s fall. Scripture is pure, “unmixed with evil,” and it enlightens the eyes of the mind and heart so that believers are able to be responsive to God (Ps. 19:8). The gospel of John records the healing of a man who was born blind. As significant as it was for this blind man to receive physical sight, the infinitely more valuable sight he received was the gift of eyes to see Jesus for who He really was — the Lord and Savior of needy sinners (John 9:27 – 33). The gospel is the light of the glory of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 4:6).
Scripture Endures Forever
The words of God will never die or become irrelevant; they are “pure” and “enduring forever” (Ps. 19:8 – 9). Man’s theories will come and go, like withering grass and fading flowers, but “the word of our God will stand forever” (Isa. 40:8). The undying Scriptures, by which we “have been born again,” are not “perishable seed but . . . imperishable . . . the living and abiding word of God” (1 Peter 1:22 – 23).
Scripture Sanctifies the Life
The words of God lead us toward a life of godliness as we submit to the good path they lay out before us, since “the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether” (Ps. 19:9). Jesus told His disciples that they were “already . . . clean because of the word” that He had spoken to them (John 15:3, emphasis added). He also prayed to the Father for the apostles and for all those who would believe through their witness: “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17).
Scripture Defines the Value of Its Own Treasure
The words of God are more valuable and, therefore, “more to be desired . . . than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb” (Ps. 19:10). To the believer — whose soul has been revived by its gospel and whose life is being transformed from its inward-working power — Scripture is our most prized earthly possession. It alone defines success and prosperity in God’s terms, rather than by the world’s values and expectations.
Scripture Warns Us of the Consequences of Disobeying God
The words of God, by both precept and illustration, warn of the consequences of sin and foolishness. By the rules of Scripture we are “warned” (Ps. 19:11). For example, its precepts command, “You shall not commit adultery” (Ex. 20:14), and warn young men (and old, of course) to stay far away from the immoral woman, “for her house sinks down to death” (Prov. 2:18). However, by means of illustration, Scripture also invites us to enter the devastated world of King David whose heart never ceased to grieve the consequences of adultery from the moment he violated Bathsheba until he was placed in the royal tomb. Nathan’s horrific prophecy unfolded just as God had said (2 Sam. 12:10 – 12).
Scripture Promises Reward to Those Who Obey
The words of God, in like manner, also promise “great reward” to those who align their heart and life to its standard (Ps. 19:11). Out of the pain of his scarred life, ruined family, and humiliated kingdom, King David’s dying words to his son Solomon become an immortal challenge to the rest of us to “keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies” in order that we “may prosper in all that [we] do and wherever [we] turn” (1 Kings 2:3).
These ten qualities of Scripture display its full-orbed sufficiency to not only explain what walking with God in a broken world may entail but also to empower us to live according to His revealed will. This unchanging revelation of God prevails as a secure lighthouse on the sea of humanity’s ever-changing theories.
This is the second of five posts which are brief excerpts/adaptations derived from the chapter that Steve Viars and I contributed to the Biblical Counseling Coalition’s book, Scripture and Counseling: God’s Word for Life in a Broken World, from Zondervan. Pastors, elders, counselors, small group leaders…anyone interested in growing in the personal ministry of the Word to one another would benefit greatly by reading this volume.