When the Church was founded on Pentecost with the descent of the Holy Spirit, the Risen Lord left His revealed word in the life of the Church. His Holy Spirit guided the Church “into all truth” by preserving pure and intact whatsoever He had proclaimed during His earthly ministry. The message of the Gospel was preached and transmitted orally in the beginning, but at the same time it was being written by the Apostles of Christ and the disciples of the Apostles. These written documents proclaiming the word of God later comprised the New Testament, as writings inspired by the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit spoke not only though the prophets of the Old Testament, but especially through the Apostles of Jesus Christ who fulfilled the prophesies and brought the fullness of Truth into the world. Both the Old Testament and the New Testament are divinely inspired writings through which God speaks to man; both together constitute the Holy Bible or Holy Scriptures.
The Bible is God’s revelation to man. In His written word we come to an understanding of what He wills, what His purpose is for us, and what His eternal design is for the redemption of man.
By reading the Holy Scriptures our soul feeds on spiritual food. We are nourished and strengthened inwardly. We learn what the will of God is, His Law, and commandments. We enlighten ourselves to God’s nature, His relations within, and His infinite Love in Christ. To read the Bible is to listen to what God speaks to us and to experience the unspeakable joy of communicating with our blessed Lord. Christ becomes more real to us when we read the very words He uttered while upon earth. We can sense His closeness to us, as we hear Him speak to us in Holy Scriptures. What greater joy can man experience than contacting the living word of God! “The words that I speak unto you”, our Divine Master said, “they are spirit and they are life.”
Studying the Bible renews our spiritual life. It strengthens our faith in God and awakens us out of any possible spiritual lethargy. It revives our love for God and re-enforces our determination to serve His divine will.
It is not sufficient to hear the Epistle and Gospel read at Church on Sundays. It is our Christian obligation to spend a few minutes each day at home with the Bible. To be unacquainted with the Bible is to show little concern for our eternal welfare. It is to show indifference to God’s invitation to His Heavenly Kingdom. In the words of St. John Chrysostom, “To be ignorant of Scripture is the cause of all evil!”
How often we condemn ourselves in the eyes of God when we show considerable zeal in reading newspapers, books, and magazines, while we totally ignore that unique Book which offers us our eternal benefit and everlasting welfare!
With love in Christ,