The Preciousness Of God’s Word
By Octavius Winslow (1808 – 1878)
The experience of the believer supplies, perhaps, the most powerful and conclusive testimony to the preciousness of God’s Word. How many a truth-experienced, gospel-believing, Christ-loving heart will respond to the words of David, “How sweet are Thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psa. 119:103). What says Jeremiah? “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and Thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart...” (Jer. 15:16).
God’s Word Is Truth
God’s Word is precious to the believer, first, because it is divine, attested, experienced TRUTH. God’s Word is truth. He who is emphatically “the Truth” (John 14:6), because He is essential truth, and the substance of revealed truth, has affirmed that in His sublime and memorable prayer: “...Thy word is truth” (John 17:17).
Pursue this thought for a moment. There would seem to exist a necessity that it should be so, since it is the Word of the God of truth, partaking of the nature of that God whose truth it is. All that emanates from God must be a transcript, in some degree, of what He is. It is faintly so in the works of nature; yet more clearly so in the kingdom of providence; perfectly so in the empire of grace. The great truth, then, to which these three witnesses testify is this, “He is the Rock, His work is perfect: for all His ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He” (Deut. 32:4). It follows then, as clearly as any conclusion can from its premise, that His Word is true – eternally, essentially, immortally true. True in the Savior it reveals, in the salvation it declares, in the doctrines it expounds, in the precepts it enforces, in the promises it speaks, in the hopes it unveils, and in the threatenings it denounces. “Thy word is truth.”
As divine truth, then, it is most precious to the believer who has staked his all of future and eternal happiness upon its veracity. Let your faith, beloved reader, have more close dealing with the truth of God’s Word. Whatever gloomy and untoward providences may gather their shadows around your path, hold fast your confidence in the truth of God’s Word. You shall find mutability in everything but this. God will vary His providences, but cannot alter His Word. “For ever, O Lord, Thy word is settled in heaven” (Psa. 119:89); “…the word of the Lord endureth for ever...” (1 Pet. 1:25). All that God has whispered in mercy or has thundered in judgment – the promise of love, the threatening of wrath – all the precious words upon which He has caused our souls to hope – the succourings pledged, the sure mercies covenanted, the assurances given, the consolations engaged, the oath sworn, shall all be fulfilled.
Your faith in God’s word of promise may be severely tried by God’s dealings with you in providence – the one may appear to oppose and contradict the other – but ever remember that God cannot deny Himself, nor alter the word that has gone out of His mouth. Oh, cling then to Christ’s Word, as the mariner to the plank, as the mother to her infant, yea, as a humble believer in that divine and gracious Savior who has said, “…Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37).
The Scriptures Testify of Jesus
As testifying of Jesus and His salvation, the Word of God must ever be transcendently precious to the believer. The Bible is, from its commencement to its close, a record of the Lord Jesus. Around Him – the divine and glorious Center – all its wondrous types, prophecies, and facts gather. His Promise and Foreshadowing; His holy Incarnation, Nativity, and Baptism; His Obedience and Passion; His Death, Burial, and Resurrection; His Ascension to heaven; His Second Coming to judge the world, and to set up His glorious kingdom – all of these are the grand and touching, the sublime and tender, the priceless and precious truths interwoven with the whole texture of the Bible, to which the Old and the New Testaments bear their harmonious and solemn testimony.
Beloved, let this be the one and chief object in your study of the Bible: the knowledge of Jesus. The Bible is not a history, a book of science, a poem – it is the record of Christ. Study it to know more of Him – His nature, His love, His work. With the magnanimous Paul, “count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord” (Phil. 3:8). Then will God’s Word become increasingly precious to your soul, and its truths unfold. You will trace the history of Jesus, see the glory of Jesus, admire the work of Jesus, learn the love of Jesus, and hear the voice of Jesus, in every page. The whole volume will be redolent of His name, and luminous with His beauty. Oh, what were the Bible to us apart from its revelation of a Savior!
Do we search the Scriptures humbly, prayerfully, depending upon the guidance of the Spirit, to find Jesus in them? Of these Scriptures He is the Alpha and the Omega – the substance, the sweetness, the glory – the one, precious, absorbing theme. Listen to His own words, “Search the Scriptures…these are they which testify of Me” (John 5:39). Moses wrote of Me; David sang of Me; seers prophesied of Me; evangelists recorded My life; apostles expounded My doctrine; and martyrs have died for My name. “THESE ARE THEY WHICH TESTIFY OF ME.” Yes, Lord! Thy Word is precious to our souls, because it reveals to us Thy glory, and tells of Thy love!
Doctrine, Precept, Reproof and Promise
Precious, too, is the Word of God, as containing doctrine, precept, reproof and promise. The doctrines are precious, as affording instruction to the mind, and establishment to the faith of the child of God. There can be no real, stable building up in God’s truth when the great doctrines of grace are faintly believed and loosely held. These doctrines, then, which exalt the Lamb of God, which lay the glory and power and boasting of the creature in the dust, and which exhibit the electing love and sovereign grace of God in his salvation, are most precious to the truth-experienced heart of the believer in Jesus.
Not less precious to him is the preceptive teaching of God’s Word. When there is a real experience of the power of doctrines, there will be a love of the precept. You will desire to be sanctified as well as justified – to have your heart purified, and your life molded by the holiness of the truth. The precept that enjoins separation from the world; that teaches us to deny all ungodliness, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present evil world; that bids us take up our daily cross and follow a crucified Savior; and realizing our resurrection life in Him, thus to seek those things that are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God – must be precious, inconceivably precious, to a Christ-loving heart.
The rebukes, too, of God’s Word, humbling though they are, yet are welcome to the believer. The Word that gently chides your backslidings, unveils your follies, checks your inconsistencies, and lays your pride, self-seeking and self-boasting in the dust, is precious to your soul. The Christian feels that “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim. 3:16), and therefore he welcomes all. Beloved, count not less dear to your heart, or as less the tender unfolding of God’s love, those parts of His truth which reprove, humble, empty, and lay you low. The rebukes and reproofs of God’s Word are as valuable and precious in themselves as the promises, since both equally seek the sanctification of the believer, and both emanate from the same Divine mind, and flow from the same loving heart.
As a source of Divine consolation how many will testify to the preciousness of God’s Word! “The God of all comfort” (2 Cor. 1:3) is He who speaks in this Word, and there is no word of comfort like that which He speaks. Take to the Word what sorrow you may, go with what mental beclouding, with what spirit-sadness, with what heart-grief – be its character, its complexion, its depth unsurpassed in the history of human sorrow – there is consolation and support in the Word of God for your mind. There is in these sacred pages a voice of sympathy and soothing chiming with your grief; and thus by the “comfort of the Scriptures” you have hope (Rom. 15:4) that God will not leave you in trouble, but will sustain you in it, will bring you out of, and sanctify you by it, to the endless glory and praise of His great and precious name.
God’s Word is the Book of the afflicted. God speaks to your sad and sorrowing heart from every page of this sacred volume, with words of comfort, loving, gentle and persuasive as a mother’s – “As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you…” (Isa. 66:13). The Bible is the opening of the heart of God. It is God’s heart unveiled, each throb inviting the poor in spirit, the widow, the fatherless, the bereaved, the persecuted, the sufferer, yea, every form and child of affliction and grief, to the refuge and sympathy, the protection and soothing of His heart. Oh, thank God for the comfort and consolation of the Scripture! Open it with what sorrow and burden and perplexity you may – be it the guilt of sin, the pressure of trial, or the corrodings of sorrow – it speaks to the heart such words of comfort as God only could speak.
The Word of God is equally valuable and precious to the believer because of its quickening power. There is a divine vitality in the Word which conveys life where it comes in the power and demonstration of the Spirit (1 Cor. 2:4; 1 Thes. 1:5). As the instrument of regeneration and of sanctification, the Bible is beyond all price. As an instrument of the new birth, thus does the Holy Spirit speak of it: “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (1 Pet. 1:23). And alluding to it equally as the appointed instrument of holiness, our Lord prays to His Father, “Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth” (John 17:17). And to the disciples He employs similar language: “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you” (John 15:3).
Clearly, then, is God’s Word an instrument of spiritual life and of gospel holiness, and as such commends itself to the deepest reverence, the warmest love, and the most diligent study of the believer. Search it to know more of Christ, more of His atoning work, more of His mediatorial suitability to meet your every state of mind and heart. Study it to know the will of God, the love of your heavenly Father. Take every doubt, perplexity, and sorrow to the Word of God. And before you unfold its sacred leaves, lift your heart in prayer to the Eternal Spirit to guide your reading, to open your understanding, and to unveil your eye to this divine well-spring of life.
– Adapted from The Precious Things Of God.