Inhaling the Oxygen of God’s Word

“…The Bible reeducates us. The Bible makes sages out of fools. It corrects us.

“But we need to press deeper. The Bible not only corrects us; it also oxygenates us. We need a Bible not only because we are wrong in our minds but also because we are empty in our souls.

“This is why I like the metaphor of breathing. Taking a big breath into our lungs fills us with fresh air, gives us oxygen, calms us down, provides focus, and brings mental clarity. What inhaling does for us physically, Bible reading does for us spiritually.

“In this shifty, uncertain world, God has given us actual words. Concrete, unmoving, fixed words. We can go to the rock of Scripture amid the shifting sands of this life. Your Bible is going to have the same words tomorrow that it does today. Friends can’t provide that – they will move in and out of your life, loyal today but absent tomorrow. Parents and their counsel will die. Your pastor will not always be available to take your call. The counselor who has given you such sage instruction will one day retire, or maybe you’ll move out of state. But you can roll out of bed tomorrow morning and, whatever stressors slide uncomfortably across your mental horizon as you groan with the anxieties of the day, your friend the Bible is unfailingly steady. It lies there, awaiting opening, eager to steady you amid all the unanswered questions before you that day. It will give you what you need and not evade you. Our truest wisdom and only safety is to build our lives on its words (Matt.7:24-27).

“If fact, we should not be saying ‘it,’ but ‘he.’ Through Scripture God himself addresses us. The reason the Bible does not shift and move is that God does not shift and move. Your Bible is not just the best book there is among all the books out there. The Bible is a different kind of book. It’s of another class. It is similar to other books in that it is bound between two covers and is filled with small black letters comprising words throughout. But the Bible is different from other books in the way rainfall is different from your garden hose – it comes from above and provides a kind of nourishment far beyond that our own resources can provide.

“Why? Because the Bible’s author is God, and God knows exactly what will nourish us.”

Taken from Deeper: Real Change for Real Sinners by Dane C. Ortlund (Crossway, 2021), pp146-47. This book is a kind of sequel to Ortlund’s other fine book, Gentle and Lowly, which I have also called attention to here.

Published in: on May 18, 2022 at 9:57 PM  Leave a Comment