A better Bible? Let me shout, “No, NO, NOOO!” We not only don’t need a “better” Bible, it would be impossible to write one. Inspired men refer to the one we have as “given by inspiration of God”, profitable for doctrine, reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteous- ness”– and the result is “the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16). Another inspired writer described God’s word as “perfect,” and declared that people are blessed by the Bible, not just because they hear it, but when they are “doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:21, 25). The Bible tells us the earliest Christians “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine” (Acts 2:42), and that they were taught to “remember the words which were spoken by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 17). But, as Willard Collins, former president of David Lipscomb University, once said, “A lot of preachers try to find something wrong with the Bible. When they can’t find anything wrong with it they try to find something new [in it]” (at a seminar at the Madison church of Christ building, 10/18/97). His words bring to my mind a catchy little quote a fellow-preacher taught me years ago – “If it’s new, it ain’t true, and if it’s true it ain’t new.” That hasn’t stopped many churches and preachers and “reverends” and theologians from having “new” insights after “re-imagining” Bible teaching on the plan of salvation, the organization of Christ’s church, worship in spirit and truth, and practically every aspect of the Bible’s moral / spiritual content. The result is widespread ignorance, confusion, and division in the religious world today, and a world at large so open-minded its moral brains have fallen out.
But wait. Calls for a “new and improved” Bible / gospel, more in keeping with man’s thinking, are not new. Consider these jarring words from a riled-up apostle Paul in Galatians 1:6- 9: “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.” The rest of GALATIANS reveals some wanted an “App” or “add on” of circumcision to the inspired gospel Paul preached. Paul vigorously opposes that idea throughout the rest of the letter, even as he vigorously contends for salvation through faith in Christ (see 3:26-29). Paul described himself in 1 Corinthians 9:[19-]22 as one who was willing to “become all things to all men, that I might save some.” But when it came to adapting and amending and adding to and “improving” and making the inspired content of the gospel “better,” the apostle dug his heels in and resolutely refused, and “did not yield submission, even for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you” (see Galatians 2:4-5). A better Bible? It has been pointed out the devil wouldn’t have written the Bible even if he could, man couldn’t have written the Bible even if he would, so God is its source. Christians listen up – our first calling is not to be ambassadors of good will – our highest duty is to be ambassadors for God’s will. “Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?” (Galatians 4:16)