I get aggravated when I hear unbelievers quote something from the Bible that seems absurd, to justify their belief that it’s just a religious book of unreasonable laws. Society today has devalued Scripture and too many people undermine the Bible because they hear others do it or they don’t want to be accountable to anything or anyone.

An acquaintance of mine referred to an Old Testament verse about cutting off a person’s hand to prove how ridiculous the Bible was. This is a typical example of what people do — take phrases out of context to support their point. I explained how the Bible is a history book, and that verse was part of a passage revealing God giving a newly formed nation laws with consequences of breaking them, to provide order before a government was established. Taking verses out of context usually leads to misunderstanding and slanted perceptions.

I never felt so defensive as when a past leader of our country misquoted Scripture, referred to a secular phrase as biblical, and mocked Jesus’ teachings. This man’s sarcasm toward the Bible revealed his disdain for the book, and he repeatedly used biblical phrases out of context, trying to make Jesus and Christianity look senseless and invalid.

The Bible is a textbook that includes history and spiritual truths. Also called “God’s Word”, the Bible is the source of truth (starting with creation) and wisdom (spiritual knowledge, understanding, discernment, and application). The Lord gave guidelines on how to receive eternal life, how to live our lives, and how to obtain inner peace and joy. “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4). New Testament books were written about Jesus’ life so that readers will “believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:30-31).

Believers gain knowledge and understanding (given by the Holy Spirit) when studying God’s words. Those without biblical knowledge are vulnerable to being led astray. People proclaim all sorts of messages from the Bible, but if we haven’t personally read it and know what it says, we can’t verify if another person’s words are biblical or not. That’s one reason why people join cults and believe lies. They don’t know what the Bible actually says about the message they are hearing; meanwhile, what they hear sounds pretty good.

If we don’t know what is written in Scripture and the context in which it was written, how can we defend it? The Bereans went home and checked the Scriptures to see if Paul was preaching the truth (Acts 17:11). We should imitate the Bereans. With biblical knowledge and understanding, we are better equipped to avoid being persuaded by false messages or temptations of sin. Quite often, other people’s “insights” are not biblical and are propelled by Satan. Discernment is also needed to detect when Scripture is taken out of context and given a twist in its meaning, or diluted to justify immoral behavior and excuse sin. Studying the Bible enables you to recognize “wolves in sheep clothing.”

When you read and follow Jesus’ instructions, you will experience His power and presence. It’s like having money in the bank that requires the owner’s signature before it can be drawn out and used. If you don’t make a withdrawal, the account is just a number that doesn’t help you. Similarly, all of the Lord’s principles are found in Scripture a

nd are available for a withdrawal, to be acted on. What advantageous biblical truths do you regularly claim and experience?

The Bible contains so much information that it’s a lifetime study. No one can understand everything about God, but Scripture reveals enough for one to know and experience the Lord personally and to develop one’s faith. This relevant manual reveals our purpose in life, why life is full of problems, and prepares us for what comes after life ends.

What wisdom have you gained from reading the Bible?