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Christians view the words of the Bible in various ways, some as moral guidance, some as principles of wisdom, some as doctrines, some as literary and historical treasures, some as prophetic oracles and most as Gospel for salvation. In all these approaches, the meaning of the Bible is far more crucial than its actual words. However, during His sermon on the Mount of Beatitudes, Jesus said,
"For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, one dot or one mark will pass from the law until all be fulfilled" (Matt. 5:18).
He seems literal in what He meant. Every jot and tittle in the original, inspired, written manuscript is important.
In Luke 4, Jesus, the Son of God, the Word who became flesh, could have disarmed the temptations of Satan by any means within His power, but He chose to use the written Scripture by simply proclaiming, "It is written ... " and "It has been said ..." Jesus agreed with the power of the written and oral Word.
If the Son of God and the Word incarnate aligned Himself with God's Word to overcome His adversary and choose the path of righteousness and life, how much more we should engage with God's Word in the most reverent manner?
Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted by the devil for forty days. During those days He ate nothing. And when they were ended, He was hungry.
The devil said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread."
Jesus answered him, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.'
The devil, taking Him up onto a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, "I will give You all this power and their glory, for it has been delivered to me. And I give it to whomever I will. If You, then, will worship me, all will be Yours."
And Jesus answered him, "Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve'"
He brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. For it is written: 'He shall give His angels charge concerning you, to preserve you,' and 'In their hands they shall hold you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'
Jesus answered him, "It is said, 'You shall not tempt the Lord your God. When the devil had ended all the temptations, he departed from Him until another time.
There is great advantage in faithfully storing the Word of God in our hearts and minds. When we do this, the Holy Spirit can use it in a timely (kairos) moment as the sword of the Spirit. I also believe we need to remember God's words verbatim, not just remember the general idea of the biblical content. The devil tries to sow doubt into our minds pertaining to God's Word when we are unsure of what that Word is.
During His temptation in Luke 4, even Jesus, the Son of God, the Word who became flesh, had to proclaim God's Word as it is written in the biblical text, not just general information about the truth at stake. I still attempt to commit to memory one or two Bible verses every week. I usually try to memorize the chapter and verse reference, as well. In moments of spiritual warfare, when I face some strong opposition or oppression of darkness in the unseen realm, or even in my sleep, I find that a spontaneous response from my inner man declaring the Word of God restrains darkness and oppression and pushes them out of the sphere of my life and ministry.
The Word of God stored within me is like the sword of the Spirit ready to be pulled out as an offensive weapon against the enemy lurking in darkness to deceive and oppress (Eph. 6:10–18; Heb. 4:12). There is great freedom when we have confidence in His Word.
Daniel Lim serves as the chief executive officer of the International House of Prayer of Kansas City. He was trained at a Baptist seminary (M.A. in World Missions) and served as a Baptist pastor in Southeast Asia. With a passion for the gospel of the kingdom of God and the glory of Jesus Christ, Daniel teaches at conferences, churches, universities, and seminaries throughout the nations.
Daniel is the author of Bible 360°: Total Engagement with the Word of God. The Lord blessed Daniel and his wife, Levi, with two children, Samuel and Emmanuel. Emmanuel went home to be with the Lord in 2008 while they were ministering in Myanmar during the crisis relief effort after Cyclone Nargis.
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