I threw the Bible down next to me, just like I’ve done numerous times in my life. The Afghan man gently picked up the book, kissed it, and delicately set it back down.
From that profound moment, reverence took on a whole new meaning.
My reverence of Scripture completely changed when I was in the volatile region of Afghanistan meeting with men who are risking their lives for the sake of the Gospel.
These brave men are risking arrest, imprisonment, beatings and even death to get God’s Word into the hands of those who otherwise might never receive it. And there I was—tossing a Bible down like it’s nothing in a place where religious officials and citizens are hostile toward adherents of any other religion other than Islam.
Through his actions—kissing the Word of God—he displayed his purest beliefs that the book I was holding was truly God-breathed.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17, NIV
What Does God-Breathed Mean?
As we’re nearing the end of our Why Bible series—a journey through the New and Old Testament and how we can apply it to our lives—it’s important to truly understand what Paul was referencing when he wrote that “all scripture” is God-breathed. To understand the origins, allow me to teach a quick lesson in Greek.
The Greek word for “God-breathed” or as some translations say, “breathed out” is “theopneustos,” which means “inspired by God” or literally the very “breathe of God.”
It can be a little misleading if we consider the modern meaning of inspiration, which can be defined as a creative impulse. But when we use the word inspiration in reference to Scripture, think divinely guided or divinely inspired. We believe that each word in the Bible originated from the heart of God, written by men who were inspired by the Holy Spirit to write down exactly what God wanted to communicate to us.
Peter explained it this way:
“Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
2 Peter 1:20-21, NIV
At Kensington, we believe in the authenticity of Scripture so deeply that it’s one of our seven values. Under Scripture, we submit to the authoritative, trustworthy, unchanging word of God.(You can read more about our values here.)
When we hold this book, we believe that we are holding something that is very set apart (holy) because it contains truths that God wants us to have and to live by. I believe that man in Afghanistan understood this more than anyone I’ve ever met.
Why It Matters
Fewer and fewer Americans are self-identifying as Christians, while more and more are identifying as religiously unaffiliated.
David Kinnaman, president of the Barna Group, outlines the most significant trends from a six-year study done from 2011-30216. First and foremost, “increased skepticism.”
“More people have more questions about the origins, relevance and authority of the Scriptures … the steady rise of skepticism is creating a cultural atmosphere that is becoming unfriendly—sometimes even hostile—to claims of faith. In a society that venerates science and rationalism, it is an increasingly hard pill to swallow that an eclectic assortment of ancient stories, poems, sermons, prophecies, and letters, written and compiled over the course of 3,000 years, is somehow the sacred Word of God.”
With each passing year, the percentage of Americans who believe that the Bible is “just another book written by men” increases. So too does the perception that the Bible is actually harmful and that people who live by its principles are religious extremists.”
In a world where people are refuting the authority and relevance of Scripture, we believe the Bible reveals the plan of God to restore and redeem us back to His original creation intent for us. From God’s creation intent for us, to our rebellion, to His redemption and forgiveness through Jesus, to our future glorious eternity, the Bible unveils the mystery of our purpose.
God gave us this book for a specific purpose. He wants to use His Word to change us.
“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
Next time you pick up your Bible, I challenge you to read it like it’s God breathing his Words on the page. I pray it changes your life like it’s changed mine.