When Paul wrote to Timothy from the dungeon prison as he was awaiting execution, his heart was focused on the church at Ephesus where the Scripture was under siege. What Paul had promised the elders in Acts 20 had come to fulfillment. The wolves had clothed themselves in sheep’s clothing and infiltrated the church. They were teaching heresy in the church. They were leading women astray with fables. It was a sad day in Ephesus. As Paul sat in the damp dungeon awaiting death, he sent a letter to his young disciple and charged him to stand firm upon the Scriptures and to preach the Word of God. From 2 Timothy 3:16-4:5, we can almost feel the heartbeat of the battle tested apostle from those words that appear in our Bible. The Scriptures were under siege and Timothy was to thunder the Word of God without hesitation.
All through church history, the Bible has remained under constant attack and criticism. The position of the church throughout her history has been that the devil has no stories of his own, therefore, he must attack God’s story. He will twist the Bible, add to the Bible, subtract from the Bible, malign the Bible, pervert the Bible, and do everything within his power to spray paint graffiti upon the sacred text of God’s Word. Sometimes he will do it through open attacks of heretical religions and at other times he will seek to be more stealth-like in his approach. In either case, his mission is to silence the Word of God.
God wrote the Bible. In 2 Timothy 3:16, we read, “All Scripture is breathed out by God…” The word, “breathed out by God” is a compound Greek term – θεόπνευστος “Theos” – God and “Pneō” – breath. Literally speaking, the Scriptures find their source in God as He literally breathed them into existence through human authors. As we consider the fact that God has written a book and preserved it through the ages, it goes without saying that the devil would center his attack on the Scriptures. As the devil reads the Bible, he sees himself in it and undoubtedly he has read the ending and knows of God’s sovereign judgment that awaits him. Because the devil hates the ending, he will center his attack on the beginning of the Bible and continue to twist its meaning and message into something other than what God has truly said. The story of the Bible centers upon Christ – the Son of God. In the beginning of John’s gospel, we see his description of Jesus as “the Word who became flesh and dwelt among us.” What did the devil seek to do with Jesus? He fueled the murder of Jesus and tried to silence Him by death. Why should we be amazed that he continues to try to silence God by silencing the Bible?
As we survey our present day, we see that we are in a day of famine. Our famine is not for lack of Bibles. We have many Bibles in America. Our famine is with the right preaching and the right submission to God’s Word as He continues to speak through the sacred Scriptures. As the agenda of silencing God continues to roll forward, the thundering pulpit turns into a muzzled rumble and rattle. As pastors cave to the pressures to “grow” their church through fleshly man centered agendas, the devil presses the mute button upon God’s Word. As this attack continues to grow it suppress the Word of Truth and leads pastors down the road of pragmatism. Seeker sensitive approaches to increase church attendance and entertain the crowds is a perpetual gagging of God. What flows from that broken and unbiblical pattern is “VBS for adults” and ultimately culminating in what Christian Smith has coined, Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. So long as the Word is minimized, we will continue to teach a Christless Christianity. This message will major on morals and minor on the message of the gospel. All of this is the fruit of the devil’s attack upon God’s Word. This pattern leads to agnosticism which eventually gives way to atheism. A low view of Scripture will always lead to a low view of God. In many cases it will lead to a complete denial of God.
No matter if you’re a pastor who labors in the Word each week or if you’re a homeschool mother, it remains our duty to rightly handle the Word of God. How we handle Scripture matters. We should not be surprised by the constant agenda to normalize Mormonism and homosexuality in our culture. Both movements have an agenda to twist God’s Word or silence it completely. The message of Jesus is a threatening message to Mormonism and Joseph Smith’s crazy ideas of salvation and eternal life. The message of Jesus is a threat to the growing homosexual agenda in the United States. In our modern culture, the Bible is treated like fictional literature. The Bible is often ignored by the scientific community, rejected when reconsidering marriage laws, and bypassed by the culture as many ethical laws and ordinances are being redefined and rewritten.
Therefore, we should not be surprised by these attacks. Satan attacked God’s Word in the Garden of Eden and he attacked the Word that became flesh in the person of Jesus Christ. He has not ceased his attack in our present day. We must look for it. We must be ready for it. We must see it as it’s revealed in the world of politics. We must learn to spot it in our entertainment outlets. We must be on guard as this attack will walk through the front door of our church buildings. We must not give up. Like Timothy, we are called to stand firm upon the firm foundation of the sacred Scriptures. Just as the Reformers stood firmly upon Sola Scriptura, we are to remain steadfast upon the Word of the God in our present evil culture.
Paul warned of the attacks that would come upon God’s Word and the church at Ephesus (Acts 20). In 1 and 2 Timothy, that attack was in full bloom under Timothy’s ministry. By the time we come to Revelation 2, we see Jesus’ warning of judgment upon the church at Ephesus if they did not repent. Sadly, as we survey church history we see that apparently the church at Ephesus died. What a tragedy. What will be the legacy of your family? What will be the lasting legacy of your church? Stand firm upon God’s Word!