“Don’t say God is silent when your Bible is closed.”
I don’t know who said or shared it first, but it’s clear this simple statement resonates with many, at least it has with me. These ten words rebuke our fear that God might be inactive or uncaring in the brokenness and messiness of our lives, and reminds us that he cares, he sees, and he speaks. But too often, we’re just not listening.
God is always ready to speak into our lives. We simply need to listen, tuning our ears and hearts to what he is saying in the book he inspired. When we open the Bible, we find more than 750,000 words breathed out by God himself for us.
Charles Spurgeon said, “No one ever outgrows the Scriptures. The Book widens and deepens with our years.” In my thirty-three years so far on this earth, I have consistently experienced the Bible’s ability to speak the right word, at the right time. My late grandfather-in-law, who spent his life as a pastor, testified to the same: God’s word continued to be fresh, and continued to speak in new ways, even though he’d read the same passage countless times over decades.
A.W. Tozer said, “The Bible is not only a book which was once spoken, but a book which is now speaking.” God wants to speak to us today, and everyday, through his word. God’s word is not simply “once spoken.” God’s word is always “now speaking.”
We silence the sound of God’s voice in our lives when we leave our Bible on the shelf. Many have shared another popular statement: “Complaining about God being silent when your Bible is closed is like complaining about not getting texts when your phone is turned off.”
The Bible is the most amazing book in all of history. Anyone who does not realize this is uninformed. The history of how the Scriptures have come to us today is an astonishing story:
- The Scriptures have proven over and over their historical accuracy, and remain consistent with each new archeological discovery. Much reasonable evidence is available to trust the accuracy of the Scriptures.
- Many who have worked to bring the Scriptures to new people groups and new languages have done so at great personal cost. Their sacrifice speaks volumes about its reliability.
- The Scriptures have shaped and influenced people in every part of history. The Bible has rescued, recreated, and mobilized billions of us in countless ways.
John Piper writes in his newest book A Peculiar Glory about the journey the Scriptures have taken through history. He repaints the beauty and self-authenticating glory of God we find in these pages, as the Spirit shines forth “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). God brings us his beauty, his power, and his glory in a book.
D.L. Moody once said,
A quickening that will last must come through the word of God. A man stood up in one of our meetings and said he hoped for enough out of the series of meetings to last him all his life. I told him he might as well try to eat enough breakfast at one time to last him a lifetime. That is a mistake that people are making; they are running to religious meetings, and they think the meetings are going to do the work. But if these don’t bring you into closer contact with the word of God, the whole impression will be gone in three months.
There are countless blessings and wisdom God wants to give us that will only come to us through his word.
We need to make Psalm 1 a daily reminder in our lives.
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. (Psalm 1:1–3)
There are two things that this passage calls us to do: walk away from sin and sinful advice, and walk toward the word of God. We are called to make the Scriptures our delight and our continual meditation day and night.
God is always speaking to us through his word. But the Bible is clear we need special, God-given ears to hear him. The Scriptures call us to have “ears to hear” seven times in the Gospels, and seven more times in the beginning of Revelation.
Two of these instances are Matthew and Luke telling us about Jesus’s story of the sower and the seed. Luke 8:15 explains, “As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.”
Jon Bloom has said, referring to Colossians 3:16, “What we desperately need, more than anything else in the world, is the word of Christ dwelling in us richly.” We desperately need to hear God speaking to us through his word, and simultaneously to hold fast to what it says with an honest and good heart. As we listen well and strive to practice what we see and hear, God will give us enough grace and hope to trust him in our circumstances, however hard or unclear.
As far and removed as God may seem right now, he is not silent, and “he is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:27). God is always active and speaking in the turmoil of our world, and in the messes of our individual lives.
But are we ready to patiently open our Bibles and listen to him?
By Matt Brown