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  • Writer's pictureDavid Shipley

Who built this cabin?

For the last several years, our church has taken between 25-35 teens to a special cabin for a weekend spiritual retreat. The Jabez Retreat Center is near Chillicothe, Missouri. From Friday evening to Sunday lunch, students sleep & snack, pray & play, unplug & reconnect. They play ultimate spoons, kickball, & bubble-ball soccer. Some hike or sled; we all sing & practice spiritual disciplines.

Jabez is a beautiful, rustic log cabin with space for teens to spread out. It’s just miles down the road from the home of sliced bread. No, really, Chillicothe is the home of sliced bread.

So, who built this cabin? The owners, Marcia and Jerry Finke, built the cabin. Ask someone who is looking for a home if they’re building, buying or renting. If they respond, “We’re buying land and building,” we don’t correct them even though it’s unlikely they’re swinging the hammer or laying the foundation themselves. The owner is credited with building.

Of course, you could also say the architect or the actual log-layers built this cabin. Part of what makes this cabin a treasure is that some envisioned, some inspired and others assembled.

Christians provide a similar answer to the question: Who made the Bible? Christians believe the Bible is inspired by Spirit & Eternal God written, ink-to-paper, by flesh and blood humans.

I encourage people to read the Bible because it is a most purchased, most given, most translated and frequently banned book. The Good Book is popular; it’s wise to be personally acquainted with it.

I also think if we understood that the Bible is exceedingly valuable that we'd be more apt to read what's inside.

Read the Bible because it’s a valuable gift to man.

The Bible tells us what we need to know about God. It is true that nature can lead us toward God. A Psalm in the Bible acknowledges as much: "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork." The design of a cabin can tell us something about the owner, the architect and the builder.

Does our observation of nature give us a full enough picture of God? The scientific method developed by humans and our rational mind is so important here. Science helps us understand the world of nature. But any humanities professor (or reader of Jurassic Park) will insist science or nature cannot tell us everything we need for our well-being. Can they tell us enough about God?

The material world does not provide all we need. Nature doesn’t tell us all we need about God. Man does not live by bread alone. While our method of science tests and verifies diligent observation, it doesn’t reveal what we ought to do with those observations.

We need not miss out on God’s nature and will and character. The Bible is a treasure of Poetry, Law, History, and Story that reveals God. The Bible tells us about Jesus. In Jesus, we have the clearest picture of God. Hebrews 1:3 “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature…”. The Bible was inspired by God to give us needed guidance. Second Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness…”

Which brings me to my second point:

Read the Bible because it's a valuable work of craftsmanship.

The Bible is a beautiful work of craftsmanship. For all Jesus taught, He didn’t write His words down. Instead, the Bible came about as a work of 40-plus authors over the span of 1500 years. It is collaborative and timeless in its assembly and transmission. The authors were soldiers & prisoners, doctors & priests, kings & fishermen & tax-collectors. The Divine Word of God is also an Ink-on-Paper Human Labor of Love and Sacrifice.

The Bible is not without its difficulties, to be sure. Peter, the fisherman, cautions us about some of the deeper, more scholarly writings of Paul, the lawyer. See 2 Peter 3:16b “There are some things in [Paul’s letters] that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. Just as if I tried to read the plans to our beloved and treasured retreat cabin, I’d need some patience and some help.

Read Scripture carefully because it is from God. Read Scripture because many before you gave time, their eye-sight and even their life so we could know God.

Thank you for reading this blog. We hope it encourages you to seek God through His Word.

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