This July 4 weekend, we celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence. In addition to declaring our independence from England, and sparking the American Revolution, the Declaration of Independence set forth America’s core values. Its text has been quoted for more than 200 years to restore and maintain our country’s founding principles, and to effect social change to bring us closer to achieving those principles.
The Declaration of Independence not only acknowledged the existence of God, but declared that God Himself endowed us with the three unalienable rights of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, and that it is the role of government to protect those rights.
As great as the Declaration of Independence is, it is a document that was written by man. Nonetheless, it has guided our nation for a little more than two centuries. Still, having our core values in writing have helped us stay true to the course as long as we have.
On a higher level, God put His core values in writing centuries ago when the Bible was completed. In the Bible, you read about God’s personality, His likes and dislikes, His law, and His plan of salvation. It is all in writing, so that we can know for sure whether or not we are saved, or whether or not we are in His will.
There are three things we should remember about the Bible, and they are all captured in 2 Timothy 3:16-17:
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
1. The Bible is God’s written Word. 2 Timothy 3:16 says “All scripture is given by inspiration of God.” The word “inspiration” means “God-breathed.” All scripture is God-breathed, which means that God spoke all scripture. This means that the entire Bible is God’s Word… every book, chapter, verse and word. Thus, the entire Bible is the final word on any issue, discussion, or doctrine.
God is all-powerful, ever-present, and all-knowing. God knew the future, and He knew what changes would happen in society. Yet, He still breathed the words written in the Bible. This means that no passage of the Bible can be discounted or ignored on cultural or historical grounds. If God was against adultery 5,000 years ago, He is still against adultery now. He is unchanging.
2. The Bible can change our lives. 2 Timothy 3:16 goes on to say that all scripture “is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” Profitable means helpful, useful, or advantageous. Scripture is where we get our doctrine, which not only means our system of teaching, but also the creed by which we live our lives. Scripture is also profitable for reproof and correction, that is, showing what is wrong in our lives, and showing us how to correct it. Furthermore, All scripture is profitable for instruction in righteousness, in other words, instructions in how God wants us to live. If you use the Bible to develop your beliefs (doctrine), change your life and your views to conform to its standard (reproof and correction,) and follow it’s direction in life, then you will see your life changed for the better.
3. The Bible completes us. 2 Timothy 3:17 says, “That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” The word “perfect” means complete. If a believer applies the word of God to their lives, they will be complete, and have all they need to do the great things God has called them to.
The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were the foundational documents on which we based our country. Let’s make the Bible the foundational document on which we base our lives.