“THE word of God is alive and exerts power.” (Hebrews 4:12) Those words of the apostle Paul show that God’s word has the power to touch hearts and to change people’s lives.
During the apostasy that gained strength after the death of the apostles, people began to have wrong ideas about the power of the Bible’s message. (2 Peter 2:1-3) Church leaders started to teach that the Bible had magical powers. Professor Harry Y. Gamble wrote that after the year 200, Church Father Origen taught that just the sound of holy words can help someone. Origen said that if words that are used in magic have power, then words inspired by God are even more powerful. John Chrysostom, who lived about 400 years after the birth of Christ, wrote that the Devil would not get near a house that had a Bible. He also wrote that some would hang verses of the Gospels around their necks as a way to protect themselves from harm. According to Professor Gamble, the Roman Catholic writer Augustine taught that it was all right for a person to sleep with the Gospel of John under his pillow to cure a headache. Because of these teachings, people started to use the Bible as if it had magical powers. What about you? Do you use the Bible to bring you good luck and to protect you?
Many people use the Bible in another wrong way. They believe that if they open the Bible to any page, the first verse they see will tell them what they need to do. For example, according to Professor Gamble, Augustine once heard a child in a nearby house say: “Take and read, take and read.” Augustine believed that God was telling him to open the Bible and read the first verse that he saw.
Do you know people who use the Bible that way to try to solve their problems? Of course, it is good that these people want to get help from the Bible. But this is not the right way to do it.
Jesus promised his disciples that the holy spirit would “bring back” to their minds, or help them remember, the things they had learned from him. (John 14:26) So we get help from the Bible by using what we have already learned from it, not by just opening it to any page.
Many people use the Bible in some magical way, hoping to get protection from harm, to solve their problems, or to learn the future. But the Bible says that it is wrong to use magic. (Leviticus 19:26; Deuteronomy 18:9-12; Acts 19:19) God’s Word can help us, but we must use it correctly. The Bible will not help us in some magical way. It is our study of the Bible that can help us have a better life. True knowledge of the Bible has helped many to know what is right and what is wrong, to stop bad habits, to have a happier family life, and to have a friendship with the Author of the Bible.