Shaking The Bible

The young man had worked for a number of years as an associate minister at the congregation where the older, well-known and respected preacher worked. During his time there, he learned to read the older man and could tell when he was pleased or when he was upset. The young man, now preaching full-time himself, was conducting a gospel meeting at a congregation near where the older man lived. He was well into his sermon when the older preacher sitting in the audience reached into his coat pocket and pulled out his New Testament, held it up and shook it at the young man. He got the older man's message - quit giving so much of your own opinions and use more Bible!

Some preachers are like that. You get plenty of what they think in their sermons, but the Lord can't get a word in edgewise. Paul, an older preacher, was pretty specific when he told the young man Timothy, "I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine" (2 Timothy 4:1, 2). And Peter wrote, "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God" (1 Peter 4:11). A preacher may have some pretty interesting opinions, but they are trivial when compared with the inspired word of God.

But what's true for preaching is also true for living. I know some people who need to have a Bible shaken at them! In fact, it would do all of us some good to have a Bible shaken at us from time to time. Whenever we fail to follow what the word of God says, we should appreciate someone who loves us enough to "shake a Bible at us." One thing that I don't understand is someone who says, "I just love him too much to tell him that he's wrong." Shouldn't it be just the other way around? Shouldn't we instead say something to the effect, "I love you too much to let you keep on doing something that will put your soul in danger."

The same effect as shaking a Bible can be had in other ways. It is similar to the statement that James made concerning the wrong kind of speech. "Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be" (James 3:10). He didn't "shake a Bible," but it had the same effect. Of course, the way we receive such criticism is important as well. The young preacher could had gotten mad at the older preacher for shaking the Bible at him, but instead he changed his preaching so as to give the Bible more time over his own opinions.

Whenever someone cares about us enough to "shake a Bible" at us, let us take it to heart and try to change our ways to come into harmony with the word of God.

Thomas W. Larkin