Every night before I put our baby in her crib to sleep, I rock her and sing “Jesus Loves Me” as part of our bedtime routine. It’s the simplest of songs that I think every child growing up in a Christian home learns to sing. I was actually surprised to find it in the hymn collection, Then Sings My Soul, since I hadn’t really considered it a great hymn of the ages. Yet, the history behind the song is interesting and actually began as lullaby in a fictional story written by Anna Bartlett Warner and her sister Susan Warner. Longtime New Yorkers, the Warner sisters began writing stories and poems to help bring in money for their family after a financial crisis. In their later years, they ended up teaching Bible studies for cadets at the United State Military Academy – West Point. While Jesus Loves Me is considered one of the most popular hymns, here are the first few lyrics for anyone unfamiliar with it:
Jesus loves me! This I know,
For the Bible tells me so;
Little ones to Him belong;
They are weak, but He is strong.
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.
So, the other night, after I sang the song for, by now, at least 300 times if not more (with my 10-month-old being more than 270 days old and I’ve sung the song with my older kids), one line stood out more than usual:
For the Bible tells me so.
Nothing really spectacular when you read that but after going through several Bible studies with Pam Forster of Doorposts, I’ve learned to pick up on key words and ‘for’ is one of them. The word ‘for’ usually gives a reason or evidence of something and can be synonymous with the words ‘because’ and ‘why.’ You need to look at the phrase before ‘for’ and after. In this case, “Jesus loves me this I know” is the phrase before ‘for.’ Therefore, the ‘for’ in this phrase is telling us the reason I know Jesus loves me is because (or for) the Bible tells me so. That’s how I know.
Another tip of Pam’s – while reading put emphasis upon each individual word of a line of Scripture or verse. Well, the lyrics to “Jesus Loves Me” aren’t Scripture but principle can be used. And so I did just that once this line began bulging in my mind: For the Bible tells me so. The Bible I have at home, the Bible that is available online and has been translated into hundreds of languages, the Bible that people have tried to destroy in other countries and cultures but can’t. For the Bible tells me so. It actually tells me? It speaks to me? Yes – the word of God is living and active (Hebrews 4:12). It is the very words from the Lord’s mouth (Proverbs 30:5-6). More than that, the Bible is the Lord’s message of love to His lost children – which was me before Christ! – spoken through His only begotten Son.
The Bible tells me so. What does it mean to ‘say so?’ We’re all familiar with the phrase, “Because I said so,” most commonly heard from our parents. They said so, or said it was going to be a certain way or the way they wanted, and that’s what was happening. ‘I said so,’ is better translated, ‘What I said is all that matters. No more discussion. The end.’ That was it. No questions. Is that how I view God’s word? Do I believe that God’s word is the final say, the ‘I said so’ for my life? The authority upon which I am to base my life?
Is the Bible enough? For those who don’t accept the Bible as an accurate, believable and credible source of not just theology but also of history, why accept any other historical documents written before our time as credible? A ton can be found online about biblical credibility and reliability through an Internet search and this is one good site. At least see for yourself what it’s all about by reading the Bible to get your own first-hand account. Start with Matthew or Mark, or listen to this short message to find out where to start reading.
For Christians who struggle with the Bible’s words, maybe a good place to start is getting to know God Himself as He has revealed Himself in Jesus Christ (John 17:3; Hebrews 1:1-2). Reading through one of the Gospels, hearing from Jesus and seeing Him, who is THE Word of God. Wrestle with the word like Jacob wrestled with the angel of the Lord and don’t give up seeking Him through Scripture. Study His word (and check out this lengthy article on how to study the Bible.) Not everything will be understandable right away or even make sense but God has given believers His Holy Spirit to lead us into truth and He will. For the only way to truly live righteously in this world is by thinking righteously as we seek God and let the truth of God transform our minds as the True Woman devo shares on Day 5:
Scripture is God’s authoritative means of instructing us in His ways, and it reveals His holy pattern for our womanhood, our character, our priorities, and our various roles, responsibilities and relationships.
Believers in Christ are to look at this world and our circumstances through the lens of the Bible and the knowledge of God’s character. The essence of His character is love for He is Love (1 John 4:8). The Creator of the universe allows us to know Him and His love through His word. That is the goal of Bible reading and study – to know Him and live like Him. Scripture provides the sound doctrine for the sound living that God calls His followers to live out in this temporary world as we wait to enter our eternal one. What a blessing that He hasn’t left us on our own but has given us His word, His own “I said so,” and it is enough because He is enough. For the Bible tells me so.