During the 1940s, my grandfather Billy Graham spent a significant amount of time traveling across postwar Europe sharing the hope of Jesus with Youth For Christ. During this period, he often ministered alongside a gifted young evangelist named Charles Templeton.
My grandfather and Mr. Templeton became as close as brothers as they co-labored in ministry. By 1949, however, their relationship was at a crossroad.
Mr. Templeton, who had begun to question the authority and inerrancy of the Scripture during his studies at Princeton Theological Seminary, tried to convince my grandfather that his views on the Bible were old-fashioned and unreliable. “Billy, you’re 50 years out-of-date,” Mr. Templeton said. “People no longer accept the Bible as being inspired the way you do.”
But, a very Biblically focused Christian leader named Henrietta Mears was countering those arguments, impressing upon my grandfather that “all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).
Ultimately, my grandfather submitted himself wholly to the Bible, accepting it by faith as God’s Word. From that moment on, God used him to reach hundreds of millions of people with the Gospel.
I was reminded of my grandfather’s dilemma while I visited with a colleague and heard his story. He shared that the rising secularism in the world and in our country has brought a rift in his family. As the world has become darker and more anti-Christian, my colleague has found his anchor in the Bible. He clings to it, is strengthened by it and matures in it.
Meanwhile, he has watched as many members of his family—years removed from attending church, and not rooted in Scripture—have become evangelists for this ungodly age, blown about by the winds of societal change. Though they still call themselves Christians, they are indistinguishable from the world, mocking the very followers of Jesus that they claim to be.
The world has changed drastically since 1949, but the challenges to the authority of Scripture remain the same, if not more.
My grandfather held closely to the Bible, while his friend Charles Templeton questioned and attacked it.
My colleague has rooted his faith in the Holy Scripture, while his family members have walked away from it.
Of course, if the issue is the same, the answer is also the same. If you are going to grow in your faith, and stand firm against the anti-Christian movement that is spreading across our country, you need to be immersed in the Bible.
Saturating yourself in God’s Word will help you to:
Be transformed. Romans 12:2: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
There are only two options for those who call upon Christ as Savior. Either we’re being transformed by the renewing of our mind (which comes through prayer and anchoring ourselves in Scripture), or we’re being conformed by the persistent draw of today’s culture. Please understand, if you are neglecting time in the Word, you are instead being shaped by the world. Be transformed, not conformed.
Discern truth from lies. In John 8:44, Jesus was confronting the Pharisees when He said of Satan, “He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
That statement may ring more clearly today than in any other moment in human history. We live in a deceptive age, where right is called wrong, and wrong is called right. Many who claim to be followers of Jesus are quick to say “The Bible says this,” or “The Bible doesn’t say that,” misrepresenting the Word and leading others astray. In doing so, they expose either their ignorance (at best) or their lies (at worst). Don’t fall for it! Spend time in Scripture and know what it says, so that you are able to distinguish truth from lies.
Stand. It’s interesting that in Ephesians 6, as the Apostle Paul is writing about the “whole armor of God,” he uses the term stand repeatedly. “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil … Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore …” (Ephesians 6:11, 13-14).
What’s the opposite of standing? Falling. Make no mistake, the days are evil, and people all around us are falling for the schemes of the devil. As you immerse yourself in God’s Word, your faith and understanding of God’s perfect nature is being built up and strengthened so you can stand firm.
Be encouraged and victorious. If your eyes are fixed on the world, you will find despair. That much is clear. It seems that the darkness is winning every day, and it’s easy to become discouraged. However, if your eyes are fixed on the truths of Scripture, you will see the world through a different lens—one of eternal victory, regardless of temporary circumstances. You will understand that “everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith” (1 John 5:4).
Though we live in a dark age, where we see friends and family members pulled away by the winds of the world, it doesn’t have to be that way in our own lives. Indeed, we can grow and be strengthened during this difficult time. It starts with the true, inerrant, infallible Word of the Most High God. Dig into Scripture and stand firm for His glory. ©2022 Will Graham
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version.
Photo: Logan Ryan/©2022 BGEA