“By the book” is a familiar phrase which implies completing a task by complying strictly with the rules of that task. For example, let's say that my wife and I purchase a product that requires some assembly at home. Upon purchase, my wife kindly requests that I put the product together “by the book”, referring to using the enclosed instructions, instead of relying on my inborn manly intuitiveness that I so often have called upon only to fail miserably at the task at hand. So in an attempt to please my wife and to prevent the destruction of the newly acquired product I choose to assemble, or at least attempt to assemble, the product, “by the book”.
Truth be known our lives are full of manuals and other instructive books. We start at school with books of instruction on various subjects and we graduate to the work force that contains a various amount of manuals dependent on the profession you choose. In my own profession, the pastorate, there are a number of books at my disposal. Among them are manuals on weddings, funerals, baptisms, communion, and other services. There are commentaries, dictionaries, concordances, Bible atlases, and many other books for study. There is another book that I need to mention. It is the most important book that I use. Any guesses? Yes, it is the Bible.
Truth be known, the Bible should be the most important book to any Christian, whether a minister or not. One could say that the Bible was given to us as a sort of instruction manual for while we live on earth. Here is a good question for us to ask ourselves when it comes to examining how we use the Bible. Are we living “by the book”? Truthfully, none of us live completely by the book, because there is still sin in our lives. But I wonder how many of us even attempt to live by the book.
Also, how many Christians don't live “by the book” because they don't even know what the Book says because they never read it? The Bible has very specific instructions on how God desires for His children to live. Unfortunately, some say that the Bible is out of date and that it is not relevant to today's society. Fortunately we have Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” My hope for each one of us is that we would be found by our savior Christ Jesus as Christians who go “by the Book”.
“Look, I am coming quickly! Blessed is the one who keeps the prophetic words of this book.” Revelation 22:7
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