by Jonathan Rusnak
Lutheran theologian Johann Gerhard (1582–1637) described Scripture as God’s throne, school, hospital, arsenal and hand. These descriptions can be helpful for grasping what God does through Scripture.
Scripture is God’s throne because through it He speaks to us (Heb. 1:1–2). Not only do we have the words God has spoken through prophets and apostles, we also have the words of God’s own Son. We have the Son of the Father speaking to us by the Spirit.
Scripture is God’s school because through it He teaches us. We do not learn about God primarily through our experiences, emotions, or imaginations, but by listening to Him (P. 25:4–5). We learn that we deserve nothing from Him but that He has done everything for us through Jesus. We also learn to fear, love and trust in God above all things.
The Bible is God’s hospital because through it He heals us. Every person is born sick with the diseases of disobedience, pride and self-absorption. These lead to eternal death. But God does not desire death for anyone (Ezek. 33:11). He is the Author and Giver of life who has diagnosed our disease and promised to cleanse, heal and make us whole. All of that begins when we spend time in God’s hospital.
The Bible is God’s arsenal because through it He arms us. We need to be equipped by Him to fight the battles against all His enemies (Eph. 6:10–20). Our greatest weapon in this battle is the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.
Finally, the Bible is God’s hand because through it He guides us (Ps. 31:3–5). God’s guidance is not only for today. It is for eternity. So, the hand of the God who sent His Son to live, die and rise again, reaches out from all eternity to hold onto you and lead you: today, tomorrow and forever.
God’s Word is His precious, powerful gift. It gives and does so much, everything we need for this life and the life to come. You can count Gerhard’s five descriptions of Scripture on your own hand and at the end you have the image of God extending His hand to grasp yours. May we take up God’s Word, hold it in our hands, read it, hear it, learn it and love it to our good and to the glory of God.