“Cling to the whole Bible, not a part of it. A man is not going to do much with a broken sword.”D.L. Moody
The quote above comes from the archives at the Moody Center. It represents one of the keys to Moody’s life and ministry. For some of us, parts of the Bible are challenging or even troubling. Sometimes it troubles us because it causes us to question parts of our life that we enjoy even when we know those things are wrong. Other times it tells us many of the things our society accepts as good are actually evil. Sometimes it is hard to understand God’s actions that are described in the Bible.
Mr. Moody’s quote shows us we are not free to choose what parts of the Bible to accept. Moody believes the Bible is the very Word of God. Because it is God’s word, it is not subject to human criticism. We do not know better than God. We are not in a position to tell God what parts we will choose to obey. God must rule us; we must not try to rule Him.
Mr. Moody’s quote is probably a reference to two Biblical texts. First, Hebrews 4:12,
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (ESV)
The second is Ephesians 6:16 & 17,
“In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God . . .”
The Ephesians text is in a command by God to his readers that they must be prepared to fight against Satan and diabolical powers. To try to stand against the devil with half a Bible is like using half a sword. You will fail.
Like the Ephesians, we today stand threatened by the evil one. If we are to stand, we must be fully armored. That means we must take the WHOLE council of God, found in his word. Let us today, like Mr. Moody, put ourselves under every word of Holy Scripture.
GREG QUIGGLE is the D.L. Moody professor of Historical Theology at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. He holds a PhD from the Open University in the United Kingdom, an MA in Historical Theology from Marquette University, an MA in Church History from Wheaton College, and a BA in Psychology from Wheaton College. He has lectured and written on Dwight Moody and the history of Moody Bible Institute.
Image credit: Jonathan Kemper