In 2 Timothy 3:16 we are told that all Scripture is inspired, and also that scripture serves an important purpose in our lives. The Bible can be used to teach sound doctrine about God. The Bible can be used to rebuke people whose lives are out of line with God's divine plan. The Bible can be used to correct people who are saying things about the faith that are untrue or ungodly; like Professor Bloom. Finally, the Bible can be used to train a person so that they can live a righteous and godly life. I read The Canterbury Tales in 1967 in a class at Aurora College. Its content has not crossed my mind again. However, I woke up this morning with my mind stayed on Jesus and with my heart open to the teachings of God's holy Word.

I want you to envision with me a relay race at a track meet where several teams are competing against one another. This is not one of those races where one person runs against another person to see which one is the fastest. A relay race is much more complicated, because the speed of each runner is not the only factor to be considered. In a relay race there are four runners on each team who run a certain distance (usually 110 or 220 meters) while carrying a baton. Once each runner has run that distance he or she must pass the baton on to the next runner who will cover the same distance in a second lap. Each of the four runners covers the same distance, but three times during that race the baton is exchanged from one runner to the next. This is a difficult process, because the runner who is coming to the end of one lap must slap the baton into the hand of the person who is beginning the second lap after that second person has already begun to run.

I have seen these kinds of races many times in my life, and I have noticed that one team can easily have the fastest runners on the field but still lose the race, because at one point or another in that crowded field one of the runners fails to successfully pass the baton on to the next person. It does not matter how fast the next runner is -- by the time you stop and pick up that baton in a competitive field of runners you are too far behind to ever catch up to the field, much less to win the race. The critical component of a relay race is not only how fast each runner can cover their distance, but also how successful each runner is passing on the baton.

I begin with this image of a relay race and the passing of the baton; because that is the best way that I can think of to illustrate what each generation of Christians has done with the Bible. You and I have two sacred duties, two spiritual obligations so far as the Bible is concerned. The first obligation is to be certain that we live our own lives and govern our own conduct according to the teachings and values found in that holy book. Each one of us must make the words of Psalms 119:11 true in our own lives: Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee. Each one of us must also make sure that we appropriate for our own daily conduct the words of Psalms 119:105 that says, Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. The first challenge that we have, so far as the Bible is concerned, is to be sure that we are living by its lessons ourselves.

However, as in a relay race, there is something else that we must be mindful of beyond how well we run our own portion of the race. We also have the obligation to be sure that we are passing the Bible on to the generation that comes after us so that its wisdom can be of the same benefit to them that it was to us during our lifetime. I want to remind you that those generations that ran the race ahead of us preserved this book first by living by its truths themselves, and then by passing it on to us. I also need to urge each one of you to recognize that one of the most urgent tasks confronting the adult members of Antioch Baptist Church is to be sure that we are doing everything in our power to pass the Bible on to the younger people who are coming along behind us.