Its name is Trigger. No, not Roy Roger’s horse, but Willie Nelson’s guitar. The Texas country singer named his guitar after Roy’s horse, so there is a natural kinship between them. Willie has been playing Trigger since 1969. It has been with him for over 10,000 shows, 85 studio albums, and hundreds of thousands of miles. His pick has worn a sizable hole on the front of the guitar, and hundreds of people have signed their names on the guitar, adding to its uniqueness. Willie says his guitar is his horse, and they have ridden together through thick and thin. Many believe that when he passes, Trigger will probably be sold at auction for about $1 million. It could be the most valuable guitar in the world. It’s Willie’s tool of the trade.
Christians also have a tool of their trade—the Bible. While it is important to remember we are Christians because of what Christ has done and our relationship with him as the Son of God, we must also remember we know this because of the word of God. Sometimes we elevate the Bible to the fourth member of the Trinity and look at it as a holy relic. However, it isn’t the paper and ink that makes the Bible important. It is the message.
John wrote, “Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete” (2 John 12). While John’s inspired letter is important, its value lies in its message, not the paper and ink.
The Christian’s message of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection offers hope to the hopeless and rescue from the debt of sin. That message, the word of God, is found in the pages of the Bible. Thus, the Bible becomes the Christian’s tool of the trade. Like Willie’s Trigger, the Bible becomes an extension of the Christian used daily to produce Kingdom living.
Bibles contain instructions on becoming a Christian. While the gospel is preached by the creation and its intricacies (Psa 19:1-2; Rom 1:20), its full revelation did not come until Christ and the cross. Watching the grass grow or the flower bloom causes amazement. However, neither of them instructs a lost sinner what to do to be saved. The jailer did not ask the stars what to do to be saved, nor did those on Pentecost turn to the wise old owl. They all turned to the messenger who could tell them exactly what to do to be saved. The answer to their questions has been preserved in the Bible to answer the same questions today. Anyone seeking salvation can find the answers in the Bible and only in the Bible.
The Bible also instructs Christians how to live. Submitting to baptism for the remission of sins is the beginning of personal Christianity. However, a relationship with Christ is going to result in a new life (2 Cor 5:17). Christians try to avoid sin, which leads to death (Rom 6:1-2, 23). Christians offer the lives, works, deeds and words as living sacrifices to God who is worthy to receive it (Rom 12:1-2). Christians put off the world and its ways to take on the mind of Christ (Eph 4:17-24; Phil 2:5). This new life is embraced because of the grace they receive from God.
Finally, the Bible contains the message Christians share with the world. God created all things, cares for all things, and controls all things. This same Creator came to earth to bring his Kingdom and salvation to a wayward humanity. All people everywhere, regardless of their sins are offered salvation through Jesus Christ. And Christians are God’s messengers today…his only messengers.
There is only one tool Christians need to accomplish all these things—their Bible. It may be worn with age, cracked on the spine, with frayed pages. It could be a modern translation or an old favorite. It might be digital or printed or even written on the heart. In a recent interview, Willie Nelson said he would not be who he is or have had the success he has enjoyed without his guitar, Trigger. The same is true of a Christian without his Bible. It is not a display piece—it is a tool to be used.