Last Thursday, Bible commentator Warren Wiersbe died at age 89. He left an impressive legacy of resources of over 150 books on how to read, explain and understand the Bible.
While I did not always agree with Wiersbe’s theology, I did appreciate his conservative scholarship on most topics. His writing was simple, straight forward and easy to understand. He wrote for the common man.
Wiersbe described himself as a “bridge builder, spanning the gap from the world of the Bible to the world of today so that we could get to the other side of glory in Jesus.”
Wiersbe once said, “Writing to me is a ministry. I’m not an athlete, I’m not a mechanic. I can’t do so many of the things that successful men can do. But I can read and study and think and teach. This is a beautiful, wonderful gift from God. All I’m doing is using what He’s given to me to teach people, and to give glory to the Lord Jesus Christ.”
The “Be” commentary series, composed of 50 volumes, was his most well known. Among the titles are the Old Testament books “Be Obedient.” “Be Holy.” “Be Strong.” “Be Patient.” “Be Committed.” “Be Resolute.” And “Be Heroic.”
His New Testament titles included “Be Loyal.” Be Compassionate.” “Be Courageous.” “Be joyful.” “Be Faithful.” Be Mature.’ Be Alert.” And “Be Victorious.”
Wiersbe’s “be” exhortations remind me that Christianity is more about the inward person than our outward activities. It is easy to become so involved in doing, serving and participating in group activities and we neglect the needs of the heart. The soul seeks nourishment. Our mind requires stimulation. The will needs to be stirred. Our conscience calls for constant evaluation.
In a world that puts so much importance on having, the emphasis of the Bible is on being. Being transformed. Being different than the world. Being the person who is seeking to become like Christ.
Over 600 times in the New Testament epistles the inspired writers admonish us to be what the Lord wants us to be. As well as what we are not to be.
Since we are “called to be saints,” we are to “be holy” in our manner of living. So it follows in our thinking we must “be spiritually minded.” This calls for not “to be” conformed to the world around us, but “to be transformed.”
In our relationships with others, we are exhorted to “be kind.” “Be tenderhearted.” “Be compassionate.” And “be courteous.”
What we are to be is wrapped up in the person of Jesus Christ! God not only sent Him on a rescue mission from Heaven to earth to redeem us from sin and secure our pardon, but to give us a flesh and blood example of what we are to be.
Preachers, pastors, bloggers and Bible commentators like Warren Wiersbe can offer us insight into the Word, inspire us to a higher level of living, and encourage us to keep on going. But only Jesus is the absolute perfect example of what and who we ought to be.
In the words of the hymnist Thomas O. Chisholm this is our heart’s desire.
O to be like Thee! blessed Redeemer;
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
O to be like Thee! O to be like Thee!
Blessed Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman