Do You Need CPR for the Soul?

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:19

The existence of the Bible boggles the mind. Over a two thousand year span of history, some forty different authors, many of whom had never met, writing in wide ranging literary forms from history to eschatology, from poetry to law produced the document with one story line that we call the Bible. And this document is not simply instructive; it is inspired.

All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work. (2 Tim. 3:16-17)

Saying that the Bible is inspired by God means literally that it is God-breathed. Years ago I spent one summer as a lifeguard. To qualify, I had to earn the Red Cross Senior Lifesaving Certificate that included learning to resuscitate drowning victims. This was in the very early days of CPR. Back then, we called it mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Believe it or not, we practiced on each other. Boys on boys and girls on girls, they supplied us with strips of gauze to place over our mouths while we practiced breathing into each other. That’s right, we learned by breathing into each other. The one thing I remember is the sensation of another’s breath coming into me. Is there anything more personal to us than our breath? It carries our warmth, our scent, our very life-force! The Bible is the breath of God. It’s not merely a book; it’s the Living Word of God. It brings God’s warmth, God’s scent, God’s life force into us!

By the end of the first century there were so many documents about Jesus, which of them were God-breathed? A defining moment came in AD 303 when the Roman Emperor, Diocletian, ordered all Scriptures to be destroyed and anyone who did not surrender the Scripture be put to death. So then the question became, “Which Scriptures are you willing to die for?” From that question, a council of Christian leaders eventually identified the 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament as the Bible that we know today.

Through the labyrinth of history, from the pens of inspired scribes and the blood of faithful martyrs, God breathes on you when you crack open the pages of the Bible—and begin to read.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: What would your life be like if the Bible had never been written? What would be lacking? How do you respond to passages of scripture that seem unbelievable? Have you ever had the feeling in reading or hearing scripture that God was actually breathing on you?


Breathe on me, Breath of God,
Fill me with life anew,
That I may love what Thou dost love,
And do what Thou wouldst do.

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
Until my heart is pure,
Until with Thee I will one will,
To do and to endure.

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
Till I am wholly Thine,
Until this earthly part of me
Glows with Thy fire divine.

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
So shall I never die,
But live with Thee the perfect life
Of Thine eternity.

—Edwin Hatch 1878


Dave Peterson is an ordained pastor who is the Director of Community Outreach for The Robert and Janice McNair Foundation and Scholarly Advisor for the H. E. Butt Family Foundation. He is the author of Receiving and Giving, Unleashing the Bless Challenge in Your Life. Dave and his wife, Terri, have four adult children and four grandchildren. Send a note to Dave.

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Featured image by Cindee Snider Re. Used with Permission. Source via Flickr.