“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NLT
I am currently doing an internship placement at a hospital in upstate New York. And will I have been over I have visited a few different churches. And I have had slightly scary experiences on a couple of occasions.
I tend to take my bible to church. The bible I am using is a pretty big New Spirit Filled Life Study Bible (I am waiting for the day an attractive girl passes comment on it so that I can suggest meet up to study it some time, but apparently attractive girls don’t go to Episcopalian churches…). And at one church during the coffee hour one person came up to me to ask what book I had brought to church. I tried to answer “The bible” without any hint of ‘duh is that not obvious’ in my voice. At another church the greeter at the door laughed and said “oh you don’t need that here”. I told one young guy I read a bit of the Bible every day as part of a Bible in a year reading plan. He asked ‘was it not very boring?’ I pointed him in the direction of Song of Songs…
It seems a lot of church goers are content to just listen to the Bible when it is read in church, and that will do for the week. A few verses on Sunday as a ‘splash and dash’ refuel for the week ahead. That is not how it should be!
Jesus teaches that man shall not live on bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. Paul writes that all scripture is God breathed and useful for teaching. In Hebrews we are told that the word of God is sharper than a two edged sword. We see from Jesus’ temptations that the way to fight back against the Devil is to quote God’s word.
In Ephesians 6 Paul tells us that the Word of God, the Bible, is our weapon. I know a guy who used to be in the British Marines, and now is heavily involved in a drop-in cafe ministry. He shares that for a soldier to be prepared for duty, he needs to know his weapon inside out. He needs to spend time studying it. Figuring out exactly how it works. How it gets put together. How to keep it in good working order. He needs to spend time practicing with it. Time getting familiar with it until using it is the most natural thing in the world. In Ephesians 6 Paul tells us that the Word of God is our weapon. We need to spend time with it, getting to know it inside out. Studying it. Learning from it. Going deeper in our understanding of it. Not leaving it on a shelf to gather dust.
Many people talk about wanting to hear from God, yet ignore the 1000+ page love letter He has written for us. I believe God is still in the business of speaking through His word today. I believe that if we ask the Holy spirit for understanding as we read, He will make it clear to us. I believe if we study the example of Jesus, if we look closely at his teachings, we will see how he wants us to live as we seek to advance his kingdom.
Make reading the Bible a priority, and you will see huge change in your faith. You will grow. You will be better able to encourage and lead others. You will grow in the confident assurance of God’s love and faithfulness as you read His promises day by day. Commit today to reading the Bible each day if you don’t already. Start small. Don’t try to go straight for a marathon. Start by reading a chapter a day, and then build up to read more once you get into the habit. Set reminders on your phone. Pick a good place to start – one of the gospels, one of Paul’s letters, the book of Proverbs or Psalms. Don’t go straight in to Leviticus – you will just give up within days if you start there! If you don’t understand what you have read, search online for articles that explain that passage – YouVersion.com is a great source of resources. Most importantly – start today. Don’t delay. Get stuck into God’s Word, His love letter to the world.