We’ve all heard at one point or another that reading your bible is a generally good thing to do. Maybe your parents made you read your bible every night before bed. Maybe your pastor talked about it in church. Maybe your bible study leader asks you every week if you’ve been reading your bible. But as important of a discipline as it is, it can tend to lose its proper meaning in our lives. We open up our bibles to Samuel and read about Philistine foreskins and it leaves us confused. What are we supposed to do with that? And yet, we are told to read. Soon it turns into a chore – something to check off the list every day to earn God points we can cash in when we get to heaven, but void of any real effect on our lives. But God has a lot to say about the Bible. He has given it to us for a reason, and speaks to us in various ways through it. Here are just a few of the ways God works in our lives through His word.
1. The Bible teaches us about God
Psalm 119:160 – The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever. There is a reason the Bible is called the word of God – it is God’s very word to us. God reveals His character, His history, and His plan through the Bible. It is the primary of source of revelation that God has chosen to reveal himself to us. And as the Bible comes directly from God, it is the highest source of truth we can ever obtain. Although some of the stories are crazy and hard to make sense of, when read in the right context, it weaves together a beautiful picture of a perfect, loving God.
2. The Bible gives us hope, peace, and perseverance
Romans 15:4 – For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Life is hard, and following Jesus doesn’t make it any easier. Luckily for us, the Bible is full of stories of people who have been persecuted and suffered in many ways throughout history, and clung to God as their peace. The psalms are full of the heart cries of persecuted people, and Paul’s writings in the New Testament show how he sought God in the midst of sorrow and pain. God promises in his word to comfort and bind up those who are hurting, and He has given us these promises and these stories so that we can find our hope in Him, as so many have before us.
3. The Bible helps us to hear from God
Psalm 119:105 – Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Discerning God’s will for our lives is one of the hardest parts about following Jesus, but God does not leave us alone to figure it out. He often speaks to us through the Bible in ways that are relevant to our day to day lives. It may be finding a parallel between a decision you have to make and Jonah’s decision, or it may be just through a revelation of God’s heart and character that we find in reading through Jesus’ teachings. But God’s word speaks to us in all of our circumstances so that we can live our lives in a way that pleases Him.
4. The Bible grows us in faith and in holiness
2 Timothy 3:16 – All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. In the scriptures we have bountiful teachings, stories, and role models to learn from. Besides the obvious of learning from Jesus’s life and teachings, we also are able to learn how to live the Christian life from apostles and prophets spanning thousands of years. From Paul and Peter’s teachings to King David’s life, we can be guided by men and women who have lived incredible lives for God. There are even lessons to be learned from the sinful kings and harlots of Israel in the Old Testament. In God’s word we have all we need to live a holy life before God
5. The Bible helps us fight sin and temptation
Matthew 4:3-4 – The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” As Jesus is tempted by Satan in the wilderness, he deflects every temptation using scripture. Although he had infinite wisdom and knowledge and could have found any counterargument to all of the enemy’s schemes, Jesus could find no better way to resist the devil than to cling to God’s promises in the scriptures. The promises and truth of God serve as a powerful weapon against temptation, and we are to take Jesus’ example here and fight the enemy by filling our minds and our hearts with the word of God.
So next time you are confounded by a difficult passage or discouraged by a lack of desire to get in the word, don’t let it keep you from digging in. Even if we can’t see the fruit now, God promises that his word will not return void, but will accomplish what He intends for it to achieve in our lives. Through the scriptures, day by day, God speaks to us and shapes us more and more into the person he created us to be. So gird your loins, say a quick prayer, and go find out what God has for you in His word today.