Home > Devotionals, General Posts > Living the Christian Life in 2010, Part One: The Importance of Studying God’s Word

Living the Christian Life in 2010, Part One: The Importance of Studying God’s Word

Good afternoon. I hope all of you are adjusting back to “normal life” well. If you are like me, however, today’s snow has interrupted that normalcy. The grocery stores are surely out of their bread and milk by now, and the roads may begin icing over as temperatures drop. But invariably, we have all begun accustoming ourselves to our daily work and school routines again. As we are now nearly a full week into the still-new year of 2010, I hope that we all are both reading our Bibles and praying regularly, if not also often. As we begin this new year, I begin now a series of posts on the Christian life (which somewhat correspond with my upcoming sermons on Philippians 1:27-2:18). Today, I will be dealing with the importance of studying God’s Word, the Bible. (The following posts will be on prayer and worship [both private and corporate], respectively.)

Before I begin stressing the importance of studying God’s Word, there is the need for me to clarify certain prerequisite truths that we must acknowledge about the Bible itself:

  1. The 66 books of the Bible “constitute the plenary (inspired equally in all parts) Word of God.”
  2. The Bible is the written revelation of God and is “verbally inspired in every word.”
  3. According to 2 Timothy 3:16, the Bible is “absolutely inerrant in the original documents, infallible, and God-breathed.”
  4. The Bible was written by dual authorship; God the Holy Spirit enabled men “through their individual personalities and different styles of writing” to compose and record God’s Word without making any error at all.

(Above quotations are taken from The MacArthur Bible Commentary by John MacArthur © 2005, published in Nashville, TN, by Thomas Nelson, Inc.)

While the reader of the Bible does not have to accept the above points in order to read the Bible, without acknowledging those truths, the reader of the Bible cannot have adequate reverence and respect for the Text that it deserves. It is, therefore, my prayer that all of you in reading the Bible understand and accept the truth that it is God’s perfect Holy Word and that it is worthy of obedience and respect. Consider 2 Peter 1:19-21:

And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Specifically, the “prophetic word” refers to the entire Old Testament (OT). (To read about the inspiration and infallibility of the New Testament [NT], see 2 Timothy 3:16-17.)  Since this prophetic word—indeed, the whole Bible—was written by “men [who] spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit,” we ought to “pay attention” to the Bible’s teachings and “heed” (NKJV) them. The Bible is a “lamp shining in a dark place;” we in our sin are blinded to spiritual truth, and only by the grace of God in our studying of His Word will we understand spiritual truths and be motivated to apply them to our lives.

The Bible is exceedingly important to us Christians; the Bible is what God has told us! There are those who say that God still speaks to us today apart from His Word (an issue I will neither affirm nor deny at this moment), but the fact remains that God will never say anything that contradicts the Bible (and by this same truth, the Bible does not contradict itself, either). For us Christians who want to know God’s will, the Bible reveals God’s will to us! For us who want to follow God’s loving commandments, the Bible reveals them to us! A Christian cannot properly grow spiritually without the Word of God. And even though we may hear the Bible preached week in and week out by our pastors, two or three sermons a week is not enough for true spiritual growth (regardless of how good those sermons are). We Christians in our daily lives must read and study the Bible. Peter also wrote (under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, of course) in 1 Peter 2:2-3:

Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.

If we are true Christians (“have tasted that the Lord is good”), we should long to read the Bible and be nourished by its teachings like newborn infants long for their mothers’ milk. Simply put, the Bible is God’s milk for us. The Bible is to be our spiritual nourishment. We as Christians should long for the Bible—and extended absence from its nourishment should make us “hungry” for more and give us the desire to return to it.

Since the Bible is so important to our lives, I hope that each of us are reading the Bible regularly and that we will read it all more often, too. Jonathan Edwards would devote hours to the study of the Bible and prayer—surely we can devote enough time to read a portion of it daily. If, however, you feel you are too busy to read the Bible, I encourage you to invest in an audio Bible that you can listen to on your daily commute. (The average American has a 50-minute round trip commute time. Even if your commute is only 5 or 10 minutes, you could still be nourished by the Word of God in this manner.) Amazon.com has some audio Bibles (in both KJV and NIV) available for under $50 (and since all of them are over $25, you get free shipping). If you must, add time to your day for the study of Scripture. Wake up early to read the Bible, or stay up 5 or 10 minutes (at least!—read as much as you can and desire) later at night to read the Scripture.

All of us can—and should—spend time daily reading the Bible, for without this, we will starve ourselves spiritually, and that certainly isn’t God’s will for us in Christ Jesus. (See this post on what God’s will for us rather is.)

Sources for further study:

The MacArthur Bible Commentary by John MacArthur

John Piper’s sermon on 2 Peter 1:20-21

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