In many Christian circles, there is an abundance of resources going around—from new hot topics to the latest book or sermon series. In all of this, we may forget to go back to the all-powerful, transforming Word of God that is sharper than any two edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). Sometimes we do not intentionally neglect it, but rather we begin looking to other ‘Christian’ things instead. For example, I remember a time when I misplaced my Bible for a week and I never knew it was missing because I was just reading books and podcasting sermons.
The ultimate book—the source of ultimate truth—is the Bible
What is theology? The study of God.
What is the best way to study God? Is it to read a book about the Bible or the Bible itself?
Think about it.
While knowledge is important, God isn’t interested in just knowledge. He wants a knowledge that will transform your life. He wants you to read the Bible and put yourself under it. We can read what people write about God or we can read what God says about Himself.
I am not saying reading theological books is bad. I am saying that we must remember our priorities—God’s Word is our supreme source of our theology. Dwight Moody said, “The Bible was not given to increase our knowledge but to change our lives.” As we increase our knowledge of God we better understand Him and fear Him, leading to wisdom and sanctification (Proverbs 9:10). If we do not know God then we cannot understand Him nor fear Him, let alone obey Him.
Let’s go to Paul in his second letter to Timothy, where gave his friend an encouragement to stay with the Scriptures: “…the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). In the context of this verse the Apostle is referring specifically to the Old Testament writings, but we can apply it to the New Testament as well and consequently the entire Bible. There is a lot of richness in this short statement, but here are two lessons we can learn from Paul’s charge to Timothy.
1. Renewing your mind
Paul writes that the Bible is useful for teaching and reproof. We need to be equipped. We need to be complete. We need to be renewing our minds daily, and the way to do that is by reading God’s Word and allowing the Spirit to illuminate it for us. (Romans 12:2) We have been given the Spirit of God, a gift of grace, who gives us understanding and illumination of the things of God (1 Corinthians 2:12-14). Let us come to the Word in humility and diligence, knowing that it is a privilege to be able to have this gift of understanding instead of taking it for granted. Also, we should allow it to correct us rather than attempting to make the Bible act as a proof text for our own thoughts.
2. Knowing God’s way through the Word
The Apostle Paul writes about how Scripture is ‘breathed out by God’, meaning that what is written are the very words of God. The word of God brings knowledge and understanding (Proverbs 2:6). In Psalm 119, it is clear that the psalmist is hungry for God’s word. He constantly dwells on it. We are to saturate our hearts with the Bible. We should have a desire to know God because He reveals Himself to us in His word, which is truth (John 17:17). By studying God’s Word we may be trained in righteousness, knowing what God has revealed about His character, His will, and His commands.
Who should we look to?
Jesus sets a wonderful example when He woke up early in the morning to talk to His Father. (Mark 1:35) Setting a devoted time of the day to read your Bible is helpful. Pray that the Lord will give you a diligent, devoted, and active spirit in reading the Word. Pray that He will take away idleness and strive to have self-discipline with your time. In all this social networking, television, and technology, it’s so easy to be distracted. So consider getting off Facebook to get your face into the Book. My encouragement is that you be refreshed daily by beginning and ending your day with the Lord.