If you were in my youth group, then you would have heard me say the same phrase over and over again, “Read your Bible!” I find reading scripture to be of the utmost importance. In my opinion, it is the most essential discipline that you can do in your walk with Christ. I firmly believe that the word of God is true and just as powerful today as it was when it was first written. When you are reading the Bible, you are reading the words of God. That’s truly an amazing thing that we often take for granted. These are the words of the all-powerful creator who set the stars in the sky and filled the oceans by merely speaking it into existence. If His word has the power to bring life out of nothing, then we can rest assured that it will provide unparalleled value in our lives.
One of the most amazing things about God’s word is how it always manages to speak into what is going on in our lives. You can read the same passage over and over again, but you’ll understand it differently based on what’s happening in your life. The writer of Hebrews tells us that, “The word of God is living and active…”(4:12). God’s word is alive, and the Holy Spirit will reveal different truths through it depending upon what He deems you need to hear. It is truly amazing!
I had one of those moments a couple weeks ago. I was reading through Proverbs for a Bible study, and I came across the ones about how to be a husband and a father. I have read those verses many times in my life and always thought, “Sounds good. Hopefully, I get to apply those at some point.” As I was reading them this time, I had to stop for a minute because those are no longer verses that will matter at some point down the line, but they are significant verses for my life now.
In just a little under 4 months, I’m going to be a husband. There aren’t words to express how excited I am about getting to marry Ali. Proverbs 18:22 says, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” I had to stop and smile when I read that verse and give God thanks because He has given me an amazing wife. Other verses have become very real to me like Ephesians 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” This is a high command; husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the church. Christ’s love for the church is sacrificial, selfless, unconditional, forgiving, and never-ending. Christ loves His church so much that He was willing to die for it. This is the type of love that I have been called into and that I need to live up to.
What’s incredible is that I will read those passages at other points in my life and the Holy Spirit will reveal something different to me. The Bible is our mightiest tool to gain knowledge of who God is, His love for us, and how we’re supposed to live out our lives. I once heard it said that “Scripture is shallow enough that a toddler can wade through it but deep enough that an elephant can drown.” We can never reach the bottom of the depths of scripture. Every time I think that I’ve dug deep into the Bible, I realize that I’ve barely scratched the surface. That excites me! I believe that it is truly a blessing that can never fully understand everything about God’s word. If we could, we wouldn’t have that powerful of a god, would we?
I can never encourage you enough to read the Bible. We have the words that God spoke in our hands. However, we are called to do more than just read the Bible. We need to discuss it with others. I have found that I learn the most when I’m talking about the meaning of passages with others. I am a 27-year-old, middle class, white guy that has lived in West Virginia my whole life and I have my theological beliefs. I will approach every word of scripture with that worldview because it’s the only one that I know. Do you think that a middle-aged, African-American mother of 5 who grew up on the Southside of Chicago views everything the same way I do? What about a teenager from Palestinian Israel? I don’t believe that I have a monopoly on understanding the Bible, nor do I think that anybody does. We need to learn from one another so that we can have a more vibrant and fuller understanding of the word of God.
We are also called to live it out.
“Be doers of the word, and not only hearers, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like” (James 1:22-24).
Anytime that I am getting ready to leave the house, I always go to the bathroom and check myself in the mirror to make sure I don’t have anything (usually food) on my face. If there is something on my face (again, usually food), I clean it off and go about my day. It wouldn’t make much sense to look at myself and see pizza sauce on my face and then walk away like everything is ok. That’s what this passage is telling us about the Word. If there is something in our lives that doesn’t match up to what scripture is saying, we need to clean it up.
We have the most powerful thing in the world in our hand, on our phones, on our bookshelves, on our tablets, etc. Fortunately, we live in a country where we have free access to the Bible whenever and wherever we want. We need to devote ourselves to reading His word. I guarantee that it will speak directly into your life and whatever circumstances that you’re going through. God didn’t leave us here to wander aimlessly with no way of knowing Him. He has revealed Himself through the Bible. We have a god who wants us to know all we can about Him. My prayer for you is that you take Him up on that offer. You will find encouragement, love, hope, grace, challenges, and truth on every page. I implore you to start digger deeper than you have ever dug before. I promise you that as you dig, you will find life and life to the fullest.