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Why do we read our BiblesSeptember 4, 2018
Some of us love the darkness of a sky-filled night where there is no artificial light to be seen and we can gaze into the heavens and behold God’s invisible attributes. Others are afraid of the dark but most of us find our deepest struggles are only magnified in the darkness and terror of the night. Where do you turn when you are anxious and afraid? What do you read or watch or do when your thoughts are captivated and taken to dark places? One of my old Seminary professors John Feinberg writes, “Our lives are blessed with many “light places” but there are “dark places” as well, but what has always remained the same, regardless of circumstance, is the light that scripture casts upon my way. Scripture is a ray of light in a dark place”
There was a time in my life when I did not always turn to scripture in moments of my deepest despair because I thought I could ‘fix’ things on my own. How stupid when scripture is filled with ‘light’ that my seminary professor wrote about. The writer of Psalm 119 says in vs. 105, ‘Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.’ He also writes in vs. 43 my only hope is in your word. And yet, how often do we put our hope in the wrong things when God has given us his word and has given us his spirit who will guide us into all truth. Not only does God’s word guide us in all truth, bringing light to the darkest places, teaching, rebuking, correcting and training us in righteousness (2Tim. 3:16), but when we read and understand God’s word it deepens our understanding of its author, the eternal God of the universe. And as our understanding of who God is deepens we love him more and want to obey him, honor him and serve him.
You see, it’s not just enough to simply read God’s word. We must be changed by reading and meditating on God’s word otherwise we might as well read a good novel. One of the greatest burdens I have for myself and other believers is for all of us to prayerfully read scripture that results in a deeper love for Jesus which leads to a passion to see lost people be made right with God and discipled and for them to do the same with other lost people all over again. It’s what David Platt calls ‘multiplication’ and what Jesus called in Matthew 28 ‘making disciples’. But it starts with allowing scripture to be that ray of light even in our darkest moments and making scripture the anchor of our soul, always asking God to transform us. May we never be guilty of rejecting the word of the Lord as the people of Israel so often did nor may we be guilty of simply filling our heads with knowledge without doing anything with it. D.L. Moody once said, “The Bible was not given to increase our knowledge, but to change our lives.” Paul described the believers in Thessalonica this way; “. . . when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13). The Word of God was at work in the lives of those early believers transforming the way they lived. As the praise song Ancient Words says, “ancient words of life, words of hope, give us strength, help us cope, changing me and changing you”. Believer, read Gods word, but most importantly pray that by reading it you will be changed by it.