It’s a great mystery that the Bible is an increasingly neglected book. Some who check social media, texts, and emails multiple times a day think nothing of going day after day without reading God’s Word. That’s why we are spiritually starved and lack the discernment to know what’s true and what’s false.
There is no virtue in having a Bible sit unread on a shelf or a Bible app sit unused on your phone. A Bible does us no good as long as it remains closed. Charles Spurgeon said, “If you wish to know God, you must know his Word.”
Luke makes a profound observation: “Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true” (Acts 17:11).
They searched the Scriptures—probing, not just skimming. And they searched them daily. (People died to get the Bible into our hands; the least we can do is read it!) And their searching God’s Word daily was a sign of noble character. Unless we establish a strong biblical grid, a scriptural filter with which to screen and interpret the world, we’ll end up thinking like the world. We desperately need not only Bible teaching, but group Bible study that explores the text and applies it to daily life.
My wife Nanci was a huge believer in not just Bible reading, but Bible study. She always surrounded herself with Bible study tools, both in her own time with God, and when writing and editing Bible study lessons for our church women’s ministry. It’s amazing how much time she and the women on the team have invested over the years in preparing these lessons, including many hours of direct study of God’s Word. It was very enriching for Nanci, and fun to see her at the dining room table day after day with open Bible and reference books.
After reading The Joy of Fearing God by Jerry Bridges, Nanci wrote in her journal:
I must study and know God.
I must respond to my awesome God.
I know He loves me.
I know I love Him, and I want to express it.
I want to trust this awesome God who has revealed Himself to me.
I thank Him for His provision, His protection, His guidance, and His compassion.
I will choose to trust Him!
Studying God’s promises is a treasure hunt resulting in great happiness. Some of the precious gems lie right on the surface; others require digging deeper. When we go to God’s Word, the joy of discovery awaits.
Nanci often quoted Psalm 119 in her journal. It has 176 verses, all of which allude to God’s Word and most of which celebrate its truth. Meditating on God’s Word brings us light, wisdom, and joy. “I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word” (Psalm 119:16).
Spending time with Jesus, by consistently and regularly reading His Word and praying, is an action we control. The choice may sometimes be difficult, but it is not impossible. It is a conscious action that allows us to renew our minds with the truth and to live well. But instead of fixating on the hard work of spiritual disciplines, focus on the great payoff of delight and finding “great spoil” in God’s Word (Psalm 119:162).
Scripture confronts sin in our lives, prompts us to obedience, and gives us delight in Christ. We need to go to God’s Word, open it, read it, meditate on it, and learn to delight in it. It will make us better, deeper, and happier people.
In this interview with author and speaker Jen Wilkin, she talks about the state of Bible literacy and how we can improve it, and shares how studying the Bible changed her own life. I hope it’s a help and encouragement to you.