Monday, October 26, 2009
Why read the Bible?
Solid radio teaching, sermons from your Minister, and a daily devotional habit are all good food for the life of a believer. But a systematic reading plan is the workout that flexes the heart and muscles of the soul. Something to think about.
Why take that time to do the reading?
2 Tim 3:16-17 Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God's will in thought, purpose, and action), 17 So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work. (The Amplified Bible)
The Bible in its original text was delivered to us without error - God-breathed. That alone is pretty compelling. If you want to know what God thinks about something, it just might be in the Bible as relevant today as it was when it was written.
Profitable for instruction. There is a lot in the pages of the Bible that answers a lot of questions. In Job 26:7 we are told that God hung the Earth on nothing in space. At a time when most of the world believed the world rested on the backs of enormous elephants or some other thing, God explained what even our modern minds only begin to truly comprehend. What does God think about [insert your relevant concern here]? If you can't find it, ask a friend or leader at your church to help you find the answer.
For reproof and conviction of sin. The word reproof in The Message is expressed "exposing our rebellion". Ouch - but it is so true. Sin is willfully ignoring God's law. The Law is a task master that brings us to the cross to ask forgiveness. Jesus Himself in Matthew chapter five shows us how far short of the perfection Law represents we fall. To be angry with someone, to call someone a fool, is cause enough to be sent into a fiery hell. Did you know that? Thank God there is grace and mercy for the person who comes to God humbly to be forgiven.
For correction in error and discipline in obedience. How will we know we are in the wrong? The Christian is given the Holy Spirit living within him as a down payment of his salvation, and a helper to walk with us through this life. Psa 119:105 declares that God's word (the Bible) is a lamp the lights our path to keep us from stumbling. It reproves us when we wander from the path He has for us and shows us the way to travel when we take the time to read. The Bible is a guidebook through many of the problems that life presents us. It's not all "Thou shalt not ...", but is also "Love the Lord your God". and "Love your neighbor as yourself". If you truly love someone you will honor and respect them and want do things that makes your relationship strong.
For training in righteous living. The more we learn of the grace and mercy of God toward us in the Salvation He provides freely through Jesus Christ's death and resurrection, the more we realize the price that was paid was the only way we could be rescued from eternal separation from God. When that begins to sink in the response is gratitude for what He did while we were still doing what we thought was best (Prov 16:25) - knowing that some things were not so good, or outright wrong - better know as sin (all sin is deliberate - 1 Cor 10:13). The price was paid willingly to open the door for us to eternity with God brings the gratitude that comes as we recognize that we were helpless to save ourselves. The enormity of the cost that was paid should bring a desire to live the life He wants us to live - to live in conformity with God's will in all aspects of our lives.
Are we going to stumble and fall, sometimes hard from time to time - sure. If we ask the Lord, Who we have sinned against (Psa 51:4), for His forgiveness for our actions - He is just and willing to forgive us. There may still be consequences, but God has forgiven you.
All these pieces of this topic mesh like gears in a motor. Instruction and correction drive discipline and right living and shows us how much God has done for us which drives obedience. God provides the Bible so that we can be completely prepared to deal with life as it comes at us in a world that is most decidedly skewed against the live that He would have us live. The darker side of mankind is evident in drug cartels that declare war on the lives of people young and old, industries that sell us products through the use of sex, and other industries and organizations that feed the modern culture the lie that there is no God, and if whatever you want to do feels good to you then do it.
Jesus Christ came to die and rise again for a world that is fallen and lost. We who know Him are salt and light that preserve and display the truth for the world to see. That's a pretty tall order without some training and periodic correction and instruction. Set a time each day and stick with it. See what good things God has in store for you.
Thanks to St. John Bosco High School students for your day of service to the poor and homeless at St. Vincent de Paul of Los Angeles.
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