Search the Scriptures – Part #2

Seven Reasons Why Bible Study Will Change Your Life:

We have looked at the story of the Bereans in Acts, and Josiah from the Old Testament. But more than just inspiring you with their stories, I hope to stir you up with a passion to get into God’s Word for yourself. Here are just a few of the many reasons why studying the Bible will change your life today. All of the main Scriptures for these points are taken from Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible, a chapter that is all about the benefits of walking in obedience to God’s Word.

1.         You will be blessed. 

“Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are the undefiled who walk (order their conduct and conversation) in the law of the Lord.” (Psalm 119:1, amp).

Do you want to be blessed, and experience the abundant life that Jesus offers? If you read God’s Word, get it into your heart, and work it out in your life, God will bless you. The Lord’s promise to Joshua applies to us today: “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (Joshua 1:8). If you want to prosper and be successful in your life, obey God’s Word.

As the famous British pastor J. C. Ryle put it, “The Bible applied to the heart by the Holy Spirit is the grand instrument by which souls are first converted to God. That mighty change is generally begun by some text or doctrine of the Word, brought home to a man’s conscience. In this way the Bible has worked moral miracles by the thousands. It has made drunkards become sober—immoral people become pure—thieves become honest and violent-tempered people become meek. It has wholly altered the course of men’s lives. It has caused their old things to pass away, and made all their ways new.”[i] God’s Word will transform your life today.

2.         God’s Word will make you pure. 

“How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” (Psalm 119:9,11).

Do you have a hard time saying no to sin? Do you struggle with temptations? Do you find yourself doing things you don’t want to do? The Apostle Paul understood this struggle well. He wrote, “I don’t understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do the very thing I hate. I know perfectly well that what I am doing is wrong, and my bad conscience shows that I agree that the law is good. But I can’t help myself, because it is sin inside me that makes me do these evil things. I know I am rotten through and through so far as my old sinful nature is concerned. No matter which way I turn, I can’t make myself do right. I want to, but I can’t. When I want to do good, I don’t. And when I try not to do wrong, I do it anyway.” (Romans 7:15-19, nlt). God’s Word gives us the antidote to our struggle with sin. In fact, God’s Word is the antidote to our struggle with sin! When we hide God’s Word in our hearts, it helps us to keep from sinning against God. The Word of God is powerful, and it can give us the ability to resist temptation. Not only does the Bible teach us what is right and wrong, but the living Word in our hearts empowers us to live victoriously over sin.

When Jesus walked the earth, He was tempted by the devil. How did the Son of God resist the devil? “Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:3-4). Jesus used the sword of the Spirit – the Word of God – to overcome Satan’s temptations. God’s Word can make you pure.

3.         God’s Word will show you miraculous things. 

“Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law.” (Psalm 119:18).

The Bible is full of miracles – stories of men and women who met Jesus and were transformed. That’s exciting! These are stories of real people whose lives were eternally changed by the living God. But what stirs up my heart the most is the truth ofHebrews 13:8: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” Jesus is alive and well, He’s deeply interested in people’s lives, and He’s still performing miracles today. When we read through the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, we see Jesus healing the sick, raising the dead, casting out devils, forgiving sins, and accepting people. The Good News about the Gospel is that Jesus is still doing those things today. Being a Christian isn’t just about hearing the stories about what Jesus did two thousand years ago. If we are walking with Jesus, then we can expect to see those things today.

4.         God’s Word will revive you. 

“My soul clings to the dust; revive me according to Your word.” (Psalm 119:25).

Do you ever feel discouraged and want to give up? That’s what the Psalmist was talking about. Look at how other translators have rendered this passage:

  •  “I lie defeated in the dust.” (gnt).
  • “I’m feeling terrible – I couldn’t feel worse!” (msg).
  • “I am about to die.” (ncv).

The Psalmist is feeling miserable. So what did he do? He cried out for the Lord to revive him. And how does that revival happen? Through the Word. If we want to see revival, we need to get into the Word of God, and get the Word into our hearts. That’s exactly what happened to King Josiah. He got into the Word; the Word revived him, and brought revival to his entire nation. Do you want a personal revival? Then fill your heart and mind with the Word of God! My heart longs to see revival sweep across my nation ofCanada, and I know the foundation must be a returning to the living and powerful Word of God. Two other times in Psalm 119, the Psalmist prays that the Lord would use the Word to revive Him:

  •  “I am afflicted very much; Revive me, O Lord, according to Your word.” (verse 107).
  • “Plead my cause and redeem me; Revive me according to Your word.” (verse 154).

If we want to see the church become more glorious and powerful, we need to get in the Word.

5.         God’s Word reveals His love to us. 

“The earth, O Lord, is full of your mercy and lovingkindness; teach me your statutes.” (Psalm 119:64).

One of the reasons God gave us the Bible is so we would know how much He loves us. “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1). Consider the words to this old familiar Sunday school song: “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong, they are weak but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. The Bible tells me so.” The Bible reveals to us how much God loves us. Jesus said, “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.” (John 15:9). “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39).

It is so important for us to read the Bible because sometimes we doubt and question the love of God. “Does God really love me? How could God love someone like me, when I’ve messed up so much?” The next time you start to doubt the love of God, read your Bible. The Bible is God’s love letter to us. Meditate on the Cross, where Jesus shed His blood so your sins could be forgiven. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8). God loves you – yes, even you!

6.         God’s Word gives wisdom and direction. 

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105).

How do we make the right choices in life? How do we know where to go or what to do? The Bible is our roadmap, revealing God’s will for our lives. The Bible gives us light – direction – for our paths. As we’re navigating the pitfalls of living life in a sin-cursed earth, God’s Word is a blueprint for living the blessed life. “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” (James 1:22,25).

7.         God’s Word will give you great peace. 

“Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble.” (Psalm 119:165).

“Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” (Psalm 119:165,kjv).

How would you like to come to a place in your life where you walk in such peace that you’re never offended, and you never stumble? Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you willhave tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33). When we get into the Word, and love the Bible, we can come to a place in our lives where the peace of God guards our heart from offense, and our feet from stumbling.

These are just some of the many benefits that Bible study will bring into your life. Psalm 119 also tells us that the Bible will strengthen us (verse 25), enlarges our hearts (verse 32), enable us to walk in liberty (verse 45), comfort us (verse 50), give us understanding (verse 104), and more. The bottom line is that studying God’s Word, and putting it into practice, will change your life.

How to Study the Bible:

The Bible isn’t just one book; it is actually a library of sixty-six different books. Therefore, you don’t have to read the Bible straight through from beginning to end. Many Christians have set out to read through the whole Bible from cover to cover and never make it past the third book of the Bible, Leviticus. They read through Genesis, the story of God’s creation of the universe, and choosing of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the patriarchs of the nation ofIsrael. They read through Exodus, the story of God raising up Moses to deliver His people from bondage in the nation of Egypt. And then they get to Leviticus, a book that describes different sacrifices and offerings, the ceremonial and civil laws of Israel, the ordination of Aaron and his sons to the priesthood, regulations about unclean and clean foods, laws, rules, punishments, and more, and that’s where they usually get hung up.

Start your reading in the Gospel of Mark in the New Testament. Mark will tell you the story of the life, teachings, miracles, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Of all four Gospels, this one is best suited to the fast-paced lives of the 21st century. Then read the Book of Acts, as we have been studying in this book – the history and blueprint of the church. Once you’ve finished reading Acts, go back to the Old Testament to the Psalms (a prayer book), or the book of Proverbs (wisdom for daily living). Read through Paul’s New Testament letters that teach us how to live our lives as followers of Jesus. Eventually you will read through the entire Bible. If you start reading one book of the Bible that is challenging or hard for you to understand, just move onto another one.

Finally, here are some practical tips to help you make your Bible study time more profitable. One of the reasons why people don’t get more out of their Bible reading is because they’re not specifically looking for anything. They open up their Bibles and read and just hope to find something that will bless their lives. I want to encourage you to look for the answers to these four specific questions every time you open up your Bible. Keep a notebook beside you, and take notes on what you are reading. Then your reading will be profitable.

The Four Bible Study Questions:

1.         What does this Scripture teach me about Who God is?

“Yes, if you cry out for discernment, And lift up your voice for understanding, If you seek her as silver, And search for her as for hidden treasures; Then you will understand the fear of the Lord, And find the knowledge of God.” (Proverbs 2:3-5).

The Bible is designed to help us to get to know God better. Therefore, we should ask ourselves the question: What does this Scripture teach me about the nature of God? The Bible tells us that, “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.” (Psalm 103:8). Everything we believe about the nature of God must come from the Bible. Why do we believe that God is good, loving, holy, just, powerful and majestic? Because that’s how the Bible describes His nature to us. The Bible is full of titles, names and descriptions of God, that help us to get to know Him better.

2.         What does this Scripture teach me about Who I Am?

“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.” (Psalm 139:14).

When reading the Bible, we should ask ourselves what this Scripture teaches us about our nature as children of God. We need to allow the Bible to change the way that we think about ourselves, so that we can be transformed into the image of Jesus. Many people struggle with low self esteem because they don’t know what the Bible says about what God thinks of them. The Bible tells us that God chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, He predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, and He made us accepted in the Beloved. God is for us, not against us; we’re more than conquerors through Him who loved us, we’re overcomers by the blood of the Lamb, and nothing can separate us from the love of God! This is what the Bible says about who we are in Christ. In fact, the New Testament has over 100 Scriptures that talk about who we are in Him. When you read through your Bible, take note of everything the Bible says about who you are as a child of God, and allow those truths to transform the way you see yourself.

3.         What does this Scripture teach me about God’s Promises?

“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature.” (2 Peter 1:2-4).

Is there a promise to claim? The Bible is full of promises that God has made to us. “Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Psalm 103:2-5). If we don’t know what God’s promises are, we won’t experience them in our lives. This is why Paul prayed for the church inEphesus: “I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the wonderful future he has promised to those he called. I want you to realize what a rich and glorious inheritance he has given to his people.” (Ephesians 1:18, nlt).

4.         What does this Scripture teach me about God’s Commands?

Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15).

Not only does the Bible contain God’s promises – the things that the Lord has promised to do for us – it also contains His commandments, those things He wants us to do for Him. When we are reading the Scriptures, we should ask ourselves the question: Is there a commandment to obey? The Bible teaches us how God wants us to live so that we can experience the blessed life. “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good?” (Deuteronomy 10:12-13). What an important revelation this is: that God’s commandments are for our own good. They come from a loving Father who wants to protect His children from danger and death. When God says, “Thou shalt not,” it is because He knows that if we do that thing He tells us not to (if we sin), we will hurt ourselves or others.

Read the Word!

If you haven’t done so yet, I want to challenge you today to make a commitment to read your Bible on a regular basis in your life. See the Bible reading schedule below called “The Five Minute Challenge.” This schedule will take you through the New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs by the end of the year. There are many other Bible reading schedules online that you can avail yourselves of as well. Whatever plan you use, get into the Word, and get the Word into your heart and life, and be transformed!

BOOKLET – Bible Reading Schedule web

Pastor Chris Jordan

www.beausejourchurch.ca


[i] J. C. Ryle, Practical Religion. (Banner of Truth, 1998).

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About Chris Jordan

Husband. Father. #Author. #Blogger. Follower of Jesus. And I enjoy a good cup of coffee!
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