Church, It’s Time to Grow Up! Part #2
SOME OF THE REASONS PEOPLE DON’T READ THE BIBLE:
1. The Problem of RELEVANCE:
This is one of the reasons people give for not reading the Bible. They say, “The Bible is archaic, it’s out of date! This book was written over 2,000 years ago – how can it have any relevance to my life as an intellectual person in the technologically advanced twenty first century? How can this book make any difference in my life today?” My answer to this objection is an easy one. The Bible isn’t an old book that was written by human beings thousands of years ago, but it is an eternal, living book that was written by God Himself. God’s revelation is as alive today as when first written. God’s Word is still changing people’s lives today.
2. The Problem of TRAINING:
When it comes to Bible study, some people say, “I don’t know how to do it. I’ve never been to Bible College. I don’t have the right techniques or the right training.” The answer to this objection is that we simply need to recover the skills of reading. It’s true that we are living in a generation today that doesn’t read much. It’s no wonder we have a hard time getting people to read their Bibles when they just don’t read period. The good news is that you don’t need professional training to be able to read the Bible. Although the Bible is so deep that it will be challenging and stimulating for the most intellectual person, it’s also simple enough that a child can open up its pages and understand what they need to know to be saved and live a life that pleases God.
3. The Problem of TIME:
Perhaps the most common objection I hear when it comes to reading the Bible is, “I just don’t have the time. I’m too busy.” Even though this is the number one reason people give for not reading their Bible, in reality this is the worst excuse of all. The problem is not time, it is really priorities. We all have same 24 hours in a day. The time is there, the issue is – what are you spending your time doing? Let’s make reading God’s Word a priority in our lives.
4. The Problem of RELIABILITY:
People say, “I have my doubts about the Bible. How do we know that we can trust it? How do we know that someone didn’t just make it up?” My response to this objection is that the Bible is completely reliable, consistent, and reasonable. There have been many intellectual men throughout history who have come to the Bible with the goal of attacking and disproving it. Some of the greatest apologists (defenders of the Christian faith), like CS Lewis, Josh McDowell and Lee Strobel, were atheists who came to the Bible to try to disprove it. When they examined the evidence for themselves, they all came to the conclusion, “There is a God, and this book must be true.” If you have doubts about the Bible, I challenge you to take a look at it and examine it for yourself. Search its pages, and you will see that there are no errors or contradictions, and you will discover for yourself that it is indeed the very Word of God.
5. The Problem of ENJOYABILITY:
People say, “The Bible is so boring!” I would like to suggest to you that most people who make that statement have never read their Bibles. The Bible is full of life: it’s exciting! It’s got everything you want from a great book: It has adventure, drama, suspense, intrigue, supernatural elements, poetry and romance. It’s an amazing book. Yes, some parts of the Bible are more interesting than others, but don’t say that it’s boring. There is a joy that comes when you feed on the Word. It’s one thing to come to church on Sunday morning and have your pastor teach you about what God is like, but there is no joy that compares with you sitting at home and reading your Bible, and having God speak to you personally through it. I want to challenge you to get into your Bible for yourself.
Another reason people don’t study the Bible is they don’t realize how much it’ll benefit them!
TEN BENEFITS TO READING THE BIBLE:
1. IT HELPS US GROW SPIRITUALLY:
“As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.” (1 Peter 2:2). Reading your Bible will help you to grow spiritually, and become more like Jesus.
2. MAKES YOU PROSPEROUS & SUCCESSFUL:
“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 be prosperous and successful, obey God’s Word.
3. HELPS YOU TO WALK IN PURITY:
“How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.” (Psalm 119:9). God’s Word will help you to walk in purity.
4. GUARDS YOUR HEART AGAINST SIN:
“Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You!” (Psalm 119:11). Memorizing the Scripture will help to keep you from sinning against the Lord. When Jesus was tempted by the devil, He quoted Scripture and resisted the temptation. Hide God’s Word in your heart.
5. REVIVES YOU:
“My soul clings to the dust; Revive me according to Your word.” (Psalm 119:25). Do you want a personal revival in your life? Get into the Word.
6. STRENGTHENS YOU:
“My soul melts from heaviness; Strengthen me according to Your word.” (Psalm 119:28). Do you need strengthening? Read and study your Bible.
7. GIVES YOU WISDOM:
“I have more understanding than all my teachers, For Your testimonies are my meditation.” (Psalm 119:99). Do you need more wisdom in your life? You’ll get it in God’s Word.
8. GIVES YOU LIGHT – DIRECTION FOR YOUR LIFE:
“Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105). We’re living in a dark world. God’s Word will give you direction for your life.
9. GIVES YOU JOY:
“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:11). Could you use some more joy in your life? Get God’s Word into your heart.
10. GIVES YOU PEACE:
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33). When God’s Word is in your heart, you can have peace.
There are many more benefits to studying the Bible, but I trust that these have stirred up your heart with a renewed passion to get into God’s Word for yourself.
WHAT IS THE BIBLE?
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17, nlt).
The first thing we learn about the Bible is that it has been inspired by God. The Bible was not written by human beings, but by God Himself. How do we know we can trust the Bible? It was written by a trust-worthy, promise-keeping God.
The Bible consists of the 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament. The Bible is the living, inspired, authoritative, inerrant Word of God. The Bible is living – it is alive, and it has the power to change your life today. It is inspired – that means it is God-breathed. It is authoritative – if God spoke it, then it has authority, and we must listen. Finally, it is inerrant – that means that there are no mistakes or contradictions in it.
An amazing thought about the Bible: God’s Word was written by 40 different men over a period of 1600 years. Most of these writers were not alive at the same time, and could not work together in any way. However, the Bible has one continuing story flowing through it with no contradictions. This fact alone is an amazing testimony to the fact that the Bible is true!
Consider this powerful quote from Charles Spurgeon, the Prince of Preachers: “If God has spoken, listen! If God has recorded his words in a Book, search its pages with a believing heart. If you do not accept it as God’s inspired word, I cannot invite you to pay any particular attention to it; but if you regard it as the Book of God, I charge you, as I shall meet you at the judgment seat of Christ, study the Bible daily. Treat not the Eternal God with disrespect, but delight in His Word.”
THE WORD OF GOD: Someone said once:
- This book reveals the mind of God, the state of man,
- the way of salvation, the doom of sinners,
- and the happiness of believers.
- Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding,
- its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable.
- Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy.
- It contains light to direct you,
- food to support you,
- and comfort to cheer you.
- It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass,
- the soldier’s sword, and the Christian’s charter.
- Here, too, heaven is opened and the gates of hell disclosed.
- Christ is its grand subject,
- our good its design,
- and the glory of God its end.
- It should fill the memory, rule the heart,
- and guide the feet.
- Read it slowly, frequently, prayerfully.
- It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory,
- and a river of pleasure.
- It is given you in life, will be opened at the judgment,
- and be remembered forever.
- It involves the highest responsibility, will reward the greatest labor,
- and condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents.
HOW DO WE STUDY THE BIBLE?
Have you ever sat down to do your daily devotions, and walked away feeling like you didn’t get anything out of it? You know the scenario: You read your chapter a day to keep the devil away, then you close your Bible and someone asks you, “What did you read in the Bible today?” You say: “I can’t remember. I know I did my reading, but I don’t remember what it was about!” If that has happened to you, then here is some simple advice to help you get more out of your Bible study. First of all, get a notebook and take notes as you read the Bible. Taking notes helps you to keep your mind focused on what you’re reading.
Now what should you write down? When I do my Bible reading, I often ask myself four questions. If you will ask yourself these questions every time you read the Bible, you will walk away with something practical that you can apply to your life.
FOUR QUESTIONS TO ASK IN BIBLE STUDY:
WHAT DOES THIS SCRIPTURE TEACH ME ABOUT:
1. WHO GOD IS?
What do I learn about the nature of God?
One of the first reasons God gave us the gift of the Bible is to reveal His nature to us. How do we know that God is love? How do we know that He is holy, majestic, glorious, forgiving and merciful? How do we know that He is the powerful Creator of the universe, and the loving Redeemer of mankind? Because the Bible teaches us who God is. When I’m reading through my Bible and I come across something about the nature of God, I will usually underline it and write it down, because it helps me get to know God better.
2. WHO AM I?
What do I learn about the nature of man?
The second question you should ask yourself when you are reading the Bible is: What does this Scripture teach me about who I am? The Bible tells us that if we are Christians, then we are children of God, adopted into God’s family, accepted in the beloved, forgiven, more than conquerors through Him who loved us, God is for us and not against us, and nothing can separate us from the love of God. As we meditate on who we are in Christ, it changes the way we see ourselves.
3. GOD‘S PROMISES?
Is there a promise to claim?
The third question to ask is: What does this Scripture teach me about God’s promises? There are many places in the Bible where God has told us what He would do for us. He said He would forgive our sins, heal our diseases, redeem our life from destruction, and satisfy our mouths with good things. These are all precious gifts from God, but we won’t be able to claim them and experience them in our lives if we don’t know what they are.
4. GOD‘S COMMANDMENTS?
Is there a commandment to obey?
The fourth question to ask is: What does this Scripture teach me about God’s commandments? The Bible is full of things that God wants us to do for Him. God wants us to love Him with all of our hearts, and love our neighbor as ourselves.
When you ask yourself these four questions, you will always have something to put into practice in your life.
CLOSING: THE FIVE MINUTE CHALLENGE.
God wants us to grow up – to grow up spiritually, and become more like Jesus. I want to challenge you to take five minutes a day to read through the New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs this year. We have a Bible reading schedule that is available to download from our website at www.beausejourchurch.ca. If you get into God’s Word, it has the power to radically change your life.
Bibliography: “Living by the Book” by Howard Hendricks.
Pastor Chris Jordan
This is a sample chapter from The Beausejour Pulpit.
Contact the author of this blog for your free copy of this e-book.