Why We Read The Bible
Most people think the Bible is important, but we fail to believe the Bible is most important so we fail to make time to read the Bible. The Bible is most important because it is the words of God that point us to Jesus.
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The phrase “bible study how to” receives 538,541 unique monthly searches on YouTube in America – according to KeywordTool.io. On Google, that phrase receives 60,500 unique monthly searches according to KeywordTool.io. Plus, more than half of all American adults (58%) wish they read the Bible more often according to a study from Barna research group in 2018.
However, we are living in a time of great Biblical ignorance. People don’t know what’s in the Bible. The most familiar stories of the Bible are lost on most people. You can’t assume that people know the story of David and Goliath or Joseph or Moses or Noah. So, why don’t we read the Bible more? Why don’t we have a greater grasp on God’s Word? How is there such a great amount of Biblical illiteracy?
Failing to read our Bibles
When I was in Virginia this past week I got to spend time with my parents, my brother and sister and their spouses and kids. I also got to be around my grandparents. My grandparents all live within walking distance of my parents. My grandparents on my mom’s side live right next door to my parents. They’re in their mid 80s and their health is failing. They both have important medicines that they need to take each day at specific times of the day.
I watched my mother load this machine that disperses these small containers and chirps reminding you to take the medicine. If they don’t take their medicine, the machine calls my mother to let her know. My grandparents have gotten wise to this, so if they’re in the middle of something and the machine beeps to let them know it’s time to take their medicine, they’ll take it out and set it on the counter and there it sits. So my mother goes checks on them regularly to see how they’re doing but also to see if there’s medicine sitting on the counter.
The reason they don’t take it in that minute is because they are in the middle of doing something else. It used to be that they could keep track of that kind of thing. Now they can’t. It’s not that they don’t believe the medicine is important. They know they need the medicine, they know that the doctor who prescribed it knows their condition fully and has prescribed what he believes will best aide them, but in that moment they believe that something else is more pressing and this is just a nuisance right now.
We know we should read the Bible.
I’m sure that most of you know that you need the Bible in your life, but you constantly live in a posture of going from one thing to the next, constantly moving to the next thing that needs to be done or the next thing that grabs your attention. You’re not intentionally neglecting the Bible, you’ve just got a lot going on right now. Once you have a moment, you’ll take your medicine. That moment never comes.
The Bible is set aside amidst the hurry of life.
My grandfather led a large organization. He was constantly on the move. When he would come to our house for dinner he would eat and then say, I need to be going and would rattle off 7 things he needed to accomplish that evening. He’s now retired. He literally has nothing to do, but he still lives in that mode of being on the run. He’ll eat and then say, well this was great but we need to be going. One of my favorite moments was when he came over needing something from my mom and had to wait, so he sat on the couch and watched pink panther videos on YouTube with Lincoln.
The hurry will never go away. Life will never calm down. I want you to see that you need scripture in the middle of that hurry, you need to take your medicine when the bell rings, because you’re likely to never return to it.
You’ll never have time to read the Bible unless you make time to read the Bible.
2 Timothy 3:1-7, 12-17
Paul’s prescription to Timothy is that in these days he must stay close to the scriptures he has been taught. Paul writes to Timothy one of his final letters to tell him how to continue the work. He doesn’t tell Timothy to believe in Himself. Paul doesn’t tell Timothy to be positive. He tells Timothy to stick with the truth that he had learned as a child in the Holy Scriptures for the Scriptures are “breathed by God.”
When life is the craziest is when you need the Bible the most.
Many of you don’t know David and Kim Stone, and I hate that for you because they are great people. In August of 2017 David called me crying. He was leaving Toyota because he had just received the call that his daughter-in-law and two grandchildren had been in a horrific traffic accident. Both children were life-flighted to a nearby hospital and then were transferred to St Louis. Jaylee passed away. Wes lived but he had severe head trauma. It was a brutal day, that became a brutal week, that became a heart breaking month. Through that time there were many phone calls, text messages, and David would always share with me a Bible verse that he was holding onto that day.
When life is at its worst, God’s Word is at its best.
Paul is imprisoned, he has lost his freedom, so he is leaning hard on the promises of God and wants Timothy to bring him the book and parchments they have so he can continue to study. Why? How? Paul tells Timothy and us in verse 16.
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God,
The Bible is inspired meaning it is literally breathed out by God. It comes straight from God. The scriptures are God’s words to man. God is communicating with us and who knows us better than the God who made us?
We live in an age where we are consumed with the opinions of people we don’t even know or people we do know and can hardly stand. It doesn’t matter what the people who hardly know you think, what about the people who are closest to you? No one knows you better than God. No one knows what mankind needs better than God.
The most authoritative voice on the human condition is the Word of God.
I want to draw your attention to the first 2 words of verse 16. “All scripture.” A prominent religious political leader was recently asked for his take on a passage of Scripture that contradicted his views on an issue. He responded, I’m a red letter Christian. That means he holds to the words of Jesus, which have been written in red ink in some modern copies of the Bible. Now, there’s definitely benefit to emphasizing the words of Jesus in the gospels. However,
ALL SCRIPTURE is the Word of God.
Though there are many years between the OT and NT, they are knitted together. The OT foretold of the New Testament. The NT quotes the OT 300 times & alludes to people places events about 4,000 times. Between fourteen hundred and fifteen hundred B.C., when God, Himself, wrote the Ten Commandments on stone and ascribed these very first words of God in ancient form of Hebrew. God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses on the top of Mount Sinai, and God began speaking His word to us.
The phrase “The Lord Says” is in the Bible 3,000 times. The 40 authors that included rich men and poor men, kings, doctors, shepherds, fishermen, soldiers, poets, preachers, over 1500 years in 3 different languages believed they were putting the words of God to paper for others to benefit from.
46 times the Bible uses the phrase “it is written” meaning that the Bible is quoting itself, the author of this book believed this other book to be the Word of God. Of the 46 times, 33 are in the New Testament pointing back to the Old Testament writings.
When Paul tells Timothy to hold onto the scriptures that had been taught to him in his youth, that would have been the Old Testament Scriptures. Jesus Himself regularly quotes Old Testament scriptures saying that He was a fulfillment of them.
When Paul tells Timothy the old scriptures he had learned from his youth were
15 able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
All of the Bible is the Word of God, and all of it points to Jesus.
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
Doctrine- a teaching, but specifically a teaching about God.
Jesus would say at one point in the gospels that the people were worshipping in vain and teaching as doctrine the commands of men.
Reproof – showing us the error of our hearts
Correction – showing us our mistakes
Instruction in righteousness – showing us how to do differently
I love the way Eugene Peterson paraphrased this verse:
Doctrine – showing us truth,
Reproof – exposing our rebellion,
Correction – correcting our mistakes,
Instruction in righteousness – training us to live God’s way
God does this by introducing us to the person of Jesus. That’s what the Bible is all about. Paul says to Timothy, “There’s nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”
Maybe you’ve done this, but sometimes people on a road trip will stop and take a photo of the sign of the state they’re visiting. They’re headed to the beach and they stop and get a photo with the “Welcome to Florida” sign. People don’t travel to Florida to see the welcome to Florida sign, but it’s a way marker on the way to Florida. It’s pointing the way and welcoming you on your journey. That’s what the Bible is, it points the way to Jesus.
We don’t worship the Bible, we worship Jesus.
The Bible points us to the one we worship.
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