Do I Really Need to Read the Bible?
If you missed Monday’s important introductory note about the upcoming change regarding Time With God, please see it here: http://twg.austinridge.org/sola-scriptura.
Some years back, I learned that I’d been reading the Bible with the wrong focus. I thought the point of reading it was mainly to learn what I should believe and how I should behave. I was wrong. Actually, it was that I had the wrong focus: My reading and study centered on me. But the focus of the Bible is on the person and redemptive work of Christ. The word “redemptive” is about rescuing and liberating someone from error or evil. God’s Word shows me all the places where I need this kind of delivering. When I began to read the Bible with a redemptive focus instead of a self-focus, the sometimes-stagnant waters of my faith began to churn.
- Do you think Bible reading is a “have to” or a “should” for the follower of Christ? Why or why not?
- Why do you read the Bible?
Read the Word
Hebrews 4:12-16 (ESV)
12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
- According to verse 12, what is the role of the Bible in our lives (see if you can find at least five things)?
- How do we, therefore, appear before God (vs. 13)? How does this make you feel?
- Graciously, Scripture doesn’t leave us on the downbeat: naked and exposed in our sin. What is the good news found in verses 14-16?
- Where does this passage (and all the Scriptures) point us: to a program of behavior modification or a person? Where is your focus most often when you read – is it on what you should do or to whom you should draw near?
- Scripture does two things: it exposes our brokenness, and it points us to our Savior. In what way should these Hebrews verses change why and how you read the Bible?
Respond to God
God’s Word is living and active. That makes it different than any other book on the planet. That means that when we read, there is the supernatural ability for it to touch and transform our hearts, not just fill our minds with more information. God’s Word actively points out our sin, but it never leaves us there—it always ushers us to Jesus, who has been tempted as we have, but never sinned. Because of this, he can give grace and mercy when we need it. Therefore, God’s Word is the primary means of grace and growth for the follower of Christ. Reading the Bible with a redemptive lens changes not only me, but the way I live every day; it gives me hope.
- Each time before you read the Word, ask the Holy Spirit to give you understanding.
- Ask him to help you see not only your brokenness, but also the beauty of Christ’s redemption for you.