By Javan Rowe
Originally published in 11/9/14 issue of The Lookout
I love reading the Bible. Sounds like an obvious statement for a Christian to make, but it’s true . When I go through periods where I am unable to get into Scripture, I find myself yearning for it. What is it about the written Word that causes me to love it so much?
A Powerful Story
On a basic level, the Bible has a plot that rings true , like my favorite novels. It has a captivating story—a problem developed, followed by stirring climaxes, and a satisfying resolution.
Taking a brief overview of the Bible, the story begins with a problem in the Garden of Eden and temporary answers to that problem. Additional troubles are created by the Israelites’ recurring disobedience. The struggle builds to a climax as Christ is hung on the cross, giving the devil an apparent victory. A plot twist is revealed as we discover the perceived demonic victory was actually a victory for God, evidenced through Jesus’ supernatural resurrection. The narrative closes with prophesies of events yet to unfold, culminating with a declaration of an eternal future where countless more stories may be written.
The story of the Bible is enhanced through edifying poetry, rich history, and challenging lessons. How can we help but be enthralled with the Bible?
My love of Scripture goes deeper than simply a good story though. There are certain benefits we derive from reading the Bible. Those very benefits birth a love that drives us back into its pages time and again. Like anything else in our lives, the more we put in, the more we get out, and the greater developed our love will be for it.
Though these benefits may be countless, we will consider four things the Word provides: salvation, life, faith, and sanctification.
1. Saving Word
In Acts an angel told a certain man, “[Peter] will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved” (11:14). Paul likewise wrote, “By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you” (1 Corinthians 15:2). Like Peter and Paul’s messages, the point of the message given to us in the Bible is that the Word of God saves.
If you bought a toy for your child that required complex setup, consulting the manual would save you immense stress, work, and possible anger. On a much greater scale, we have the ultimate guide to salvation from eternal separation from our Creator. Reading its contents supplies the necessary instruction on how to obtain this salvation that leads to eternal life.
2. Life-Giving Word
Speaking of life, Scripture gives us life not only in the hereafter, but in the present. Remember Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). And when being tempted by Satan, Jesus responded, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (Matthew 4:4). The Word of God gives us an abundant life that is dependant upon Scripture for its sustenance.
Perhaps the greatest example of the Word giving life is found in God’s instruction to Ezekiel: “Prophesy to these bones and say to them ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life’” (Ezekiel 37:4, 5). We are lifeless skeletons until the word of God enters and gives a new, full life that is to be used for God’s glory.
3. Faith-Inducing Word
Paul wrote, “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ” (Romans 10:17). In other words, the written Word, which is the story of the Living Word, brings about faith.
Someone can pick up a Bible and discover God for the first time. Scripture also continues to strengthen our faith throughout our Christian journey. We can read about how the Lord worked in the lives of biblical believers, which enables us to recognize when he works similarly in ours. This gives us faith that he will continue to guide us and provide assistance.
4. Sanctifying Word
One of the simplest, but perhaps most helpful, passages regarding what the Word of God does for us is found in Psalm 119:11, where it says, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” When we internalize God’s Word, it moves us further along the road of sanctification.
There is a scientific principle that says two objects cannot occupy the same space. Think of that in terms of the verse above. The Word of God and sin cannot occupy the same space, so when we study, learn, and memorize Scripture we are given a tremendous help in our battle against sin. When we fill ourselves with the Word of God, ungodliness is vacated from the premises.
The Heart of God
The Bible reveals the Lord’s heart in a unique way. Unlike other religions, our God wants us to know about him, his ways, his promises, as well as his expectations. When we delight in the Word, we are delighting in the Lord Himself. We are celebrating the fact that we can know the heart of God.
Psalm 100 is a tremendous acknowledgment of how we feel when our love for God’s Word is strong: “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name” (vv. 1-4).
The Word of God fills us with joy and moves us to pray when we take attention off of ourselves and focus on God. Like a surgeon operating on the heart, we have been given the heart of God and have been given the tools to examine it. All we have to do is use the tool of Scripture and dissect that revealed heart.
Further joy is gained in knowing that this Word of God, which reveals God’s very heart, is eternal just as he is. Isaiah 40:8 says, “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” We can trust the Word wholeheartedly and allow it to fill us with knowledge of God, which leaves us with an ever-growing love for the Word and for God Himself.
If we keep ourselves immersed in the Scriptures, we will experience salvation along with a new and abundant life that is full of faith, and we will continue to grow in sanctification. As we discover these great benefits, our love for the Word of God will grow, compelling us to travel farther and deeper into the caverns of God’s wisdom. We will uncover the very heart of the God we love with our whole hearts.