Expected Benefits Sustain Motivation
To stay motivated on a large project, like reading through the entire Bible, we need a firm conviction of the importance of sticking with it to completion. So how important is knowledge of the Word of God? Here are three benefits we can only obtain by knowing the Bible.
Second Timothy 3:15-17. The Scripture makes us wise to salvation. We get some idea of the power and glory of God from the Creation, but only God’s Word informs us that we are sinners in need of a redeemer. In short, God is holy and we are sinners. We have a need, and God has the only adequate provision for that need. He became flesh and dwelt among us in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus died on the cross taking the just penalty for the sins of His people. By our human reasoning we would never imagine such a remedy for our guilt and shame. We might attempt to gain forgiveness by our good works, but, without the light of Scripture, we would not grasp that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.
Paul wrote to the Thessalonians: “For this is the will of God, your sanctification” (First Thessalonians 4:3 ESV). Sanctification has a progressive aspect, in that, over time we grow in our godliness by the Word of God. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (Second Timothy 3:16). If we would be trained in righteousness, we need the Word of God–not merely on our shelves but–in our hearts. The Bible works powerfully to teach us truth and to reprove and correct us when we go astray in thought, word, or deed. The result of this process is training in righteousness or growth in sanctification. By this growth, we do God’s express will.
Paul concludes his comments on the value of Scripture with this: “that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” Second Timothy 3:17. God redeemed us “from all lawlessness…to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14). God called us not for our own benefit alone but to serve Him with zeal. God intends for us to do this by being equipped with His Word.
Without knowledge of the Word of God we cannot be saved, sanctified, or service-ready. That knowledge can and will move us forward in these three aspects of the Christian life. We dare not neglect the Scripture if we care about pleasing God and doing His will.
A plan helps
There are many ways to grow in the knowledge of the Bible: listening to good preaching and teaching, personal reading, study, memorization, and meditation. All are essential. We ought to use every means possible to learn God’s truth from His Word. On this blog, I encourage regular, systematic Bible reading.
God calls us to salvation, sanctification, and service. Let us develop a deep sense of the importance of starting a regular reading plan and seeing it through to the end.
On Monday, I will post a flexible and practical plan for reading the Bible in the new year based on the concept of “reading the Bible in chunks” developed by Dr. Benjamin Shaw of Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Used by permission.
I think you will like it.