Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Bible - Part I

Just about every religion has its sacred Scriptures. For Jews and Christians, it is the Bible. There are a number of important reasons why we should read, study, and know the Bible. Let me list a few of the benefits of reading the Bible:

1. Get to Know God

First, we get to know God by reading the Bible. The Holy Scripture is God’s partial revelation of himself to us, usually in language we can understand. I say “partial revelation” because there is still much about God we can’t really know or understand. While that bothers us, we have to remember this quote: “You must expect God to know some things which you do not understand.”

2. Get to Know God’s Plan

The second reason why we read the Bible is that in doing do, we get to know God’s plan for both ourselves and the human race. Not only do we learn God’s plan for the world, but we can also discern God’s plan for us as individuals through prayer and Bible study. If you aren’t sure what God has called you to do, both short-term and long-term, pray about it and read the Bible. You’ll be amazed how God answers your questions and gives you discernment.

3. Get to Know How We Are to Live

The third reason why we read the Bible is so that we learn how we are to live. God created the world and God created us. As the Designer, God knows how we should live, and the Bible spells that out. If we live according to biblical principles, we will have fewer troubles in this world, society as a whole will be better, and our lives will glorify God. God knows best – read what God has to say in the Bible about living life. As we read in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NLT) in a paraphrased translation:

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 corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.

4. Builds Our Faith

The fourth reason we should read the Bible is that it builds up our faith. Faith is a gift from God, and God uses the Bible as an instrument of his grace to build up our faith. It says in Romans 10:17:

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. NIV

So when we read the Bible, we should look at it as an exercise in faith: God is using what we read to build us up. There is nothing magic about it. When God has our attention, such as when we are praying or reading the Bible, God can work in us to build up our faith, direct our ways, and give us understanding. Do you read the Bible frequently?

Let us pay attention to what God is telling us personally through the inspired Bible. We don’t worship the Bible, but we trust it to tell us what we need to know about God, ourselves, Jesus, faith, salvation, and the world. As it says in Acts 6:2b: “It is not right that we should neglect the word of God…” NRSV

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