Ancient Words

The Bible is a collection of ancient words written down by men of God from Moses to John. Within the books we have the Law, history, poetry, prophecy, wisdom, and letters. I know some may think it is an outdated book, and I know many who claim to follow Christ still pick and choose which Scriptures they think are relevant and which aren’t. And still others think it’s boring.

I’ve been a Christian for a long time, and I’ve gone through some weird seasons during those years. First, I was given a King James Version Bible when I was a kid. I wanted so badly to read it, but I couldn’t understand it. I prayed and asked God to help me, and the next day, I could understand. It was awesome.

A few years later I heard about having a quiet time, so I would go in my room and try to read and spend some time with God, but my mom didn’t want me to. I’m not sure why because she was so faithful to read her Bible daily, but during that time, she decided if I read my Bible every day, I would become a cult follower. It was a weird time in our family, but for a while, it stopped me from really reading my Bible.

I began discipleship classes while in high school, and I started to develop a more disciplined Bible reading, memorization, and prayer routine. However, I was a total perfectionist, so if I missed a day, I felt like a failure. I was doing it out of obligation rather than a love for God and scripture. My quiet times were a chore.

Now, I am so thankful that God has changed my heart. I love reading my Bible and spending time with God, not because I have a reading plan I must finish so I feel like a good little Christian, but because I need encouragement and wisdom and to know my Lord more. This change began several years ago, but it has really taken hold as we’ve started reading the Replicate Reading Plan (link is below). In this plan, we actually don’t read every chapter in the Bible. This plan is to encourage a group to stay faithful rather than checking off chapters read. Something about it made me let go of that perfectionistic striving once and for all. I plan to go back to reading the whole Bible next year, but for two years now we’ve been on this plan, and God has used it to free me from my own attitudes. I delight in God’s word. It is a joy to read.

Yes, these are ancient words, written down by men, but they were inspired (breathed) by God. And that makes all the difference. The word of God is not merely a collection of books. It is the voice of God, the heart of God revealed to us by His Holy Spirit through men. Reading it should bring us such joy to know that we’ve been in the presence of God as we’ve read.

2 Timothy 3:16 (NLT) All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness

Hebrews 4:12 (NLT) For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.

Romans 15:4 (NLT) Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.

My heart is broken when I see how so few really seem to know what the Bible says. I’ve had students ask me such odd questions about something they’ve heard the Bible says which it doesn’t. They’ve read something in a novel or heard something from someone, and they don’t know what’s in the Bible. And I’ve had friends who say they are Christians yet when they talk about what the Bible says, they often end with, “But I think…” and they rationalize their own ideas rather than believing what the Bible says.

I fear that if we do not understand that God’s word is timeless—that it is just as relevant today as it was thousands of years ago—and the importance of it, and if we continue to ignore it, we are going to reap a harvest of misery for our world. As followers of Christ we must know what God says and obey it. We must not play games with God’s word but hide it in our hearts (meditate on it; memorize it). We also must realize that it is our lifeblood in living the Christian faith. It is our food to help us grow in the Lord. I cannot stress the importance of this strongly enough. We absolutely cannot afford to ignore God’s word and live our lives by what we think is right in our own minds. We absolutely cannot afford to just listen to the words of teachers and preachers without checking what they say according to God’s word. There are too many who are teaching incorrectly. And we won’t know that if we don’t know God’s word.

2 Timothy 4:3-4 (NLT) For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

I love teaching God’s word. I love discipling people and challenging people to disciple others and their own children. BUT, if I am teaching, I can make a mistake. I hope that people would have their Bibles open and searching to make sure I’m teaching correctly. I appreciate that someone might think I’m smart enough and have enough integrity and spiritual insight to teach God’s word accurately, and I certainly try to do that, but I am human. I know better than to think I can’t make a mistake or misunderstand something.

Acts 17:11 (NLT) Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

So, today, I just want to admonish each of us to read our Bibles. There are reading plans available online, and there are even apps with different languages and versions of the Bible that we can use if we don’t want to carry around a Bible. Yet, even with all we have available today, it seems to me there are fewer and fewer people who actually read and know the Bible and all that it says.

We must:

Read the Bible – read at least a few verses each day. Ideally, we will read 1-5 chapters each day, but even starting with a few verses will begin to change our lives.

Know the Bible – this way we won’t be easily fooled and deceived. The enemy wants to steal God’s word from us, and he wants to distort the truth. When we know the word of God, we can stand firm and know the Truth, and the Truth will set us free from the lies of the enemy. But if we don’t know God’s word, we are susceptible to deceit.

Meditate on the Bible – fill our minds with the Word of God and think about it, mull it over, dwell on it

Memorize the Bible – when we memorize God’s word, we truly own it and know it, and the Holy Spirit can use it in our daily lives more readily. It strengthens our faith when we memorize God’s word.

Love the Bible – we need to fall in love with God’s word. We need to treat it like food or drink that we cannot survive without. If we don’t love God’s word, we need to ask God to help us love it. If we love it and need it, we will spend time in it. Through it we come to know and love God because the Bible is God’s voice speaking to us.

Psalm 119:1-16 (NLT)
Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the Lord.
Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts.
They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in his paths.
You have charged us
 to keep your commandments carefully.
Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect your decrees!
Then I will not be ashamed when I compare my life with your commands.
As I learn your righteous regulations,
 I will thank you by living as I should!
I will obey your decrees. Please don’t give up on me!

How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word.
I have tried hard to find you—
 don’t let me wander from your commands.
I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
I praise you, O Lord;
 teach me your decrees.
I have recited aloud
 all the regulations you have given us.
I have rejoiced in your laws
 as much as in riches.
I will study your commandments
 and reflect on your ways.
I will delight in your decrees and not forget your word.

My prayer is that each of us will “delight in God’s word day and night” (Psalm 1:2) and that our children will too.

We’ve recorded three podcasts that I hope you will find helpful. One is about Bible story books, another is about Bible translations for kids, and the third is about study Bibles for our older children. Check them out and comment, share, and follow. Let us know if you have any questions.

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