Episode 12: Why the Bible Is So Important

In this episode we outline some of the reasons the Bible is so important in the Christian’s life. We hope your questions are answered, but if they are not, please ask questions below in the comments.

Transcript/Show Notes

(00:38):

Welcome to Everyday Discipleship, Every Day where we discuss discipleship in the 21st century, guided by biblical discipleship, a Christian worldview, and individual needs while focusing on discipling our children as well. I’m your host, Terrie Hellard-Brown, and I’ve started publishing my discipleship book on my blog. It is there for you and free for you to download as you choose, and hopefully to use it in discipling others or in helping yourself to grow in the Lord. In each lesson is included five devotionals for each week that you do the lessons and hopefully a lot of good information. If you see that there’s something you have a question about or would like something else addressed, please feel free to put comments on each blog post. There’s a place at the bottom where you can put comments or questions, and we would love to hear from you. You can find all of this on my website, which is TerrieHellardBrown.com.

(01:41):

And like I said, these are free for you to download. We are posting them slowly because I am editing as I go and re-edit this book. It’s been in the works for many years, but now I’m really getting serious about it and making it where it is ready to be published. But rather than publishing it and selling it, I really felt led by the Lord to put it on my blog. There may be a time in the future when we put it together in a book and publish it, and if you’re interested in that, you can always let me know, and we can just put it in a book and you can buy that. But at this point it is free lesson by lesson. So I hope it blesses you. Now let’s join the conversation today. Today we’re going to be talking about why the Bible is so important.

(02:26):

The last few lessons we’ve been talking about what the Bible is, why it’s important, and that we need to read it, memorize it, and meditate on it. And so today we’re going to talk about why that is such a big deal and why we talk about it so much, especially with new disciples in Christ.

(02:47):

The first thing, of course is the Bible is the word of God. You may have heard us refer to it that way. And the reason we refer to it that way is because that’s exactly what it is. When you think of the word of God, if you’re saying, these are the words of my teacher, it’s what your teacher has said, it’s what your teacher has taught. It’s the same with the Bible. These are the words of God that he has inspired and given to people to put into the Bible.

(03:15):

And we have it today. And so when we want God to speak to us, the first place he speaks to us is in His word. And if ever we think we have heard from God regarding a question as we’re praying or whatever, it will always line up with scripture. If it does not, then it was not from God, it’s from our own imagination or worse yet from some evil entity. But when what we’re feeling, sensing, hearing from the Lord in our prayer time or from others lines up with scripture, then we can trust that is possibly, probably from God. We still need to test the spirits. We still need to use discernment and we will be talking about that in a future lesson. But for today, we’re gonna focus on the words of God and why those are so vital. When you buy a car, the first thing you do, especially if you’re a first time car owner, is you look at the manual.

(04:11):

You want to know how to change the oil or how to take care of the car or what a different light that comes on means. The Bible is like our handbook in knowing how to live the Christian life. And the sad thing is there are many people who are Christians and some who think they’re Christians who have never really read their Bible. And it is very difficult to know if you are following Christ in the way you should when you don’t even know what the Bible says. And so we need to be very serious about learning what the Bible says. And so that is another reason that it is so important. So the Bible is the word of God, and we hear from him, we learn about who he is, we learn his voice when we read the Bible. So then when we’re praying and we hear something, an impression on our mind, it’s not like an audible voice, but you feel an impression in your heart or mind, and you recognize that this is God’s voice. It lines up with scripture. It’s something that God would tell us to do, then we can start to understand this is God’s voice. It’s not my voice. It’s not some other spirit or entity’s voice. It’s God’s voice. I recognize it because I’ve been in his word.

(05:30):

Second, it is our handbook and guide to know how to live the Christian life. And we talked about in the lesson about the different types of books. The Bible is made up of 66 books and some of those books are literal history, and some are prophecy telling us about the future and about God’s plan. And some are poetry and have figurative language in them. And so we need to use wisdom to know what type of literature we’re reading as we go through the Bible and what that is trying to teach us. But then there are the letters, and these are letters written from the apostles, from the disciples who followed Christ and from Paul who became a disciple of Christ later.

(06:14):

And these books teach us how to live the Christian life. And so it shows us the things that God expects, the things that God has given us, and how to walk with other Christians and how to be the church in the world today. And so those are really important for us to start to learn. If we don’t really learn the word of God and read it and understand it, two things happen. We either become legalistic, we become a do’s and don’ts sort of Christian, or we become more lackadaisical and everything goes, everything’s okay. When we know God’s heart and who he is and his holiness that he is calling us to through His word and how to obey him, then we don’t wind up on either one of those polar ends of legalism or what I call loosey goosey Christian. We come to a straight and narrow Christian, the one who follows the word of God and follows the Spirit of God as he leads and directs our lives. And we seek to be obedient to him in all things. And so that’s why we need to know the word of God.

(07:35):

The next reason that we need to know the word of God is because it is alive, it is real. It is active in helping us. The word of God changes hearts. It changes minds, it changes lives, and it is powerful. The Bible says that the word of God is more powerful than a sword. It divides the heart and mind and helps us to find truth and helps us to live and become more Christlike in our attitudes and in our actions. It is a powerful book. It is like no other book you’ve ever read, and it will change your life. So it is important that we know and understand and read the word of God.

(08:25):

It is also important that we meditate on the word of God. And when we talk about meditating, we’re talking about chewing on it, not emptying our minds and letting God give us a download of something into our mind. No, we read the word of God, and then we think about what it’s saying. We chew on it all day and let it just marinate in our heart and our mind. And that’s what we mean by meditate.

(08:50):

And we memorize the cool thing about memorizing. It’s not so important that you memorize every single word and be able to quote it word for word and tell me where it’s found in the Bible. Although if you can, that’s wonderful. And that’s one thing we try to do. But what happens in the process of trying to memorize scripture is we get that into our minds and hearts. And then when we face a temptation or a difficulty in life or someone comes across our path and they need our help, we can minister to them.

(09:27):

God will bring the word of God back to our minds and ministers to us, and it can minister to others. And so hiding God’s word in our hearts is vital to having a healthy and strong Christian walk. And so we need to be serious about that. Now, I know there are different times in our lives when we have more time for study and other times when we have less time for study, I am not trying to put a guilt trip on you, and I hope you understand that and hear my heart. I have struggled my whole life to consistently read the word of God every single day because in my mind, if I’m a good Christian and I’m a disciple following Christ, I am going to read God’s word every single day. I’m going to know it and learn it, share it, live it. And inevitably I miss a day. I miss a week. I read it and don’t remember what I’ve read. We all are human and we all do these things. I have friends who are so faithful to read their Bible every day. My mentor, she reads her Bible for 45 minutes every morning. She gets up, gets ready, sits in her chair and reads for 45 minutes. Wherever she finishes reading, she puts a bookmark in there and that’s where she starts the next day. I know of people on Facebook and well on YouTube who I follow, who dig into the word of God and do these deep Bible studies and spend several hours a week doing these deep Bible studies. It’s something I long for, but I haven’t been able to consistently find the time in my week or the energy in my week to just dig into the word of God. When I can, I love it. I love doing inductive Bible studies where we can look at what words mean and what the culture was and the archeology that they’ve found since then that supports the story and all the things. I love research, and I love doing that kind of a Bible study, but I don’t often get to do that on a daily basis. On a daily basis, what I usually do is I will read some scripture, and I will listen to chapters. I like to listen and read along, but I like to listen to the audio Bible. And that has really helped me to stay focused, to stay awake when I’m reading. Because sometimes we’re reading either early in the morning or late at night, and we’re tired. And so it’s really helpful to be able to hear it as well as read it. And that has just been awesome.

(12:11):

I usually have a highlighter handy. You don’t have to, but I love to highlight in my Bible or write a note in the margin of something that just jumped out to me and spoke to my heart. That’s what I love to do, and that’s what I do most often. But some days are just crazy days and I realize I’ve gone through my morning, and I haven’t read the Bible, and so I can go to Bible Gateway or You Version, and I can look at least at the verse of the day and meditate on that and chew on that and think about it throughout the day. So that is what we can do to make our Bible reading manageable. What I want to challenge you to do, and this is really important, is to encounter your Bible four times a week. Studies have shown that if we will encounter the word of God four times a week, it will massively change our lives.

(13:10):

For some reason, four times a week is really important. Three times a week, it doesn’t have the same effect. More than four is good, and it doesn’t have a negative effect, but the tipping point tends to be the four times a week. Now think about it, if you go to church on Sunday, that’s the one that’s one time a week. If you have a weekly Bible study, small group, that’s a second time. So then find at least two other times when you’re reading to your children and you can share the word of God with them. You’re also getting the word of God in your heart. Or when you can find the time to just sit by yourself and read the word of God two times a week. If you do your weekly Bible study and your weekly church going, then just finding those two other times a week when you can dig into to God’s word, even just a little bit, like I said, even if you’re just looking at the verse of the day, but you meditate on it all day long, then that’s a good thing.

(14:12):

When we’re trying to really memorize scripture, I have found that the best thing to do is to start out by reading through whatever section of scripture you’re memorizing, if it’s a full chapter that you read through that full chapter every single day while you’re trying to memorize it. And then I focus on the particular verse I’m trying to memorize that day. So I will review the ones I’ve already memorized, look at the verse I’m working on for that day, but before I do any of that, I read through the full chapter or full section that day, and that will help whether I memorize it perfectly or not. It is just washing over my brain over and over again, and it becomes a part of who I am, becomes a part of my mind. And I can remember what that verse or what that scripture section or chapter says.

(15:03):

So if you’re working on memorizing, that’s one thing you can do. As we are talking to other people and encountering others that we want to share our faith with, knowing the word of God becomes really important. Now, don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to wait till you know everything in the word of God to share what God has done in your life. We can share with others what God has done in our life from the minute we believe in Jesus Christ. He radically changes us. He forgives us. He becomes a part of us in our lives. He’s affecting and speaking, and he says He gives us His Holy Spirit to live in us so we can share our faith from day one. But as we learn more and more about the scriptures, it changes our lives and God can use it for us to help to teach others and to draw them to He can use the word of God.

(15:59):

We share to draw them to himself as definitely we want to learn the word of God. The truth is, there are people out in the world who read more of the Bible than Christians do often do, and they may not understand it. And that’s something else I want to talk about here in a second. But they may not understand it. They may abuse it, they may misquote it. Satan did that it read Matthew chapter four, and look at Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness. Satan used the word of God to try to tempt Jesus to go against God’s word. People will do that, not because they are evil, although they may be influenced by evil. They just don’t know the, there’s a scripture that says that the things of God are spiritually discerned and only revealed to us through the Holy Spirit. And we have to know him for us to understand these spiritual things.

(16:58):

The world doesn’t get it. They don’t understand it because they don’t have the Holy Spirit. And that is just the way it is. And so we have to help people understand what the scriptures say. Now, this is one thing we really have to be careful for, especially as new believers. When you get into reading God’s word, you need to make sure you’re understanding it. If you read a scripture here and you read a scripture here and they seem to contradict each other, it usually means you’ve misunderstood what’s being said. And we do it all the time. We take scriptures out of context, quote part of a scripture. There’s one that is so popular right now that is such a misquote, and you’ll see it on jewelry, on posters, on memes. And it’s she, let’s see, I can’t even remember what it is right now, but it’s talking about she did something like she’s got this power and God has blessed her.

(17:55):

And the she it’s talking about in there is Jerusalem, it’s the city, it’s the people in Jerusalem. It’s not, and it’s from back in the setting of that scripture, it has nothing to do with a woman. And we quote it all the time, put it on t-shirts, and it’s no. Let’s use the word of God correctly. And so we need to be careful that we’re doing that. We don’t have to be afraid. The Holy Spirit is with us and he will help us. We just need to trust him. We need to pray. We need to ask God to help us.

(18:33):

Now, oh, another way, what’s so wonderful today with the way our world is we have computers and we have, like I said, YouVersion and Bible gateway online. If you want to take the word of God with you as you go, you can of course look it up on your phone in the app, but if you’re trying to memorize scripture, you may want to even print off a page so that you can take it with you, meditate on it, put it on the wall, put it at your desk so that you can have it in front of you. And so that’s one of the cool things that we have available to us today, is that we can print off portions of scripture that we’re either memorizing or we want to think about through the day and to keep it right in front of us. Okay, let’s see.

(19:23):

There are some people who say the word of God has changed over the years, that it contradicts itself. If people are saying that, ask them how they know. Where does it contradict itself? Where is the the problem? What’s going on? And if you don’t know how to answer their questions, then get someone who’s discipling you or a minister or older Christian from your church and they can help you to answer these questions. You don’t need to be afraid or get into an argument. You can just respond with that. I’ve never heard that before. That’s interesting. Can I get back with you? Can we meet again next week? I’d really like to research this a little more. That’s a valid point. That’s a valid response to the accusations. You’re answering without emotion. You’re answering in a kind way, and then you can come back with a thoughtful answer that helps the person understand something maybe they didn’t understand.

(20:28):

And if they’re willing to meet with you again, there’s a reason for that. They are curious. They do want to know, hopefully what God has to say. Maybe they’re seeking truth and they want to know God. Maybe the Holy Spirit is drawing them to himself. And you can be a catalyst. You can be a part of that process. I want to encourage you with that. If people are attacking your faith, questioning your belief, questioning the Bible, just know that either they are just evil. No, they are just an angry, hurt person who may have been abused by someone in the church. They may be someone who is seeking things that are not of God seeking evil things being influenced by demons that can, that is legit. And there are people like that. But most of the time, if they’re engaging you in conversation, it is because the Holy Spirit’s already working on them and drawing them to himself and they’re fighting it.

(21:29):

And you have an opportunity to plant some seeds in their hearts and help lead them toward God. We need to understand how words have changed and read the Bible according to the context of what was happening during that time. We need to pay attention to who it’s written to and what the lesson is that we’re supposed to learn. We cannot just take a scripture and say, oh, this scripture is for me. And God was speaking directly to me when he put this scripture in the Bible, because that’s probably not true. Yes, there’s scripture there that’s for all Christians that teaches all of us. There will be times that God uses scripture to convict us of sin, to teach us something we need to teach, to give us direction. But if we’re looking at David and Goliath and we’re thinking, our tax bill is our giant, and God’s going to help us tackle it some in some miraculous way, and we’re going to do away with it, we’re misinterpreting our situation and we’re misinterpreting scripture.

(22:35):

So we do have to be careful and handle it correctly. Now, the original Bible was written in Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew. The Old Testament is Hebrew and Aramaic and the New Testament was written in Greek. And so we can do word studies to really dig deep those times that you have, when you can dig deep into scripture and really study and research, there are tools online to help you look at the Greek and the Hebrew and the Aramaic, and to understand the words as they were originally written and make sure we understand the original meaning that was trying to be conveyed. That way we can be sure that we’re understanding scripture accurately and not interpreting it from a 21st century mindset and maybe misinterpreting what we’re reading. So that is one thing, and you can find the tools that you need by just Googling it, searching for it online logos is software you can get.

(23:38):

And many of the podcasts I listen to offer a discount for logos software. There’s different, many different resources. There’s the Strongs concordance. You need to find a good concordance, whether it’s online or an actual book to help if you’re a brand new Christian, maybe to help you understand some of the more difficult scriptures. But your mentors and your pastors are vital in helping you understand. Now, the other thing I want to talk about just briefly is the subject of translations. English Bibles are translations because like I said, the original Bible was in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. And so the Bibles we have today are translations into English. Some were translated from another translation, and some were translated from the original texts. Just take that into consideration. Every Bible, you can find out how it was interpreted, who translated it, and there are some good solid translations out there.

(24:41):

If you want a word for word type of translation. New American standard, Holman’s, Christian standard Bible. Those are more word for word translations from the original translations of, or the original versions of the Bible in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. NIV which is the New International Version. And the New Living Translation are more concept by concept translated. And so they read the scripture in the original and talk, see what it means, and they translate it by the meaning of that scripture rather than trying to translate word by word. Both of these are wonderful to study. I love to use the H-C-S-B, the NASB to study alongside the new living or the NIV. These are great translations. One of my favorite translations is the Amplified Bible. The reason I like this is it takes a word and gives you the different meanings of that word in that verse.

(25:50):

And so those are fun. It’s fun to read. It’s horrible to read aloud. It’s very hard to use for memorization. I do not recommend it for that. But as far as study, I love the Amplified because it can help clarify some of the terms in the verses and then the Easy to Read Version. That’s my favorite for using with children. And overall, I like the Easy to Read Version. So those are some of my favorites. But maybe you’re in a church that uses the King James Bible. That one’s written in older English, so it’s a little more difficult to understand. We do have the New King James Bible that has been a little more modernized. Those are good translations, really good translations. The translations to avoid the Passion Translation; avoid that one. The author was not a group of editors. It was one person’s translation, which is usually a red flag. And he added to the scripture, it is a very poetic translation, but it is often not staying true to the original text. And so I highly caution you from getting the passion translation. And the other one that’s a, I go back and forth on it, and that’s the Good News Bible. It sometimes just takes a little too much liberty in its translation of the words. And there are some scriptures in that Bible that I just love. But overall I think it’s too simplified and takes too many liberties in translating. Now, there’s also what we call paraphrase. The Living Bible is a paraphrase written by one man. And so it has turned out not to be the best. A translation is much better than a paraphrase. And so just be aware of that. Look at the translation you have. Double check with your leader who’s helping to disciple you, and see which ones they like and which one they recommend. And unless it’s the Passion Translation, then you’re good. If it’s the Passion Translation, I would be looking for another discipleship leader. We want to use wisdom. We want to make sure that we are reading a translation that has correctly translated the Bible. And so as we talk about the importance of the Bible and knowing the word of God, I hope I’ve conveyed why, the why of, of the importance of the Bible. And I hope I’ve also given you some pointers to help you understand how to best choose a translation, how to best study the Bible or make sure that the word of God is in your life daily or at least four times a week. And again, I’m not trying to push legalism on you. I’m not trying to make you feel guilty because you haven’t done everything you were supposed to do.

(28:53):

This should be something that we long for, that we enjoy taste and see that, that God is good, and we should hunger and thirst for righteousness. And we find that righteousness by knowing the Word of God and obeying the Word of God and knowing the Holy Spirit and obeying the Holy Spirit. And so the word of God is God’s voice speaking to us, and we need to know it. And if we can grasp the concept or the idea that this is our opportunity to sit at Jesus’ feet, like Mary and Martha when he was teaching in their home, Mary sat at Jesus’ feet so she could catch every word he said and to learn from him. When we’re reading the Bible, that’s the picture we should have in our minds, is that we are sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to his teaching.

(29:48):

And we are learning more about him and growing closer to him, and also becoming more Christ-like in our attitudes and in our actions. When we can grab that kind of passion and excitement for the word of God, we are truly blessed. If you are finding you don’t have that, that you dread reading the Bible, you find it to be an obligation that you have to do and you’re not happy about it, pray about it. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you long for God’s word to hunger and thirst for it, to want to know God more, and his plan and purpose for your life and his plan and purpose for this world and his plan and purpose for his church. We need to know these things. And so if you pray, he will answer that prayer. And I know that because there have been times in my life when I thought, I got to do my Bible study.

(30:47):

I haven’t had time. I’m tired. It’s been a long day, but I’ve got to do my Bible reading. And that is just not the attitude. If you were going to go have dinner with someone, would you want them to come into the restaurant and sit down with you and go, Ugh, let’s get this over with. We don’t want that attitude in our relationships. Why do we tolerate it in our relationship with God? So pray that God gives you a hunger and a thirst for him, for his word, for righteousness and obedience in our lives. And I promise you, he will answer that prayer. He will help you to want to read His word and to feel like you can never get enough of it. And I don’t care how many times we read the word of God, there’s always more. There’s always more that he’s teaching us as we reread and go through those scriptures.

(31:39):

Again, I’ve been a Christian for many years, and I’ve gone to seminary and just been in church since I was born and studied God’s word. And every day when I read it, it’s like something is fresh, something is new. Like I said, God’s word is alive and it will speak to our hearts and change our minds and hearts to follow Christ. And so I, I hope that you can understand that and see my heart in this. Like I said, I’m not trying to make you feel guilty because you’ve failed. I’m wanting you to love God’s word and long for it and spend time with it, because in doing that, you’re also spending time with God. So God bless you as you try to learn His word and understand His word and learn more about his character and who He is and the plan he has for your life, how he’s calling you, how he wants to use your life in His plan and in his kingdom.

(32:43):

And so I hope that you feel blessed today. We are so glad you joined us today, and we do hope that you feel so amazingly blessed by the word of God and challenged to really jump in with both feet and read the word of God, start with the book of Mark or John in the New Testament and dig into it. And then from there, maybe go to Ephesians. In the lessons I’ve got on my blog, I have this week start with this book. And then in a couple weeks, if you finish that book, go to this one, and I guide you as you read through the scriptures. There’s also a chart on my blog in the different chapters that shows the different types of books in the Bible, and we talk about that. So there’s a lot of good information on my blog post on at my website, which is TerrieHellardBrown.com, where you can find out more information. So I hope it’s helpful to you. I hope it blesses you, and I hope it answers your questions. But if it doesn’t, please post your questions in the comments and we will get back to you. So our prayer is that we can obey Jesus’ command to make disciples as we reach and equip this generation of believers to reach and equip the next generation of believers with everyday discipleship every day.

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