Being in the Word

Sometimes, spending time in the Word is wonderful: Time flies while we mark our Bible and journal insights; every verse seems saturated with living truths filled with practical encouragement. Our hearts are refreshed and filled with joy after spending time in fellowship with God.

Other times, it feels like a chore, does it not?

How often do we have those days when we’re reading in the Pentateuch or in the Major Prophets and nothing seems relevant to living life in the twenty-first century? We wonder how in the world such seemingly unconnected and irrelevant passages can change our lives to be more like Christ.

So why do we do it?

Why do we read the Bible? Why should we persist through those days when Scripture feels as dry and boring as that piece of leftover toast from yesterday’s breakfast? Why should we desire to plod through those portions of Scripture filled with graphic R-rated scenes and pronouncements of doom and gloom on defiant Israel and godless nations?

Why do we believe that Scripture is vital for the spiritual life and growth of the believer?

While we could discuss many reasons for why we should be in the Word, perhaps we could boil them down to two primary motives for why we should read—indeed, why we need  to read—the Word on a regular basis: We read the Word because it is about God and  we read the Word because it instructs us in godly living.

1. We read the Word because It reveals God to Us

Scripture is unlike any man-written book because of it’s Author and it’s content. Written by divine means, Scripture is God’s specific revelation of Himself to mankind. Without God’s written Word in our hands, we wouldn’t know how God has dealt in the past, how He is working right now, and how He has determined to act in the future.

Without Scripture, our understanding of God’s character would be greatly lacking and the free gift of salvation offered to all would be unheard of news throughout all of creation.

In short, without Scripture, we would have no means of knowing the God of the universe. (Yes, Christ came to earth as the revealed Word, but it is Scripture that bears the divine witness of His life, death, and resurrection.)

While God has revealed general aspects of His character through creation, that is not enough for us to truly know and love Him for who He is. This is a scary thought, for if we do not have a means of knowing God, life here on earth is purposeless, futile, and vain: We’re born. We live our life. And we die. The end.

But as 2 Peter 1:20-21 tells us,

“…the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the
Holy Ghost”

Yes, God gave us the Scriptures and He is the divine Author of it! Not only that, but it is within the very pages of Scripture that He has made Himself known to mankind!

As Kevin DeYoung says in his outstanding book Taking God at His Word, “Only in Scripture do we encounter the fullness of God’s self-disclosure. Only in Scripture do we find the good news of the forgiveness of sins. Only in Scripture can we be led to believe in Jesus Christ and, by believing, have life in his name.” (page 116)

And so, if we want to know God, we must turn to the Book that He has written concerning Himself: it is crucial that we spend intentional time in the very pages of Scripture.

2. We read the Word because it instructs us.

As the blood-bought, adopted, and beloved children of God, we should desire to please Him, the One who ransomed us out of the clutches of sin and made us fellow-heirs with His only begotten Son, Jesus.

It only naturally follows, then, that we should desire to please Him.

The question then begs to be asked: where then do we learn how to please Him?

Once again, the answer is found in the pages of Scripture.

2 Timothy 3: 16-17 gives us the purpose of Scripture:

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

We see here that Scripture is given to teach us, to rebuke us, to correct us, and to train us.

And this is all for the intent of equipping us to fulfill God’s purpose for us: to do good works (Ephesians 2:10).

Yes, this is how we can live to please God.

Furthermore, Psalm 19:7-11 abounds with descriptors of what the Word does: it revives the soul, it makes wise the simple, it rejoices the heart, it enlightens the eyes, it gives warnings, and it rewards those who keep it.

In the same passage, Scripture declares itself to be true, righteous, more to be desired than fine gold, and sweeter than honey.

After such an extensive list, is there any doubt that the believer should place a high priority on being in the Word?

These two reasons then—the conviction that Scripture is God’s specific revelation of Himself to mankind and that Scripture is God’s instructions to  man concerning godly living—should become driving motivations for being in the Word on a regular basis.

Do you want to know God more? Be in the Word.
Do you want to understand how His character influences His ways? Be in the Word.
Do you want to know how to live a life pleasing to Him? Be in the Word.

Yes, be in the Word.

It sounds simple because it is.

In its most basic and straightforward form, being in the Word simply means literally, physically and intentionally reading the words of Scripture.

Being in the Word may vary from one season of life to the next; it may also vary from one person to the next.

And that’s okay.

What is important is that in each season of life, whether you’re single and pursuing graduate-studies or a newly-wed with the glow of love on your face, seek to make it a priority to spend time in the Word.

Or maybe you’re a first-time mom struggling to adjust to the new normal or an empty-nester wishing the house weren‘t so quiet: whatever stage of life you are in right now, find the how, the when, and the where that works best for you.

In this new year, may we each pursue spending time in the Word so that we might grow to know and love Him more!