The Living Word
I grew up in a church, but when I went to a Bible-teaching church for the first time, I was blown away. When I heard the Bible being taught -- not just teachings from the Bible, but teaching the Bible -- it impacted my life.
The Word of God is not just a history book. It's more than a moral guide or a book of poetry or old stories or literature. It's a love letter to you. And as you grow more in love with the author, God Himself, the book becomes more precious to you as the years go on. God speaks to you encouragement, guidance, sometimes rebuke -- but all done in love.
There are some people who see the Bible as this outdated, antiquated book that's not relevant anymore. That's not how King David saw it. David loved it because God spoke to him in it. He wrote in Psalm 119:1-2, "Blessed [or happy] are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD! Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with the whole heart!"
A consistent exposure to the Bible with a consistent desire to obey it will do more for you than any other thing in your Christian walk. It will teach you everything that pertains to life and godliness because, as it says, it comes through the knowledge of Him who called us (see 2 Peter 1:3). As we study God's Word, we'll get in touch with the author of the book Himself, and it will make us strong, wise, and equipped.
And the Bible is a book for every Christian, not just the scholar. A lot of people look at the Bible like it's some secret code and we need an expert to decipher it for us. That's hogwash! It is written for every single person of every time period. The real author is the Holy Spirit, and guess where He lives? Inside of you. And because of that, the Bible is not for some elite group of scholars -- it's for the baby Christian all the way to the full, mature Christian. That doesn't mean the whole Bible is a breeze to understand. There's a lot I don't know, but that's all right -- there's a lot I can know.
This brings up a question people often ask me: "If I can understand the Bible on my own and if God wants to reveal it to me by His Spirit, why do we need human teachers? Why do we need churches that teach the Bible?" Paul said in Ephesians 4:11-12 that God "gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ." God gives us teachers so we can be equipped to do God's service. I have a library of books because I want to find out where others have plowed before me.
There's nothing wrong with listening to others teach the Word, but we also can't rely on just that. We ought to be reading the Bible for ourselves every day, because the Bible is taught all over the place--from the local church to the local cult group. And when you know the real item and somebody passes a counterfeit doctrine your way, you can go, "Time out, pal. That's wrong." The only way I know to do that is to read the Bible all the way through. It'll take you only about twelve minutes a day for a year. And in perspective of eternity and what's really important, that's not a long time at all.
One of the most powerful claims of the Bible is that it changes lives; it brings results (see Isaiah 55:10-11). We don't have a book filled with ancient stories that have no relevance. We have the living Word of God, filled with principles from poetry, narratives, parables, and predictive prophecy, all meant to nourish us and teach us the grand message that God has loved us from the foundation of the earth. I pray that the Lord would create in us a thirst and a hunger to know His truth and to know Him personally through knowing that truth.