(Editor's Note: This blog was written by Adam Borcicky who is interning with The Stand's Engage division.)
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NKJV).
As a kid, I despised reading. In grade school, I always tried to find the books with the most illustrations because that meant less reading. Reading was my worst subject in high school. Even in college, I struggled through my literature classes.
Sadly, this mentality bled into my spiritual life. I hated reading my Bible as well.
In my junior year of college, God called me to the ministry. I knew then that I had to do better at reading my Bible. Not only that, but I had to really study it. If I was going to be a preacher, I had to dig into it, word for word.
Reading the Bible is important for all Christians. As Paul wrote, “All Scripture […] is profitable.” The very Word of God is accessible to all people. Yet, like me, people will neglect it. We will leave it on our bed stands or our shelves collecting dust. Our preachers tell us to read it. You may be like me when I was younger asking “Why?” What is the importance? What can we profit from reading the Bible?
First, we must understand that the Bible is a doctrinal book. It is truth, being the very word of God. Throughout the Bible, God reveals His truths and attributes to us. The scriptures are to be used to teach the doctrine of God and to show who He is to His people.
Once we have read the scriptures, we must, in turn, teach others these truths that the Bible reveals. I have heard the analogy before of the pipe and bucket. If you pour water into a bucket, the water would be kept. If you pour water into a pipe, the water will drain out. We need to be like the pipe and let the waters of biblical knowledge drain into others. However, we must first read it ourselves before we can teach any doctrine from the Word.
Secondly, the Bible calls out our sins. In our sinful nature, we may not know what sin is. We know it is disobeying God, but how do we know we are disobeying God if we do not know what He commands us to do or not do?
Sometimes, reproof can be harsh, although it is necessary. We can read in Matthew 23 where Jesus severely rebuked the Pharisees. They were teaching false doctrines and He had to call them out before any more lies were spread.
Sadly, Christians can become insensitive to sin. They allow it into their churches and doctrines. They do this because they do not read the Bible. If we do not read the Bible, we are doomed to take it out of context and allow sin to continue in our lives and our churches.
Next, Scripture helps us identify false teaching and allows us to correct it. We should read the Bible because it helps us redirect our brothers and sisters back to God. As sinners, we all go astray at times. Thankfully, the Bible was given that we may address these shortcomings. It provides a guide for rebuking the way God intends for us to do.
Matthew 18:15-17 is the perfect example of Christian rebuking. We are instructed to first address the issue with the person personally. If they do not listen, bring someone with you. If they still do not adhere to your correction, bring it in front of the church. Lastly, if they still do not change, we are to treat them as strangers.
If by any chance you hear teaching that you are doubtful of, we should be like the Bereans in Acts 17:11 where they “searched the scriptures daily to find out if these things were true.” They were excited to read the scriptures. For every teaching they heard, they went back to God’s Word to assure the doctrine was right.
For Instruction in Righteousness
Lastly, the Bible should be used to train Christians. This is the heart of discipleship. The Bible is our source for all Christian ethics. It tells us how we should live, behave, and relate to others. Sure, devotional books and other Christian writings are good, but the scriptures should be the ultimate source of guidance.
The Bible trains us to live like Christ. It teaches us how to set ourselves apart from the world. It teaches us to love our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48), respect our government (Romans 13:1-8), and keep Christ in our marriages (1 Peter 3:1-12). This list can go on and on, but the important thing to remember is that we should stay in the Word daily.
As Satan tempts Jesus in Matthew 4:4, Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 8:3: “man must not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” If Jesus knew the importance of Scripture, how much more important is it to us? It should be our daily bread. Let us not starve ourselves by neglecting it.
If you do not have a copy of God’s Word, there are some websites including logos.com, biblegateway.com, as well as audiobooks for the Bible. There are Bible apps for your smartphone. With all these resources, we are without excuse. Whether it be one verse a day, one chapter a day, or one book a day, read your Bible!