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. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV)
As a new year begins, so marks the start of Bible reading plans for many followers of Jesus. I have had varying levels of success in this area over the years as I have engaged in plans for reading the Scriptures each day. Regardless, I firmly believe in the importance of a steady intake of the Scriptures in my life, and try to discipline myself accordingly.
There are two reasons why I believe this:
First, I believe that the primary way that God speaks is through the Scriptures. As we open the Bible and read it, we hear the voice of God speaking to us. Every word – from Genesis through Revelation – has been breathed out by God. It is His voice and therefore it is authoritative, trustworthy, and worthy of my attention.
Second, the Bible is also what God’s Spirit uses to affect transformation in my life to make me more like Jesus. It is through the Bible that I can see who Jesus is, how He lived, and what it means to follow Him. It is through the Bible that God teaches, corrects, reproves and trains me so that I am fully equipped to become who God has set me apart in Christ Jesus to be.
As I reect on my own experience over 30+ years of following Jesus, some of the most important and life altering moments have come as a direct result from an encounter with God as I read and meditated on His voice through the verses of the Scriptures.
It was through a verse shared with me by a friend in the summer of 1999 that God began to lift me from a place of depression and aimlessness and began leading me to a place of faith and surrender.
It was while reading a passage of Scripture in my seminary dorm room that I was struck with the reality that everything else I do must be rooted first in knowing and being with Jesus.
It was while listening to a sermon from 2 Timothy 4 that my whole philosophy of pastoral ministry was dramatically altered and set me on a new course.
It was through an unwavering Scriptural conviction about God’s plan and purpose for marriage that I chose to ght for my own marriage.
It was through a passage of Scripture that I sensed God calling me to step away from all that I had really known to pursue new and yet unknown paths in ministry.
Why do I (still) read the Bible? It is because I have experienced on many occasions the power of God to transform me through His Word – instructing me in my ignorance, encouraging me in my weariness, and rebuking me in my rebellion. It hasn’t always been easy, but it has always been for my good.
In this season of history in North America, the Bible is once again under attack. It is increasingly being minimized, questioned, cast aside and deemed irrelevant and untrustworthy. Sadly, it’s not just by the non-believing world, but by many who profess to know and follow Jesus.
When I remember who the ultimate Author of the Bible is, the role it plays in my pursuit to be like Jesus, and my own experience with it along the way, I can’t help but want to dig in more. I certainly have a long way to go. So my prayer is that God will help me to stay on course and to not grow weary or lazy in the pursuit of Him in this way.