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Why Read the Bible?

By February 25, 2024Devotional

Today, we witnessed the passing out of Bibles to the third and fourth grade students at church. It has been a while since I have seen a Bible presentation and I was impressed with the way that it was handled. I couldn’t help but be transported back in time to when Janet and I received our Bibles back in the early 1960’s. In those days, Bibles were given during January of the fourth grade year and we both received the Revised Standard Version of the Bible. In fact, we have a bookcase of Bibles that we have acquired throughout the years and our childhood Bibles are among them. Oddly, the church leaders thought they had lost mine and so I was actually presented with a second one – I have two now!

I received a New Testament with the Psalms from my maternal grandmother on my 10th birthday (February 19, 1963) and I received another large Bible when I joined the Masons in 1976. Of course, there are many others that I have inherited or have been presented to me over the years. The greatest acquisition of Bibles came when I entered seminary.

My previous work had been done in the RSV and various other translations but all my seminary work had to be completed in the King James. So… I ended up with several of them. And when I had to take Greek and Hebrew, those Bibles also had shelf space in my growing collection. Oh, I also had several interlinear Bibles, with several different translations next to each other on every page. It just goes on and on… and that doesn’t even include the electronic versions that I use to copy and paste the various verses that I use in these posts each time I write.

So why read the Bible? We must have twenty or more – when we are young, we are told to read, but sometimes the reason is missing. So I was impressed today when the church made it clear that the Bible is the way that we come to know Jesus; and that’s incredibly important. It sounds simple but it’s really even more than that…

We can read about how, in the ancient times, God the Father interacted with His people. His walks in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. Or Moses communing with God in preparation for crossing the desert to the Promised Land. Abraham was also a friend of God and there are many other instances of God’s interaction with His people throughout the Old Testament.

Then God fell silent for almost 400 years until John the Baptist made the announcement that Jesus was coming. Most of us know, from our study of the New Testament, that Jesus was on earth for approximately 30 years and then ascended to heaven after his crucifixion and resurrection on what we celebrate as Easter Sunday.

God then sent us the Holy Spirit as a replacement for Jesus when He returned to heaven. Today, it is the Holy Spirit who helps illuminate us, as believers, as we endeavor to enter into a deeper relationship with Christ. But God the Father and Jesus the Son, while here in Spirit, are not presently among us in a physical sense like they were throughout the Old and New Testaments. And that’s where the Bible comes in.

Paul makes it quite clear in his letter to the Corinthians that we will eventually fully know God. For now, though, we have God’s Word, divinely inspired and recorded by human authors. I am one to submit that the Bible should be taken literally, with room for what we refer to as linguistic tools. In other words, there are things that are included that would have been readily apparent to the people of the time that may not resonate with us due to the hundreds or thousands of years that have passed since the pages were recorded. That doesn’t mean that they are wrong, or should be changed. Just that we must seek a deeper understanding of things like metaphors, similes, merisms, pleonasms, hyperbole and other linguistic tools commonly used in the Scripture.

The Bible gives us a roadmap of how God wants us to model His behavior. It teaches us person to person relationships as well as how we approach God. It helps us during times when we are confused, or hurt, or need comfort. It helps us with happiness and joy and loving one another as God loves us. There is no problem that can’t be addressed by reading the Scripture. That’s great news for us!

And as we mature in our faith, we can relate to the Bible at deeper levels. A new Christian can read at a surface level and come back years later to re-read the same passages of Scripture. Through the agency of the Holy Spirit, we can understand more and more, at a deeper level, than we could when we first believed.

Our verse for tonight comes from the apostle Paul. He is speaking to his young friend, Timothy, and lets us all know the value of learning about Jesus. He tells us, in 2 Timothy 3:14-15, “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”

My encouragement this evening is that we all have a book of plans available and a roadmap for how God wants us to live our lives. This will suffice until the return of Christ who will rule through all eternity. My prayer is that we will take advantage of the opportunity that we have to learn everything we can about Jesus and His Father through the pages of the greatest book ever written.

With the help of the Holy Spirit and sitting under the teaching of a God centered pastor, this journey can be the most rewarding one you will ever encounter. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…

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