Last year, I became painfully aware of how biblically illiterate I was.
Despite growing up in a Christian family, before last year I had never read the entire Bible. The extent of my Bible knowledge was whatever I had heard in church, from sermons I listened to, family devotions, or books I read. It was all secondhand. I found that often I was quicker to grab a book about the Bible than I was to grab the Bible itself. Other books were more entertaining, or easier to understand, and I justified them because they were still about God. But what I didn’t realize was that I was relying on others interpretations of Scripture for my spiritual nourishment, and because I didn’t even know the Bible myself I couldn’t discern when they were teaching me something that didn’t fully align with what the Bible teaches! And perhaps worst of all, my witness to others was hindered because my lack of familiarity with the Word meant I couldn’t think of answers to peoples questions or defend my faith on the spot.
You know those moments where you read something that you’ve read before, except this time it’s like you see it with different eyes? I had one of those pivotal moments in my walk with Jesus last year. It was as if a switch flipped in my brain overnight, and I realized that I was missing something. I was allowing myself to believe whatever I was told whether it was biblical or not, because I didn’t know God personally and trusted that anything labelled as “Christian” was indeed Christian. I was allowing myself to miss out on opportunities to share the Gospel with others, because I didn’t even know the Gospel myself.
Praise the Lord for His kindness + grace, because He opened my eyes and my mind to hunger for His Word firsthand. I have been on a journey of relearning the Bible myself, and not just relying on others to teach it to me. I never fully grasped that there is a big difference between “reading” and “studying” – studying is hard work. It is intensive labor. But it is SO VITAL. This book that I once thought could be boring has never been so alive and exciting to me. I am learning how important it is, how precious it is, and how truly blessed I am to hold it in my hands when so many around the world don’t have that privilege.
I have had such a passion for this topic in the last few months. I think that as a whole, there are a lot of people in churches out there who are starving for the Word of God, and they don’t even realize it. They think that as long as they are attending church on Sundays, maybe reading a few passages here and there, or listening to the occasional Christian podcast episode, that they’re good. But you can see that there is something missing in their lives. We love the watered down gospel where we don’t have to change anything about ourselves. We love our comfortable churches with the entertaining worship. We love Phillipians 4:13 and Jeremiah 29:11, but as soon as something in the Bible makes us uncomfortable we chalk it up to being “irrelevant to todays world”. Our faith is based on feelings and experiences more so than it is on the truth of God’s Word, and therefore it is easily swayed when the trials of life hit us.
The simple truth is that the solution to every problem we have, the answer to every longing of our hearts, lies within knowing the God of the Bible. Yet we leave it to collect dust on our shelves, and we miss just how much it truly matters.
Why is the Bible so important to our Christian lives?
The Bible is how we know who God is, for He reveals Himself to us through Scripture. (2 Timothy 3:16)
The Bible is how He speaks to us. (That also means it is complete + cannot be added to. God no longer speaks to us by any means that are extrabiblical, nor will He tell us anything that contradicts what is in the Bible.) (2 Timothy 3:16, Romans 10:17)
The Bible is where we find instruction for how to live if we call ourselves His children. (1 John 3:3-6)
The Bible is the standard to which we hold everything – like a “plumb line” that measures right from wrong.
The Bible helps us to discern against false teachings. (1 John 4:1-6)
The Bible is alive – the more we read it, the more that it is revealed to us. There is no shortage of learning to be done, it only continues to deepen. (Hebrews 4:12)
The Bible is relevant today, just as much as when it was written, because mans character has not changed. We still have the same sinful nature and are desperately in need of a Saviour.
The Bible is infallible, inerrant, complete, sufficient, and authoriative.
I have learned that if I want to know who God is, if I truly want to have a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, I need to study His Word. There is no way to avoid that fact. It is just like any relationship – it requires constant attention and effort to grow. We would research a new car extensively before buying it, why would we not spend time studying the God of the universe who desires to know each of us personally? Studying the Bible is a hard discipline to learn and one that I’m sure I will never master, but it is a beautiful gift that God has given to us, and one I am learning to never take for granted.