It’s easy to coast, isn’t it? We get that ten minute devotional done, hope that whatever we read sticks with us, and out the door we go.
But is that being a disciple? Is that following Jesus with all our heart, soul, and mind? Is that making Christ all that he is meant to be?
No, it isn’t.
It’s true that not all Christians are disciples of Jesus Christ. I want to be a disciple. Being a disciple of Jesus Christ cannot happen apart from spending quality time in the Word of God. Knowing and walking with Jesus begins with understanding His Word.
The Importance of Scripture
Jesus mentions the importance of his Word in Scripture multiple times:
His Word teaches us to obey.
In John 14, Jesus said that if a man loves him, he’ll obey his Word.
…Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him…
His Word grows us as we obey.
In Luke 8, His Word is compared to a seed and our hearts, the ground.
..But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience…
His Word keeps our hearts clean.
In John 15, Jesus said we are clean through the Word. This goes along with the verse in Psalms that says, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”
…Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing…
His Word reminds us of where we belong.
In Philippians 3, Paul says that our citizenship is in heaven. The word “conversation” in verse twenty means citizenship. We belong to a country that is coming. This gives us hope! He will change our sin filled bodies to be like his glorious body. How incredible and beautiful it is to know that this world is not our home.
…For our conversation [citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
Do you notice how important the Word is? The Bible also mentions that His Word is our light, that it is profitable for reproof (showing us our sin), doctrine (right teaching), correction (showing us where we are wrong), and instruction for living a righteous life.
Studying means laboring.
Then why aren’t we reading it? We see the importance of God’s Word, but when was the last time we spent diligent effort to study it? Why do we stop with those 10 minute devotionals and call it good? While there is nothing wrong with doing 10 minute devotional books, they do not require much effort on our part? Where is our labor?
Discipleship is more than 10 minute devotional times. Discipleship is costly. In a world that continually preaches self love, I think we’ve lost our love for Jesus. When was the last time you studied a book of the Bible? When was the last time you went face to face with something you didn’t understand in Scripture? I know that until recently, I never noticed that the word Disciple is similar to the word Discipline. Why don’t we discipline ourselves to do the hard thing?
Why do we study the Bible?
America has a history of being founded on “christian” values , but America does not understand what the Bible actually says. Christians are to blame. Many people in church leadership have watered down scripture saying things that make people feel good instead of speaking the truth in love. This is wrong. But the the individual Christian doesn’t recognize the truth because they have failed to study and know the Word.
We need to recognize error and false teaching.
Did you know it’s possible for a pastor to be wrong? This is not disrespectful. It’s simply true. Did you know that the people you follow on Instagram may take verses out of context? For us to blindly follow someone because of their popularity or personality is stupid. Christians today need to stop blindly following others and start seeking the Lord through his Word.
Our lives ought to be solely based on the Word of God, not on the cultural influences around us. The Bible shows us how to live in our culture; but we have allowed culture to define how we interpret the Bible. Culture has redefined words like justice, love, and truth. These are not relative terms. God defines each of these words in the Bible. But if we allow culture to define these words, then the culture becomes our filter for interpreting Scripture. But the opposite should be true. We ought to interpret our culture through the filter of the word.
Unless we take ownership, unless we labor to know what the Word teaches, how will we recognize lies? In order to recognize error and false teaching, we must study and know what is true. Studying God’s word in an attitude of humility keeps us from falling into error.
Knowing God’s Word is a disciple’s responsibility.
Studying God’s word helps us better know the Savior-Jesus Christ. Knowing him is what life is all about. But we can’t pick and choose what we know about God. It’s our responsibility as disciples of Jesus Christ to know the entire Word of God, so we can know Jesus as He is and not how we perceive him to be.
How do you begin studying the Bible?
But where does a person begin? How do you study the Bible? I recommend reading the book, “Women of the Word” by Jen Wilkin. She goes through a very thorough step by step process of how to study God’s Word. It’s a great place to begin if you are feeling unsure about how to study God’s Word. I’ve made a sheet that will walk you through the steps that she talks about in the book.
Ways Jen Wilkin’s book, Women of the Word, has helped me in studying the Bible.
This book has changed how I approach Scripture. I’ve learned that studying the Word means hard work. Sometimes it means walking away from the Bible and having more questions than answers. But always, it points to Jesus. His Word continually directs me to the truth that we are sinners just like Adam and Eve in the garden. And in that while we were yet sinners, He sent his Son to die the death that was meant for us. He spent his life on us. He died and was buried and he rose again. And one day he will restore us to what we were created to be.
From her book, I’ve been encouraged to think of the Bible as a book about God and not about me. I’ve been challenged to use my mind and not my feelings. Feelings are not wrong in and of themselves, but we cannot live based on how we feel. ( I’m sorry folks, but Disney’s Follow Your Heart motto is not from the Bible.)
Challenge: Study the Bible for yourself.
I’d love to challenge you to get into the Word for yourself. The Bible says that when we draw near to God, he will draw near to us. That’s a promise. Thankfully, God always keeps his promises.
There are so many other great resources for studying God’s Word. If you have found a resource that has encouraged you, please let me know in the comments below.