Between the "already" of your conversion and the "not yet" of your final home going, few things are more important in the Christian life than a practical and functional level of biblical literacy. One of the Father's most important gifts to his children in the here and now is the gift of his Word, and we simply won't be what God has called us to be and consistently do what God has commanded us to do without an ability to draw wisdom and insight out of the pages of his amazing Book.
But I have a confession to make. It's embarrassing and humbling, but I'm willing to make it publicly: I'm not always excited about reading and studying the Bible. I know I'm not alone. For distracted sinners like us, studying the Bible can sometimes feel burdensome, difficult, confusing, and unexciting.
So today, in an effort to remind myself and you to persevere, I want to consider 7 life-giving and heart-changing blessings that only ever come from knowing God's Word. Then, I want to recommend an unbelievable resource that will open the door to a brand-new way of studying your Bible.
1. God Consciousness
Beginning with the first four words of the Bible – "In the beginning, God…" – the existence, character, and plan of God are splashed across every single page of Scripture. And since were created for him, made to love and serve him, designed to walk in close communion with him, and called to do all that we think, say, and do in reference to him, there are few things more important to us than Scripture, because that's where we find God.
Regular study of the Bible causes everything in your life and mine to be driven by God-consciousness, and consistent study of the Word of God rescues us from a God-amnesia that's a constant danger to every sinner. Without actively digging into the pages of Scripture, we're at risk of forgetting, at a practical level, that God exists.
Second only to a life-shaping knowledge of God is a heart-humbling knowledge of self. But since sin is deceitful, we all must abandon the notion that no one knows us better than we know ourselves. As long as sin remains, there will be pockets of spiritual blindness in all of us.
Knowing the blinding power of sin, God blessed us with the mirror that is his Word (James 1:22-25). Looking into it intently will give you an accurate knowledge of yourself and a clear picture of the depth of your need for the grace not only of the Word of God, but of the God of the Word.
3. Knowledge of God's Plan
It's a principle captured powerfully in our Lord's model prayer – "Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10). What's the principle? You and I were created to live for something bigger than ourselves. Because of this, God works to rescue us from the claustrophobic confines of our little kingdoms of self and deliver us to his big Kingdom of glory and grace.
But what does it practically mean to seek God's kingdom? The answer splashes across page after page of Scripture. The Bible gives us a clear picture of what it looks like to have your life shaped not by what you want, but by what God wants. Studying the Bible will paint a portrait of what it looks like to have your life shaped not by your plans for you, but by what God has planned for you.
4. Personal Transformation
If you were to ask the question, What is God doing right now in the lives of his children? you could answer the question in one word - change. Yes, the power of sin has been broken, but the presence of sin still remains, so God is working by grace to progressively transform every one of us.
I love the word picture used in Isaiah 55:13 to illustrate the transforming power of the Word of God (the thorn bush becoming a cypress tree). If rain and snow watered a little thorn bush in your backyard, you would expect a bigger thorn bush, but instead a cypress tree appears. When you allow the rain of God's Word to water your soul, you don't become a bigger rendition of what you once were, but by grace become something radically new and organically different!
5. Gospel Worldview
I don't know if you've thought about this, but you are a theologian. I don't mean an academic theologian studying biblical history and languages in seminary, but an everyday theologian. Every day, you and I interpret our experiences through the lens of theology. We make assumptions and draw conclusions about God, about ourselves, and about our world.
Dangerously, most of us make these theological conclusions on the fly, without valid biblical reasoning. And perhaps even more dangerously, we don't even know that we're making them! Once more, this is why Bible study is so wonderfully helpful. It gives us an origin-to-destiny perspective on all that was, all that is, and all that will be, so we can correctly understand our world and respond appropriately in it.
6. Street-Level Guidance
If you're like me, and I suspect you are, there's hardly a day that goes by where you don't want (and need) street-level direction for everyday living. What should I say in this conversation? How should I respond to that situation? What should I plan to do in this location? Nearly every hour is marked with moments of decision, not huge, life-changing decisions, but 10,000 little moments of decision that will shape our life and legacy.
Because we live in 10,000 little moments of decision, it's so comforting to know that God's Word operates as "a lamp to our feet and a light to our path" (Psalm 119:105). When we study the Scriptures, we're unlocking a spiritual GPS that helps us navigate our moments of decision in the conversations, situations, locations, and relationships of life.
7. Commitment to Ministry
Finally, God's Word reminds us again and again that the most important work in the universe is his work of redemption. Studying the Bible will remind us that we have not been called just to be recipients of his grace, but instruments of that same grace in the lives of others.
The Bible does more than just remind; it defines how we participate in ministry. There are many passages in Scripture – 2 Corinthians 5:20, 1 Peter 5:1-10, and 1 Corinthians 2:1-2 are just a few. The more you study the Word of God, the more you will become committed to, and skilled in, the practical ministry lifestyle to which all of us have been called.
A Resource I Recommend
These 7 blessings that we all desperately need will only ever come from the regular study of Scripture. But remember, at the beginning of this post, I said that Bible study can sometimes feel burdensome, difficult, confusing, and unexciting. That's why I'm so thankful for Logos Bible Software, and particularly excited about the release of their newest package, Logos 7.
Logos enables you to have a better Bible study. This amazing computer technology finds answers for every search, gives cultural context, connects Scripture to Scripture, and so much more. The misconception is that it's only for full-time pastors, but at my marriage and parenting conferences, I always recommend it to the "everyday people" in attendance.
If you're feeling frustrated or bored with your personal study of God's Word, you need to check out Logos 7. I will use it every time I sit down to study the Bible, and if you get it, I'm sure you will too.