Because the scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the uniquely inspired revelation of God and the standard of truth in all matters of faith and practice, a portion of each day should be set aside to read, study and meditate on Good’s Word. The Bible is to the Spirit what food is to the body. (Discipleship Essentials, Ogden, p. 39)
And as Jesus was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.'" And he said to him, "Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth." And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, "You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
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
A thought for today:
As we read and study scripture we come across two roads we can take. One road takes us down a path of knowledge of the facts and details of scripture. While these details are important, we are often tempted to settle with a merely factual knowledge that falls short of Paul’s view of scripture in 2 Timothy 3:16-17. Paul explains here how scripture is relevant to us. We learn from it, are convicted and corrected by it, and through dwelling in the scriptures we are gradually trained and equipped for our Christian lives. So it is vitally important that we study the scriptures and learn from them what God has to say to us. So the second road leads us to wrestle with the facts of scripture to understand what they mean for our lives. On this path we are not only observers, but we are transformed by God’s word.
We can’t and won’t be changed by scripture if we rely on our own opinions or understanding. We have to submit our study of scripture to God and rely on the Holy Spirit to illuminate our hearts and minds to what God is saying in his word. The young man in Mark 10 comes up against this when he encounters Jesus. He has a factual knowledge of the law, and even follows it to a large extent, but he uses the law as a means of his own achievement. So when Jesus challenged him to give up the life he had earned for himself, he faltered. In approaching the law to achieve what he wanted he missed the messiah who was standing right in front of him.
So this Lent, how will you encounter God’s word? One way to practice submission to God’s word is to practice inductive Bible study. Start with scripture, making observations first trying to understand what a text says in its context. Then try to better understand from those observations what the text means. Finally, recognize what you must do in response to the truth you have learned, and commit to follow it in our lives. This practice requires attention and effort, but by starting here we learn to submit our opinions and desires to God’s word.
by Christopher Marsh
Questions to prayerfully ponder and challenge us in this devotional.
- The Bible uses the word “know” in different contexts. To Know intellectually, is to understand the concept of knowing, to know experientially is to experience the intimacy of knowing (especially God). The young man who approached Jesus knew God’s word the law, intellectually and outwardly, yet he balked at the opportunity to be with Jesus, follow Jesus and come to know God intimately. He wanted the benefits of inheriting eternal life, but not challenge of intimacy, and sacrifice that Jesus put before him. How could he “know” God’s Word, and not want what Jesus wanted for him?
- Psalm 1 indicates that the word of God is a place to connect with Him, and the transformative effect it has upon us. Reflect on this and consider sharing how the word of God effect your relationship with Him, and your relationships with other people. How does it make a difference in your life?