As Christians, we understand and believe that the Bible is important. The Bible is scripture, it is God’s word to man, and it is central to the understanding of our faith and our relationship to God. The Bible offers us comfort and encouragement; it give us assurance and guidance; and it provides us with discipline, admonishment, and conviction. It is through Scripture that God reveals himself and his character to the world, and speaks into our lives.
The apostle Paul writes that:
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for instruction, for conviction, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, fully equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
The Bible is an important book, dealing with all the major issues we face in our lives: God, eternal life, death, love, sin, relationships, morality and ethics, etc. The Bible lifts our spirits, build us up, gives us hope, and brings us close to God. Knowing God’s Word is one of the primary ways that we grow in our knowledge of who God is. As Christians we are followers of Christ, the adopted children of God – we should desire to know God, and do so to the best of our abilities.
As believers, we recognize on an intellectual level that knowing God and knowing God’s Word go hand-in-hand. However, as important as the Bible is to our discipleship to Christ, we often do not know how to approach reading the bible, let alone how to study it. The bible is intimidating. It is an ancient book, written over the course of 1600 years in different countries, cultures, and languages with over 40 different authors contributing to its 66 books. The Bible is a book, but it is also an entire library. It can be hard to read, and sometimes even harder to understand.
In general, as Americans we do not read much of anything anymore. An article posted by Christianity Today revealed that for nearly 1 in 4 of us it had been over a year since we last read a book, any book. Let alone a collection of ancient religious writings. Study after study in the last quarter-century has shown us that American Christians increasingly do not read, engage, or even know their Bibles. We live in a world of increasing biblical illiteracy. A recent LifeWay Research study found that only 11% of regular church attending believers read the bible every day, and only 3% study it.
If we, as Christians, claim that the Bible is central to our relationship with God then our actions must line up with those assertions. We need to be spending time (on a daily basis) with God, His people, and His Word. If we claim to follow Jesus then we must follow him every day of every week and every hour of every day. I believe that learning how to study Scripture is a key step in furthering our spiritual maturity and deepening our relationships with both Christ and His Church.
When the Pharisees asked Jesus what the greatest commandment in the Law was, Jesus answered:
“’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40
Learning how to study God’s Word is one way that we can Love God with our minds. Starting March 10th we will be offering a free 8-week class called “Grasping God’s Word.” Throughout those 8 weeks we will be looking at how to read, interpret, and apply the Bible. You can think of it as a crash course in Biblical Studies. It is my belief that as a Christian I am to be continuously seeking to grow in faith and maturity, and allow the Holy Spirit to shape me into the image of Christ daily.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2
So, if you’re ready to challenge your mind and learn how to dig deeper into God’s Word I encourage you to sign up for our “Grasping God’s Word” class. I firmly believe that the entirety of Scripture holds value for all believers. Loving God with all your heart, soul, and mind does not require a degree from a Bible college or a seminary, but it does require our readiness to live our entire lives for Christ and to open ourselves up to be stretched and refined by the Holy Spirit. We do not have to know everything, that is impossible for all but God, but we do need to be willing to learn. To sign up for the class, email Rachel Johnson at [email protected].