I just finished reading Lane and Tripp’s book, Relationships: A Mess Worth Making. It is a wonderful book. Please, do your family and church and society a favor and read this book!Towards the end of the book, in an exhortation to move out of our worldly thinking about how we think about the world and our relationships, the authors encourage us to consider the means by which God has given us to expand our “imaginations” as to how, and the extent to which, we should live. One of those means is Bible study:
Bible study and personal reading fall flat when we miss what Bible study and reading are meant to do. They are intended to be a means, not and end. The purpose of Bible study is to give me a vision of the God who is my Savior and with whom I am in relationship. Bible study is intended to stimulate worship, but so often it is focused on theology and rules.
How many of wake up in the morning with the sole purpose of checking off a box on our mental to-do list, whether it be for the purpose of fulfilling a commitment you made to yourself on New Years, or having the sinful desire to try to earn God’s love by your meager attempt to bend His eye by your own merit (you can never do this! – for this reason the Savior came!), or even if you have a good intention, such as knowing the Scriptures better?If these impetuses describe you, then please consider why it is we were given the Scriptures: “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 competent, equipped for every good work” – 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (esv). Please understand that I’m not saying that learning about the content of the Bible is wrong or even unhelpful. But that must not be your primary pursuit. The content of the Bible tells a seamless story of incomparable love, deathly sin, and divine redemption…a story that you have lived if you are a believer, and one that you must experience and take upon yourself if you do not already. These Scriptures are the very breath of God. They are helpful for telling us how to live righteous, fully equipped lives. But more than that, do realize that you are meeting with God when you read these words. They are His words. They are what He has sovereignly purposed you to read this day. So, as you read them, know that He, through His Spirit, is speaking directly to you and your circumstances. Breath in what He has breathed out. Take in what He has given to you for your good and the good of His Kingdom. As Lane and Tripp said, “Bible study is intended to stimulate worship…” Do take your next opportunity to gain knowledge about God and His ways, but don’t stop there. Go further than knowledge, and encounter God as a sinful, humble creature in need of His redemption at this very moment. Fulfill your chief end by “glorifying and enjoying Him forever,” even in your daily Bible study.