This week we wrap up our study of Dr George Guthrie’s Read the Bible for Life (published by LifeWay). Over the pervious eight weeks we looked at the various sections of the Old Testament and the New Testament. Each is unique in the genres and the stories and theology they have to offer us. Even with their differences they all have three unifying traits.
The first trait is Who the main character is–God the Creator and Sustainer.
The second is Why the Bible was written–God reaching out to His people.
The third is What the “Big Picture” is–God’s redemptive story from Creation to Re-Creation.
Now that we have looked into the importance and uniqueness of each major section of God’s Holy Word, we need to ask ourselves: What are we going to do about it?
Dr Guthrie, who I had the privilege to meet back in May 2015, says we need to go from being hearers of the Word to doers of the Word. “But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22, HCSB). This a common remark from many Bible scholars and professors who are truly walking the talk.
When we hear or read the Word we have two options; we can ignore it or live it out. When we ignore the Bible, esencially we are telling God “Get lost!” But when we live it out we are hand over the reins of our lives to God’s control. I pray we all will go deeper into God’ Holy Word and allow Him to come and teach us to live it out.
Dr Guthrie gives three main areas that we need to apply the Word: personal, family and church.
Scheduling a proper time for personal and family Bible reading is important to learning God’s Word. At home, where “real life” happens, is where our understanding and obedience really get tested. When we have person in the Scriptures we can find it easier to have family time in reading the Bible.
Family is important. Intentional discipling our children is far more effective than assuming it will happen naturally. If we desire for the next generation to believe in Jesus Christ and God, we need to be teaching by example them at home. The church can teach them the stories and theology, but parents or guardians are the ones who walk with their children daily. And daily life is far more effective than weekly.
“Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9, HCSB).
“Encounter the Bible as a part of church.” Church is a time and place for us to receive the Word, participate in community and encourage our fellow Christians.
All there areas of our Christian life are interconnected. Personal Bible reading helps family devotions. Family devotions builds upon church sermons or Sunday school lessons.
We all have our strengths and weaknesses when it comes to reading the Bible and other aspects of our Christian life. When you begin to regularly read God’s Holy Word, which area (personal, family or church) are you wanting to strengthen? Which area can you use to encourage others in your family, church or community?
God has given us His Word to speak to us. From ancient times His message has always been the same. “God is love” (see 1 John 4), and God is just (see Psalm 45:6). Redemption through Christ Jesus is the ultimate act of justice and love, mercy and grace. How they work together we will find out when we read “God’s Holy Word” and commentaries on the Bible.