There is a pattern of struggle in the professing church that puzzles me: a famine of the Word. What I mean by this is that many professing believers spend little if any time reading their Bibles. It is a crazy situation when you think about it. Would we expect infants to grow, or even survive if we fed them only occasionally? What if we always gave milk, no matter how old the person was? Of course not! If the babe even survived, they would be malnourished and sickly.
The same can be said of a Christian. When one is a new believer, they begin by learning the fundamentals of the gospel. As time goes on, they learn deeper truths and begin to grow as they put into practice the truth that has been revealed to them. However, if a Christian does not regularly read the Word, or apply what it says, they do not grow. They remain immature and weak (Hebrews 5:12; 1 Corinthians 3:2).
My pastor is preaching through the book of Hebrews, and we talked about applying the truth that you already know, yesterday. This morning on Twitter, Pastor Kevin DeYoung made this observation:
Pastor DeYoung hits the nail on the head. If we profess to be new creations in Christ, born again of the Holy Spirit, and yet never consistently put forth the effort and time to study His Word, we must ask ourselves why? How can one love the Lord and not want to know more of Him? How can you love someone you know little to nothing about? When you love someone, don’t you make it a priority to spend time with them? Yes, you do.
Compounding this problem is the belief of many that the Word is not as important as experiences or feelings. Experience-based Christianity has superseded the true faith, which is based on the study and application of God’s Word. Some professing believers even doubt the veracity of the Bible; they don’t think it is without error. That is a truly absurd position, because if there is not absolute, objective truth found in the Bible, then on what are we basing our faith? How can one know for sure if they have the right God, the right doctrine and theology, the right instruction for living out their faith?
Other professing believers think the Bible is too ancient; it was for then, not now. Well, let’s see what Jesus thought about that. Please read this account from the Gospel of Luke:
13 That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17 And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. 18 Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” 19 And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. 22 Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, 23 and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.” 25 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
28 So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, 29 but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” 33 And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34 saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!”35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.
This is one of my favorite accounts in the gospels. I absolutely love that Jesus taught from the (ancient) Old Testament scriptures about Himself first, before He revealed Himself to these men! This is an important detail. Jesus obviously believed in the authority of the scriptures. He could have wowed them by simply appearing in His glorified state. Instead, He took the time to teach the Word, giving them evidence for the resurrection from the Scriptures first, rather than the experience of seeing Him with their eyes. If Jesus prioritized knowing the Scriptures over experience, even when He was physically right there, how much more should we? We have the more sure Word.
If you profess to love the Lord and belong to Him, yet never read His Word to know more of Him, examine yourself to see if you are truly in the faith. If you’ve been struggling to be consistent in your Bible study, pray and ask the Lord to give you a hunger for His Word. He delights in answering prayers in line with His will. And it is His will that His children read His Word.
Soli Deo Gloria!