Season: 8 Episode: 124
What good is the Bible for? Why do we have to read it if God knows everything and will work things out the way He wills? Shanda answers this question and tells you the top 6 things the Bible does as you read it. And if you don’t? She talks about that too.
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Hey guys! Welcome back to another episode of Her Faith Inspires podcast where we take cultural issues and align them to biblical truth. I have a great episode for you today that I know is going to encourage you, equip you and motivate you to stand firm on the truth of God’s word.
Before we do that, I want to remind you of the amazing online courses from Online Christian Courses.school.
That is where I received 4 of my certificates and have learned from Dr. Frank Turek, J. Warner Wallace, and Scott Klusendorf. My apologetics knowledge has grown exponentially from my learning through OCC and now I have the privilege of working alongside them as they educate and equip other Christians to defend the faith. Use my code SHANDA10 for 10% off of any courses … self-paced or Premium where you too can earn a certificate. Again, go to onlinechristiancourse.school for more information.
And we have a huge announcement to make: IDHEF the best selling book by Dr. Frank Turek and Dr. Norman Geisler is going to go LIVE in the fall. Frank will teach the adults and there is also a class for 6th-8th graders taught by me with LIVE zoom sessions, 12 lessons all tailored for this age group that will help young kids how to defend their faith and to know what they believe and why they believe it. This can be a premium course with me, a self-paced course of the kid to do it at their pace at home, or you can preorder the curriculum at Impact Apologetics. For 2nd-4th graders, there is actually curriculum available now at impactapologetics.com.
OK, so have you ever heard anyone say we don’t really need to read our bibles?
That God doesn’t want bible reading to become a routine, legalistic, etc? That reading our bibles can become works based and God doesn’t want us checking a box? Many a Christian has taken this advice to heart and stopped reading their bibles or placed lackadaisical emphasis on bible reading.
What’s true? Should we stop reading the Bible if it becomes routine? If it loses it’s luster and we do it to check off another task on the to-do list, do we put it back on the shelf until we feel like reading it again? That’s what we’re going to talk about today.
If you’ve listened to me long enough, you know what I think of the Bible.
I have mentioned this stat more times on this podcast in the last year than I have in my lifetime (the percentage has definitely changed in my lifetime too), but it’s worth mentioning because it brings a reality to the situation of the church or at least to those who call themselves Christians but place a very low value on God’s word. With that said, the statistic is that 65% of Americans claim to be Christian yet only 6% have a biblical worldview. That mans only 6% actually hold to the Bible and the fundamentals of Christianity. One of the criteria for having a biblical worldview (and there are several criteria ) one of the criteria is believing the Bible is inerrant. That means the Bible is without error.
Alisha Ilian discussed the reliability of the Bible in episode 123 so listen to that if you have not. We didn’t really get into the inerrancy of the Bible and I can do that in another episode for those of you who would like that. Let me know if you do. But really quick, I can tell you that the only “errors” in the Bible are spelling errors and grammatical errors but no errors that change the meaning of the text itself.
What I want to do today is talk to you about why you must read the Bible everyday.
I disagree with the whole, “The Bible shouldn’t be something you do to check off a list.” I get the point, but there are plenty of days I don’t necessarily want to read or study the bible. It is so much easier to grab a bible study book and let someone else do the heavy lifting, or let the audio roll on my Bible app and have it read to me. But .. if I make sure I eat food everyday, I make sure I read/study the Bible every day. It is part of my to-do list. And when it gets to become routine, I pray and ask God to help me love His word. Because at the core, I do. That is the reason I won’t go a day without it.
Now, with that said, AGAIN, I admit it is sometimes hard to study the Bible because I don’t always feel like it.
But I will tell you why I do it anyway. I have created a discipline of reading/studying God’s word in my life after years of going to church and being nonchalant about reading the Bible. I didn’t actually begin to read it routinely until I turned 30.
So, here is why I say YES, you should read the Bible even if it becomes a routine. In fact, it better be a routine because that is what God wants it to be.
First, when you think of the Word of God, what physical thing does the Bible equate it to? For example, one of the things the Bible equates the word to is bread. But there are more. What else would you say the Bible is equated to?
Here are a few things:
Seed (Parable of the Sower, Luke 8)
Lamp (Psalm 119:105)
Mirror (James 1:23)
Sword (Ephesians 6:17)
Bread (John 6:35)
Foundation (Matt 7:24-27)
I want to break these down in short snippets because I think we can take an entire episode for each one. But what I hope you see is how important it is for us to value time spent in the word. And not only do we have to value the time spent in the word we must handle it with care. Scripture taken out of context and misinterpreted is just as dangerous as false teachers twisting the word.
We’ll talk about that more in a bit.
For now, let’s look at each of these one by one.
So, all of these things are similes … a simile uses like or as in comparing two like things: what the word is like from things we know and see in the world. The bible often uses figurative language so that we make comparisons and understand the word better. Language is sometimes richer when we use figurative language because it brings a depth of understanding that speaking literally often does not.
For example, if I said, “You should love God’s word” you can understand that. But how about when I say, “The word of God is like a seed that takes root in your heart and produces fruit?” Which one brings more depth? That is why Jesus often spoke in parables. It kept truth seekers seeking and it kept truth deniers blind. Because if you want to know the truth, you have to reach for it. You have to desire it.
So the first simile …
The word is like a seed.
One of my favorite lessons that kind of haunts me is the one Jesus taught with the parable of the sower. He talked about the seed falling on different types of soil and equated that soil to the hearts of men.
If you’ve ever done gardening, and honestly, I haven’t done much, you know there are different types of soil. I’ve tried to shovel hard pan dirt before (believe it or not. Not sure what I was doing shoveling hard pan, but it happened at least once in my life). It’s not easy. You have to work the ground, water it, get the rocks out or you cannot plant anything.
And then there is sandy soil that is not good for planting, We used to have almond trees in California and we planted them in sandy soil and no matter what we did, the trees did not grow evenly. The soil wasn’t good and we didn’t take the time or spend the money on preparing it the way it should have been prepared.
Jesus used this point for the condition of the heart.
He made a point that there are different soils of the heart: hard, weeds and unprepared – but He said the seed fell on all types of heart conditions. I used to wonder what made the difference. Does a person with a hard heart just need to hear the word more? Does it just need time to soften by being exposed to God’s word?
The end of the parable gives us our answer. Jesus gave the warning and the reason the hearts of men were in the condition they were. It came down to how they heard the word. How you accept the word depends on how you hear the word.
Jesus said, “Be careful how you hear then.”
When we go to the word of God to read and study it, or to have it taught to us, we have to approach it with the intent of hearing from God.
So when you go to read the Bible, the responsibility we have as Christians is to be careful how we hear. That takes intentionality and diligence. I remind myself of this each had every morning when I’m listening to my bible app and my mind starts to wander. This is Jesus’ command.
The word is like a lamp.
Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path.” The word of God illuminates our decisions, our thinking, and how to navigate through a dark world. It helps us with our current situation .. a lamp for my feet, as well as future steps .. a light for my path.
The word of God gives us wisdom and the Holy Spirit brings it to our remembrance. If we don’t read the word, we don’t know where we’re going. We walk in darkness because as Psalm 119 says: it is a light for our path.
The word is like a mirror.
James 1:22-25 says, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.”
The Bible often emphasizes the fact that hearing the word is not enough. It is acting on the word and doing it that shows we are keeping the word. Here, James equates the word to a mirror. What does that mean? Just like when we look into the mirror, we see things we want to fix or change. Maybe things we don’t like. Well, the word reveals spiritual things that need to be fixed as well. And the word reveals the one who can fix them. When those things are revealed to us that is God working in our lives to reveal secrets and hidden things that only God can reveal.
That’s part of having a relationship with Him.
But when we walk away after the Holy Spirit reveals ourselves to us, it’s like walking away after seeing pepper in your teeth and doing nothing about it. Who does that? Or worse yet, if you take the time to fix the pepper in your teeth and do nothing when God reveals the spiritual things that need to be changed, what matters more? The physical or the spiritual?
James said the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres … that’s a word that shows a struggle. You only have to persevere when something is hard, right? And being under the scalpel of the Holy Spirit is hard. But as James said, he perseveres and acts and doesn’t forget what was revealed by the word, he will be blessed in what he does.
Love that simile … that the word is like a mirror.
The word is like a sword.
Ephesians 6 talks about the armor of God and part of the armor is the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God. The bible is used here as a weapon of both offense and defense. It protects and defends. It is the only weapon used to defeat the enemy and we see this all throughout the Bible. In fact, when Jesus was in the wilderness, He used the word when Satan tempted Him. Satan used the word against Jesus but deceitfully, just like he did in the garden with Adam and Eve. There is no Christian life without the word of God. Romans 10:17 tell us faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. How do we increase our faith? With the word? How do we resist the enemy? With the word. How do we stand firm when life gets tough? With the sword of the spirit.
Just apply this to practical situations in life.
What solider is going to go to war without a weapon? A stupid one. A novice soldier who doesn’t know his enemy. You, Christian, are in a spiritual battle.
I saw someone post a reel that said why are you fighting a war that Jesus already won? If Jesus won the war, there is no battle to fight. And then everyone cheers. Yay! There’s no battle. I’m sorry, what? What happened to Ephesians 6? Why did Jesus tell us that our adversary the devil comes to steal, kill and destroy? Jesus defeated the enemy. That’s true. But you are in enemy territory as long as you walk this earth and that means you must take up the sword of the Spirit because we live in a dark world. The enemy plays for keeps. Jesus defeated the enemy and that means He has given us every tool we need to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. There is no option to stay out of the battle and that means, the sword is a must.
The word is like bread.
Ok, this is another reason why I read the Bible daily. Do you go without a meal? How about a day without eating? Do you only eat on Sunday mornings? Equate the physical to the spiritual. Jesus said, “Man cannot live on bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” That’s in Matt 4:4 but it’s also in Deuteronomy. What is Jesus saying? The body is more than food. Life is more than the physical.
And just like your body needs food each day to live and thrive and have energy, your soul needs nourishment too.
Yet, so many Christians neglect the food of the soul, which is the word of God. Remember the stat: 65% of Americans claim to be Christian yet only 6% have a biblical worldview. What does that say about the value we place on reading and studying the Bible? It says we don’t place much value on it. If we did, we would see it as life and death. Jesus said man doesn’t live on bread alone.
That’s life and death.
Do we see the word of God that way? Some people only hear the word on Sunday mornings for 30-45 minutes. How would you survive with only one meal a week?
I think it’s easier when we see the simile .. the comparison of two like things … because it helps bring the depth to the message in the word. I’m not trying to be an ELA teacher, I’m trying to draw out the emphasis the Bible places on what it is to the life of the Believer.
The word is like a foundation.
When Jesus told the parable of the wise man who built his house on the rock and the foolish man who built his house on sand, He was talking about those who only hear the word compared to those who hear and apply it.
A wise woman hears the word and lives by it. A foolish woman hears and does not do. We have a lot of people who hear the word, but they do not understand it. They do not act on it.
We have the Bible at our disposal in this country … we are more blessed with access to it than many.
But is hearing it enough? Not according to this parable. We must hear and do, otherwise we are like a man who builds a house without a foundation. What happens to the house? It crumbles.
Jesus doesn’t try and sugarcoat anything here. He said both men experienced rain, storms, and the beating of their homes with the storms of life. We are all going to go through hard things. But the one whose house was built on the solid foundation – the application of the word – was the one who took the storms and still survived.
What does this show us about the Bible?
It shows us the purpose of the word of God. There is a reason we are to know it. In the OT, before the Israelites took over the promised land, God continually told them not to forget His words but to tie them as symbols on their hands and bind them on their foreheads. Why? So they wouldn’t forget them. Because when they forget the word, they forget their God.
But what does it start with? It starts with knowing your life depends on it (bread). Responding to it when it reveals your inner secrets (mirror). Building your life on it as you apply it (foundation). Remembering it during temptations and spiritual battles (sword). Trusting it will guide you (like a lamp). And every time you sit to read and study it, you know its being planted like a seed so you are careful how you hear it.
I want to wrap this up today by encouraging you to be careful who you hear the word from. Remember there are false teachers out there who will interpret the word for you. Some know they are falsely interpreting it, and some are deceived themselves. Either way, it is up to you to know the word and to be careful who you listen to.
Think of it this way; those who teach the word of God are privileged to be able to pour it into your life.
They should tremble knowing that they take God’s inspired word and share it with others. That’s a humbling task and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
If you listen to this podcast, first thank you for listening. But trust me when I tell you that I care more about what God thinks of each episode than you do. No one pays me for this. I do it because I love teaching others about God and His word. My brother asked me the other day how much I make doing this and I started laughing. I do have a day job.
That makes it easier not to care.
I will not be bought by anyone. God is my boss. I will stand before Him one day and give an account for how I represented Him and I long to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of the kingdom.” I will not deceive or twist His words to win a few more downloads.
If I make a mistake, Albert will tell me, or I will be corrected by the Holy Spirit in my studies and I will do my best to make it right with my listeners. Because again, God is my boss.
If you have a hard time reading the word and loving it, I understand.
If it is routine and a task, and you don’t want it to be, I’ve been there. But don’t stop. Be honest with God and tell Him. Ask Him for a fresh passion and love for the word. Tell others what you read. Share your knowledge and that will help ignite that flame.
But if it is a routine, I know some aren’t going to like it but it’s true … it should be! It should be just as routine as eating breakfast, lunch and dinner. As routine as brushing your teeth and checking your makeup in the mirror.
God takes care of the rest of it. Your responsibility is to:
- Be careful how you hear.
- Be diligent to nourish your soul.
- Don’t be a hearer only but a doer.
- Carry your sword (means you gotta read it)
- Respond when it corrects you.
I hope this episode encouraged you today. Don’t go a day without reading the Bible. If you are a Christian and you want to know God, pick it up. Don’t claim to know Him and not even read His word. There’s no way you can now Him unless you read it.
For questions about this and anything else I share, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll catch you on the next one.