Transformation Through God's Word
What is the big deal about the Bible?
- The Bible has 66 individual books. There are 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament.
- These books were written by 40 different authors from kings, to scholars, to fishermen and even a cupbearer.
- The Bible was written over a period of roughly 2,000 years.
- It was written in three different languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, and from three different continents: Africa, Asia, and Europe.
- It also contains hundreds of prophesies that have all been perfectly fulfilled in history.
Think of it this way: The Bible is 66 DIFFERENT BOOKS, yet all of them contain a unified message with no contradictions. Can you imagine going to a book store and finding 66 different books, by 40 different authors, written over a span of 2000 years, that would all contain the same theme and message and no contradictions. That would be crazy! Yet, this is the Bible!
Why Read the Bible?
It give us the right perspective: It's all about God.
The Bible begins with the eternal God creating this amazing creation, and it ends with God making all things new and restoring all things to himself. The Bible is filled with great supporting characters, but they are not the center of the story, God is (Romans 11:36). The whole Bible is about him, his son, and his plans. And the more we understand who God is, the more clearly we understand who we are, which is the next reason to read it.
It shows us who we are.
The Bible debunks the age old lie that we are all good people. None of us are good and we all deserve the just punishment of our holy God. However, the most beautiful truth of the Bible is this: "while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). The Bible brings us face to face with the reality of who we are and the incredibly wonderful news of what Jesus has done for us!
It transforms us.
God’s Word literally changes who we are. Only the Bible has the power to truly change a person because it starts from the heart and works its way out. When we try to change ourselves, we can deal with the symptoms of our problem, but we can never truly heal the root cause of our sickness: our sin. But we can't hide who we are from the truth of God's Word. It cuts through the facade we can put on and brings the truth of who we are straight to where we need it the most: our hearts, attitudes, and minds.
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. - Hebrews 4:12
And the truth sanctifies us. Basically, it makes us holy (set apart) as God's children.
They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. - John 17:16-17
It enables us to overcome sin.
When we see Jesus faced with temptations, he quickly uses the Word of God to overcome them. Why? Satan is the Father of Lies. His power is in distorting what God has said. Using the Bible, knowing it is the unchanging, true words of God, strips Satan of his power to deceive us.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God,so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. - Ephesians 6:10-17
The battles we face are spiritual ones. We must put on the armor that Lord provides and then fight back with the only weapon he gives us; "the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."
The truth of God’s Word is the only weapon we have that is powerful enough to cut down the power of Satan. We must not walk through this life of battles, leaving our swords sitting on the shelf. If that is the case, we’ve already lost the battle. We need to familiarize ourselves with our Bible (our sword) and get used to wielding its powerful truth!
It gives us the mission.
The world lives for pleasure, wealth, and temporary happiness. If we aren't reading the Bible, we can easily get caught up in living for the same things. However, God gives his children a different mission:
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” - Matthew 28:18
How do I read the Bible?
It is very easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you need to be super smart to read and understand the Bible. The only thing we require is the Holy Spirit who enables us to understand and believe it. We can and should go confidently into the Bible, asking the Holy Spirit to give us understanding and faith. Pray for God to help you understand his Word. Seek out other Christians who hold to the truth of the Bible who can help and encourage you along the way.
Ways to get started reading the Bible
- Use a Bible reading plan. We recommend Robert Murray M‘Cheyne’s reading plan.
- Read the Bible chronologically.
- Read topically:
- Pick a word or phrase that you want to know more about (e.g. strength, faith, love, promises, anger, hope).
- Use a Concordance (many Bibles have them in the back) or an online Bible search tool like BibleGateway.com and type in your topic. Print off or write a list of passages on this topic.
- Read 2-3 passages per day and focus on what God is teaching you through those passages.
- Old Testament/New Testament
- Starting at Genesis and reading all the way through the Bible can get tricky, especially with books like Numbers and Deuteronomy. Instead, try reading a short section of the Old Testament, followed by a section of the New Testament.
- Passage by passage
- Pick a Bible passage that brings you comfort or joy.
- Read it every day for one week and see if you can memorize it. Write it on an index card or post-it note and stick it places you see every day. See how much of it you can write by memory each day, without looking (including the reference).
- Look up key words from that passage to find similar passages.
- Pick one person that you want to learn about. Use a reference tool like BibleGateway.com to look up all the places the Bible mentions this person and write them down.
- Read short sections each day (a chapter or two).
- Make a list of personality traits for that character.
- What amazing gifts has God given them? How do they use them?
- If they made mistakes, what does God want me to learn from them?