How often do you read the Bible? Let me rephrase that, how often do you not only read the Bible, but how often do you study it? Study it for its truths and applications. Study it for what God will reveal to you. I’m afraid that a lot of Christians are much like I was, yes we may read our Bible from time to time, or we may not read it at all relying solely on a weekly (if that) message from a pastor. However, none of this would qualify as studying the Word. I suppose if I asked how many of you pray, the answer might be more positive. So let me ask this, how are we to talk to God, offering our prayers and petitions if we are unwilling to read His Word to find out what He has to say back to us.
For example, imagine you’re on the phone with your closest friend and the whole time you are describing your problems, asking for advice, but never stopping to listen to what your friend has to say in response. You ask, ask, ask, tell, tell, tell, but never listen. That’s a simplified description of the situation in our lives when we pray, but do not read God’s Word to hear what He is saying back to us. Sounds kind of self-absorbed doesn’t it?
In our society it seems like there is a push to make time for everything: movies, music, sports, friends, but when do you make time to study your Bible? Even some church services focus more on worship music while some pastors provide mostly anecdotal stories or a comedy routine rather than expositional preaching from the Bible. While attending a conference recently, I was disappointed by the lack of expositional preaching, in other words expounding on the meaning of a particular text or passage of scripture. After the first day, I thought since it was geared more toward the youth that perhaps the methods used of a strong emphasis on worship music, humorous stories, and relational applications to culture and society were how the speaker would appeal to the youth and bring them into the truths of the Bible. The only problem was that never happened. When a pastor or teacher, even nationally renowned speakers, dance around the Bible rather than diving into its Spirit-breathed truth it leaves a void, a hunger, even among those new or young in Christ.
Matthew 4:4 says, “Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” Jesus was quoting Deuteronomy 8:3 here in response toward the devil’s first temptation in the wilderness that He should break His fast by turning stones into bread. In Deuteronomy, this declaration serves as a reminder to the Israelites that although God provided them mammon to eat, it came from the spoken Word of God. If we were to open our eyes and view this passage in spiritual terms, rather than fleshly, we would see the context in both of these passages is for us as believers, as followers of Christ, our reliance should be solely on the Word of God. Just like we must eat to nourish our physical bodies, we must study the Bible to nourish our spiritual bodies, lest we starve to death and die.
No matter the environment, whether at church, a conference, or at your home, if there is not a strong emphasis on the Bible, a strong hunger for the Word of God, there will never be any fulfillment in your life. Once you’ve tasted Truth, nothing else will satisfy, because there is no substitute for the Word of God.
Prayer: Do you have the feeling that something is missing from your life? A large void that you attempt to fill with every fleeting thing that comes your way; the latest trends, drinking, addiction, money, your job, going from one thing to the next, but they never satisfy your hunger or quench your thirst. The problem is that each of these things are temporal, meaning they give satisfaction for a short time, but what you long for is an eternal fulfillment, one that can only be met through Jesus Christ and the truths of the Bible. Isn’t it time to turn to Jesus to fill those holes? If you’re already following Him as Savior, then pray that God restores in you a hunger for His Word.
Additional Study: John 4:5-38