The Basics Of Faithful Bible Reading Part 1: Vitality To Life C. Ross Duncan
Welcome to installment 1 of 4 in this series on The Basics Of Faithful Bible Reading. In this article, I desire to help us grasp a practical understanding of why daily Bible reading is vital for those who have placed their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior.
As believers, we hold fast to our affirmation that the Bible is the most vital component of our eternal inheritance. We also understand that it is the source by which we grow in our walk with Christ. We also affirm that the entire Bible (Old and New Testaments) is the inerrant Word of God and the foundation for our beliefs, the rationale for life, godliness, and our freedom in Christ. But, one thing we must recognize is that we do not arrive at these descriptions of the Bible outside of a Biblical understanding and worldview.
To have the wisdom to understand, we must know that this comes from Scripture alone.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV)
Do we put this verse into action? I would predict that most believers would probably answer, “not as often as we should.” We are busy people who get caught up in thinking about our day’s problems without first taking it to Christ, who is the Comforter for our daily problems in this life. May I submit that it seems we as Christians can share our faith with a rightful desire to see people saved. Yet, often we forget to deem vital our personal communion with the Lord through His Word written for our own instruction. At times, we can unintentionally become more concerned with another person’s heart condition and their immediate emotional response rather than the condition of our own heart before a Holy God.
It may seem to be a critical stretch too far to grapple with, which is not intended but should be unsettling. Although a temporary weight, this is indeed a type of thinking that can quickly lead to deception and possible destruction in our relationship with Christ if we are not careful. We are simply incapable of pleasing God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ without, in humility, seeking first the Kingdom to fulfill this most vital task given as a gift nonetheless, to believers. May we be encouraged in Christ to realize that our sanctification and holiness go hand in hand with our desires to share our faith and is of utmost importance to “practice what we preach.”
“You should not believe your feelings more than the Word which the Lord preaches to you” -Martin Luther.
I believe that having thoughts about who we become in Christ before we acknowledge Him as the Sustainer of life Who is deserving of worship, adoration, and honor, will more than likely let us down because we have forgotten our first love. Believers, that is, have lefttheir first love! What a shameful thought that should lead us to repentance!
We must remember that an essential attribute of the Lord and His goodness, is that He chastises those He loves.
And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by Him. For the Lord disciplines the one He loves and chastises every son whom He receives." (Hebrews 12:5-6 ESV)
For our good, and His glory!
Any motive to be complacent in our Bible reading, or to make unintentional excuses that we think may bring validation as justifications for our ignorant reasonings should be immediately eradicated when we see the stark reality of James 4:17, which says, “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for Him it is sin.”
Faith in Christ is to be understood as the faith that is proven by the good works that attribute directly to it but also flow directly from it. Faithfulness is displayed Biblically by the man who is faithful in all he does as unto the Lord. It is the heart genuinely bent towards honoring Christ as its Lord that absorbs and comprehends the vitality of daily Bible reading. The faith by which we claim to walk with the Lord is a direct result of a believer’s growth in Christ and the Bible. We cannot walk by faith without first possessing the life of faith by which this walk is initiated and proven. The law, although not deemed unnecessary, was eradicated under faith. Therefore, the law must submit to faith and not visa-versa. The walk of faith is the work in the life lived by faith in its Lord.
To put this into context, let’s look at a few verses from James and Romans.
So also faith by itself, if it does not have works is dead. (James 2:17 ESV)
You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. (James 2:24 ESV)
For by works of the law no human being will be justified in His sight, since though the law comes knowledge of sin. (Romans 3:20 ESV)
For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. (Romans 3:28 ESV)
What should these verses tell us about faith and the works done that represent it? They are not separate and should never be thought of as such. Faith -not accompanied by works is dead just as works alone accomplishes nothing. We are to foster the Biblical interpretation of this Scripture. It is faith-based work, not work-based faith! Our faithfulness to the Lord is never without its companion- good works.
Christian, stay the course! Without a daily submission to the Bible, its vitality to life may become an object in a position other than it deserves. May we be just as diligent in the daily reading of the Bible as we are in the declaration of how much we love the God of the Bible.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit you are not under the law. (Galatians 5:16-18 ESV)
And let us not grow weary in doing good for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9 ESV)
I have attributed much of the vitality of daily bible reading to James 2:14-26 on faith and works. Although there are many attributes within the vitality of Bible reading and its value of daily intake, my intentions are those of a more practical approach in hopes that all ages and education levels may have a clear understanding of the call to action in this much-needed endeavor in their life as a believer.
As this first installment comes to a close, let’s ponder a few questions and thoughts that will hopefully clarify any questions regarding my choice of this particular passage concerning daily Bible reading and its vitality.
If our faith in Christ produces in us works pleasing to God, and that work is the Gospel proclaimed to our neighbors and the nations, how much more should the Bible, God’s inerrant Word, be the epitome of our reverence and adoration to Him? For without even a practical grasp of the Gospel, wouldn’t our claim be redundant in the face of those who despise God? This can bring to light even more so the sin we incur by not doing that which we know to do!
The preacher who is heard faithfully preaching the Bible does his duty of making disciples when he is faithful to the text preached. Eyes are then able to be opened to see and ears made to hear the glorious news of salvation in Christ and His love for the sinner!
For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How then will they call on Him in Whom they have not believed? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? (Romans 10:13-14 ESV)
May we all be diligent in our responsibility of making disciples by knowing and sharing the good news of the Bible- the believers’ most vital and valuable possession!