The Basics Of Faithful Bible Reading Part 2: Value For Life C. Ross Duncan
Welcome to installment 2 of The Basics of Faithful Bible Reading. This article will discuss what I think will be one of the most important topics of the blogs I will be writing on this subject. When I hear the word value concerning the Bible, I cannot help but think of the Bible alone as the most essential resource a believer will ever possess. Indeed without it, we can never understand what Christianity even is, much less its value or its value for us.
Before I get into this topic on value and the how and why, when it comes to Bible reading, let me mention that there is indeed a universal value we must not miss. This value means that all human beings ever created, yes, even Hitler, are recipients of it without any input of consciousness or individual decision. This sign alone is the fingerprint of God upon His most valued creation-mankind. It is that we are all made in the Imago Dei; The image of God. That we are a product of God, let alone the most valuable to Him, is the very essence of our unhindered value as humans.
Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:26-27 ESV)
Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image. (Genesis 9:6 ESV)
Many rich doctrines of the Bible could help us understand why the Bible alone is valuable and its value for the Christian life. For the sake of length and your time in the Bible, I will not give a break down on these values here. Still, I will list a few along with Bible passages that I encourage you to look up and read on your own, which is my intention behind this series encapsulating a “back to the basics” approach to the importance of daily Bible reading by the believer! A few of these doctrines from Scripture that helps us see the value we have as believers are:
The pursuit of knowing God will be a lifelong journey of casting off our understanding and submitting to that which God would have us to know about Himself. Often, we can come to the Bible with preconceived notions of how it should make us feel for the rest of the day. Although daily Bible reading is vital for believers, we sometimes expect, but do not always get that “nugget of the day” we hoped to find, put in our pocket, and have with us to refer to at any given moment we may need it.
We can think things such as, “if I just have something to remember from my morning devotion time, then I can look at the day with surety that I will get through it no matter what comes my way!” This approach isn’t always a negative thought, but I would submit that it isn’t a very healthy thought on how we come to understand why the Bible should be a daily part of our lives as believers in the pursuit of godly living. As believers, we must remember that the Bible is Truth that brings new mercies every morning and lasts longer than today, and will be new again tomorrow! It is forever the same and never-ending!!
As I mentioned in earlier blogs, I desire this series to provide practical advice that can help us grow in our relationship with Christ by reading our Bible as we should be- daily. Believer, how are we to know anything of God-honoring value if we are not careful in handling the Word He gives us for our daily lives? For if we are not digesting the pages of Scripture daily, then something else has taken the place of the One who is to be our first love.
One of the most important things I believe a Christian deems valuable to know is how God has revealed Himself to us. He has done this in a way that He alone could have orchestrated, commanded, and allowed. The Bible tells us that men spoke from God, who were carried along by the Holy Spirit, to write His Word. Although there are many, we can know this in just these three verses alone:
Who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. (1 Peter 1:21 ESV)
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets. (Hebrews 1:1 ESV)
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16 ESV)
Slowly, God has revealed Himself over time so that we will know Him as He is, and the value of His nature. We get to spend the rest of our lives getting to know our great God! Oh, the fountain of value that we should treasure!!
God desires a perfect relationship with His people. God, of course, could, at any moment, make everything perfect just the way He wants it. But, what tenderness and love come from a Father who is patient with His children, giving such grace so that we may mature in Him and see His great love for us in this way! He desires that we know Him, not just know of Him.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us. (Ephesians 2:4 ESV)
From a Holy God, that is of much value to consider, Christian. Unlike created humanity in their fallenness towards each other, God, in His great love for His Bride, the Church, has approached us in His perfection through Christ His Son so that we may know Him as the God-man, Christ Jesus.
The child of God can look back and see how gracious, merciful, and patient God has been in His steadfast love for them. We dare speak of God’s slowness as if it is like the slowness of man towards repentance! It is we who are slow in our response! The slowness of God is only that of His patience towards us.
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. (2 Peter 3:9 ESV)
As we recognize more the value of Christ, there develops a more profound desire to know Him. The more we see Christ for Who He is, the more we see His blessing upon us as Children of God. If we are to love God, we must love His Word. An unconventional approach to the Bible is initiated by a regenerated heart that desires to know its Creator.
Now that I have given us some insight into the Bible's value for life, let’s look at Psalm 19:7-9.
The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. (Psalm 19:7-9 ESV)
I chose this passage for our context because I see it answer two frequently asked questions regarding the Bible and the believer. Here we will see a parallel of six characteristics of the LORD and their benefits for the believer. As you read the layout of this passage, you will go back and forth between the questions to see its cause and effect from the Bible to the believer and will hopefully gain insight on the concept of the value it portrays.
1. How is the Bible alone valuable?
The Bible is God’s Word, and that alone makes it perfect, which gives it the essence of incomprehensible and incomparable value.
“The law of the LORD is perfect..” (vs. 7a) “the testimony of the LORD is sure..”(vs. 7b)
“The precepts of the LORD are right..” (vs. 8a) “The commandment of the LORD is pure..”(vs. 8b)
“The fear of the LORD is clean..” (vs. 9a) The rules of the LORD are true..”(vs. 9b)
2. Why is the Bible valuable for the believer? That which gives great value must itself display a still more significant amount. Light always overcomes darkness.
“..reviving the soul.” (vs. 7a) “..making wise the simple.” (vs. 7b)
“..rejoicing the heart.” (vs. 8a) “..enlightening the eyes.” (vs. 8b)
I could say that Psalm 19:7-9 is to be a special revelation that reiterates the value of the character of God through the decrees of God, for the Child of God. It pictures for us a glorious transaction that transfers from God to our account as believers in His Son. As we read these verses, it is revealing what the Word of God does for the Christian. Essentially, it is showing us what had already taken place before we ever understood it, or were even born for that matter!
In the sense of salvation now, we can, by this passage, grasp that God saved us before we ever knew Him! We were valuable to God before He was valuable to us! While we were sinners, Christ died for us!
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8 ESV)
When God saved us, He opened our eyes. He transferred us from the darkness to the light, and we immediately realized that amidst all that we sought after to find lasting value, it is suddenly like dung compared to the value we come to know that is Christ and Him crucified in our place. We can therefore say with Paul in Philippians 3:7, “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.” (ESV)
The Word of God is the only valuable resource for life and godliness of the believer. We are encouraged to spend our days in the joy we have because of Christ. We often live with anxious hearts and racing minds, but the Lord tells us that in weakness, He is our strength.
For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10 ESV)
Based on Scripture alone, we have no excuse.
The last sentence of Matthew 6:26 askes us, “Are you not of more value than they?” Who or what are the “they” here? They are the creatures God provides for that are not even made in His image. Birds, lilies, the grass of the field, as the passage goes on to say!
All humanity that has ever been and that ever will be created is created in the image of God. The value we place on the beauty of things around us doesn’t compare to our value to God. How much more then, as God's chosenpeople redeemed from the fall, should honor our great God in thanksgiving and rejoicing because of who we are in Him!
Ultimately, we see that the Decree or Word of God is divine by proving God’s righteous character, and bringing great value to all who love God and find their rest in Him!
Believer, remain in Him. The Bible contains this value we rejoice in. It is the Word of God written for us! Treasure it with all your heart! Bible reading is the believers’ worshipful duty!
So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. (James 4:17 ESV)
C. Ross Duncan
C. Ross Duncan lives in Maryville, Tennessee with his wife Meghan and their 3 boys. Ross loves to write and study the Bible and works at a local church in his town. By His Grace is honored to provide this platform for Ross to grow in his writing on biblical and theological matters.