So, we are picking up from where we left off on Part 1.
Taking an excerpt from my online course Learning the Bible 101: Benefits, Methods & Hindrances, we have been diving into the importance of reading the bible.
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Let's jump right in and look at the other 5 key benefits that result when you make time to read God's Word.
#6 - Endurance and Strength in Trials
Trials and tribulations. You know those difficult times. When you feel like you can’t go on. You can't face another day. Or maybe you are ready to officially throw in the towel and call it quits.
Then, God’s Word reminds you of your purpose and strength that is found in Him. And He gives you endurance to push through.
Let's look at a few key verses:
Psalms 119:71 (NIV): "It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.”
Psalms 119:92 (NIV): “If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.”
Psalms 119:143 (NIV): “Trouble and distress have come upon me, but your commands give me delight.”
Reading God's Word gives us encouragement, strength and motivation when nothing else can. You can even tell God that you feel like you are at your wit’s end, and that you need strength from His word to go on:
We are also reminded to read the bible so that we can encourage others who are going through hard times:
I Thessalonians 4:18 (NIV): "Therefore, encourage one another with these words."
The importance of reading the bible is not only for our benefit in times of trials, but also for the benefit of those around us. God can use us to uplift others simply by sharing His Word with them.
#7 - Blessings and Success
Now this is the benefit that most people want, but without having to do what is required to have it.
Luke 11:28 (NIV): "But He said, “On the contrary, blessed (happy, favored by God) are those who hear the word of God and continually observe it."
Psalm 119:2 (NIV) "Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart."
There are blessings we get by mere association as believers, simply because we belong to God and have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior. However, there are additional blessings that we receive when we read and obey God's Word.
Looking for a breakthrough? Feel like you have hit a plateau in your walk with God? Have some unanswered prayers? Looking for God to move in certain areas of your life?
Spend more time reading the bible! Work on those areas where you may not be putting into practice what you’ve been reading. And then watch God start to bless you on a whole new level!
Joshua 1:7 goes even further to say....
I’ve often taught based on scripture that the one short cut to blessings and success is obedience. Reading the bible is one thing. But, start obeying God in different areas of your life. Then watch blessings and success become your new reality in ways you’ve never known.
That is the power of the word of God! That is what the word of God does in our lives, if we allow it to.
SIDE NOTE: blessings and success isn't always referring to material possessions.
The bible tells us in I Samuel 15:22:
"To obey is better than sacrifice."
God is less concerned about the fact that you did a good deed, but more concerned about whether or not you are living in obedience to His Word.
Our level of obedience typically parallels the level of importance of the bible in our lives. And therefore, our level of blessings and success.
#8 - Discernment of Truth
This is a very important benefit that most people aren’t even aware of and sometimes overlook.
John 17:17 (NIV) says: "Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth."
There are so many religions, doctrines, and false teachings today. Even when you narrow it down to just Christianity, there are many contradictory 'truths' being taught nationwide.
One preacher says this and another says that. So how do we as individual Christians discern truth from untruth? By reading and learning the bible for ourselves, so that we know truth when we hear it. That will help us to easily identify a lie or false teaching.
Jesus said plainly in John 8:31-32 (NIV):
"If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
By reading the bible, we will arm ourselves with truth. Knowing the truths of God’s Word will set us free from any former false teachings, beliefs, religious notions, or traditions that we have previously had, or may currently be being taught in our local church or assembly.
We will never be able to discern truth without first knowing what the bible (the truth) actually says.
Lets look at some more verses.
dPaul told the first century believers in Acts 20:29-31 (NIV):
"I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard!"
John also warned believers:
False Teachings vs. False Teachers
NOTE: "false teachings" don’t ALWAYS come from “false teachers”.
Sometimes true Christians can simply be in error due to a lack of understanding or knowledge about a particular passage of scripture. This is all the more reason why we should learn God’s Word, so that we can tell the difference.
No matter how long you have been going to a church, or how familiar you are with the pastor, you should never just accept a message as it is. You should listen, take notes, and then go home and look at it on your own to see if in fact it is in alignment with what God is actually saying in His Word.
I Tim. 4:1 takes it a step further:
"The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons."
We must spend as much time reading and learning the bible as possible, so that we can guard our minds against the false and deceptive teachings of the world.
Many people will quote the bible as a means to further their own hidden agendas. And some even to bully Christians into supporting their cause.
Either way, as Christians, we MUST be aware at all times! Again, this is all the more reason why we should not negate the importance of reading the bible.
#9 - It Keeps Us From Sin
Another one of the key benefits and uses of the bible is that it keeps us from sin.
Psalm 119:9 (NIV) says: "How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word.”
If you ever thought that by simply becoming a Christian you would automatically stop sinning, you are sadly mistaken. The Bible teaches that the only way to not live in sin is to spend time reading God's Word.
First and foremost, the Bible is what defines sin and helps us to identify it. Even in its most subtle forms. If we don’t know what sin is, how will we know what not to do in our walk with God?
Yea, most of them are obvious, such as lying, cheating, stealing, adultery, murder, etc. But what about envy, pride, selfishness and hatred? It's those subtle sins that we forget about, that we need to work on!
The bible will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from the bible. #importanceofGodsWord #timewithGod #thebible
The more time we spend in his Word, the more of His Word we hide in our heart. Then when temptation to sin arises we have more ammunition to overcome temptation.
So if you want to stay away from sin, kick some bad habits, or bad attitudes and emotions that keep flaring up, then spend more time reading and learning the bible and watch God make some changes!
This is another clear demonstration of the power of the word of God in our lives.
#10 - It Helps Us Fight Spiritual Battles
You may have heard the phrase, “put on the full armor of God”. But what does that mean exactly? Are we literally dressing up as knight or soldier of war to fight against the devil?
Well let’s start by taking a look at the passage that phrase comes from.
The Armor of God
Ephesians 6:10-17 (NIV): "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 of 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.”
So let me make a few key points here:
- Paul says be strong in the Lord. So step one is to realize that our spiritual strength comes from God.
- We must put on the full armor (every component) in order to be able to take a stand. Without it we don’t stand a chance.
- We must realize that our battle is against spiritual enemies, and therefore, requires spiritual weapons to fight with.
I could do a week long study on each piece of armor. However, since we are talking specifically about the word of God, I will focus on that.
I want to first point out how all pieces of the armor of God are mainly protective gear or defensive weapons if you will. So that upon attack we can defend ourselves against any spiritual blow of the enemy.
However, notice how the bible describes the word of God as the sword of the spirit. I love this imagery, because out of all the armor, this sword is our one offensive weapon that we can use to go on the attack!
Using the Bible to Fight
So I know you’re saying 'ok, spiritual battle, spiritual weapons, but what does that look like in reality and how do we use the bible to actually fight?'
Well for starters, we must realize that things like hatred, racism, violence, murder, fornication, adultery, jealousy, pride, selfishness, and any other thing you can name that doesn't stem from God, all have their roots in spiritual darkness and stem from Satan.
So we are not fighting against that man, woman, teacher, boss, neighbor, sister, ex-lover, child, or parent that you think is ruining your life or making you miserable. But, we are fighting against the demonic forces behind their words, thoughts, behavior and actions.
II Corinthians 10:3-4 (NIV) says: "For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds."
Many times, the situations, people, and circumstances we face will have no physical solution. It is during those times that we must battle it out in the spiritual realm. By holding on to our faith, by maintaining a godly attitude, or by not reacting in anger or violence, even if the situation tempts us to.
We must stand on the truth of God's Word and most importantly, speak the Word in prayer and trust God to work on our behalf to resolve the situation.
As Christians we have God and His Word at our disposal and should not handle life’s issues as a non-Christian would. He’s given us too much access to Himself and too much authority and power in His Word, for us to walk around defeated.
Real Life Translation and Application
Those times when we are physically run down and weak. Where it would be so much easier to take a short cut, to cheat, to steal, to tell a little lie, to hide something from our spouse, or 'borrow' money from the offering basket.
Whatever the temptation may be, remember the enemy knows our individual weaknesses, preys on them, and will seek to tempt us by using our circumstances against us.
The devil will promise us temporary pleasure to resolve our current pain. And He will sometimes even use Scripture to back up our reasoning for doing what we’re doing.
However, as believers, we MUST learn to recognize the tricks and temptations of the enemy and learn how to use God’s Word against Him, so that we pass the tests when they come. Because believe me, they will come. The bible guarantees it. The question is will we be ready when they do?
We must speak the Word of God, and in order to speak it we must first read and learn it! Otherwise there are many spiritual battles that we will lose.
These Benefits are Guaranteed!
If you are still reading and have stuck it out over the course of this two part post, first of all congratulations!
Truly enjoying life on a consistent basis, as a Christian, MUST include a change in our attitude about the bible. We cannot neglect God’s Word and expect Him to bless us with everything we want out of life.
I promise that the moment you begin to embrace His Word for what it truly is, not only will God begin to change your perspective on life, but He will begin to bless you in ways you weren’t even thinking about before.
And by the way, I only guarantee these things because the bible guarantees them. As you now see, Scripture is very clear about the many benefits of learning the bible.
So what is the importance of reading the bible? How does the bible help us? What does the word of God do in our lives? What are the uses of the bible?
- It shows us how to obey and live for God
- Spiritual nourishment & Growth
- Wisdom and guidance for life
- Peace and Comfort
- Healing and Hope
- Endurance and strength during trials
- Blessings and Success
- Discernment of truth
- It keeps you from sin
- It Helps Us Fight Spiritual Battles
Are any of these things missing from your life?
What if you could significantly improve and enjoy your life more, simply by spending more time learning the bible?
So when are you going to get started?
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