Q42: How is the Word of God to be read and heard?
A: With diligence, preparation, and prayer; so that we accept it with faith, store it in our hearts, and practice it in our lives. (Crossway 2017)
2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (ESV)
The Vertical Truth in Faith – What does this truth mean in my relationship with God?
God has caused his words to be written down by human writers so that people can know everything necessary for life and salvation. God has revealed himself to us in his Word. He is not an unknown deity, nor is he some thoroughly mysterious being. God truly does delight in making himself known and he longs to be known, by those who seek him. We come to know God through his Word as well as through faith.
Without faith it is impossible to truly understand and absorb God’s Word. 1 Corinthians 2:14 states, “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” Nobody who rejects Christ can come to God’s Word and truly be changed by it. God’s Word only comes alive in our lives when it has been illuminated through our receiving of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives us the lenses necessary to understand God’s Word as it is intended to be understood. And through faith we believe what God says about His Word, that it is inspired by the Holy Spirit 2 Peter 1:20-21, that it is absolute truth John 17:17, and that it is sufficient for every area our lives 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
Paul tells Timothy that all Scripture is God-breathed, and fully inspired by God. Paul identifies God as the origin of Scripture. But he also describes the purpose of Scripture, reminding us that it is “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.”
The Horizontal Truth in Love – What does this truth mean in my relationship with humanity?
As we come to God’s Word by faith and store up His Word in our heart, we must apply it to our daily living. Scripture is meant to cause transformation in the believer’s life. Romans 12:2 states, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Transformation occurs in the believer’s life as we renew our minds by constant study and meditation of Scripture through faithful preaching on Sunday mornings, group studies, personal Bible study and Scripture memorization. As we take pleasure in His Word more and more, we will better know and understand God’s will and take the steps necessary to make it happen in our own lives. Life transformation begins from a heart that is filled with God’s Word and guided by the Holy Spirit.
Practical Truth in Action – How can I put this truth into action?
God longs to see his people transformed as they seek to glorify him. When we have listened well to God’s Word, we will respond in how we live. Consider the following statement as you prepare to apply God’s Word to your life: we should pray before we hear God’s Word, and we should seek to listen carefully to what God is saying to us by his Spirit. Everyone who spends time in Scripture will come to the point where questions will dominate our thinking. For example:
- What should I do when I don’t understand the Bible? First, we should pray and ask the Holy Spirit to give us understanding. Then, we can ask other Christians what the Bible passage means. There are also many books, devotionals and commentaries that have been written to help us understand the Bible.
- Can I admit that I find the Bible boring at times? Many people assume the Bible is boring, but that’s usually because they don’t know it well. If someone watches a baseball or soccer game for the first time, he or she may find it boring because they don’t know what’s going on. However, if they continue to watch baseball or soccer and learn the rules, they will start to enjoy the game more and more. If we find the Bible boring, we should keep reading and trust that as we start to understand it better, we will learn to love and enjoy it.
God longs to see his people transformed as they seek to glorify him. When we have listened well to what God’s Word is saying, we will respond in a way that allows us to enjoy his Word and live it out.