2 Timothy 2:15 (AMP) Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth.
Please read this fully to get my heart—not to offend but for us to examine ourselves in the American Christian culture today. I grew up in an era where it was natural to see a Bible open and being read by the majority of people in church. I also had the pleasure of being exposed to godly Grandparents on a regular basis so I saw a consistent flow of bible reading in their home, especially with Grandma. Grandma would have me sit on the enclosed porch and read passages and chapters from the KJV for discussion. While most of it I didn’t understand as a child, truthfully, I gained more understanding from the combination of my reading, hearing it at church, and sitting under Grandma’s additional explanations and teachings. From her I learned to read the Word and the importance of prayer.
Today, at a hop, skip and a jump from 50, I know the power of being taught to respect the Word, love God, to pray from my heart, and to honor Him and when I don’t, to get back in step with Him quickly. I know what this walk has meant to my personal and public life. As an adult, I read and study from different translations and I use biblical reference tools particularly since I not only live the Word, I teach it by God’s grace and anointing. A call that keeps me on my needs saying, I need You God. He holds me to a certain standard in both living and teaching His Word and O how I mess up at times and I am quick to say, Abba I’m sorry, help me to walk your Word and He does. I often say to my husband that if I were saved in today’s Christian culture I probably would struggle 1000 times more in my walk because the Bible doesn’t seem to be the focal point in many (not all but many), today in the American church (body of Christ). And it is His Word that challenges, confronts, comforts and changes us not just the words of people. I don’t say that disrespectfully but I’ve been exposed to a lot for over three decades as a follower of Christ.
I watched a church service where the pastor said, “If you have a bible and want to look up the passages, you can, if not, don’t worry about it, read it later if you’d like”. Read it later if you’d like? If we’re honest, if we won’t read it when we assemble together do you think we’re reading it later? I ministered at a church event where not ONE person that my eye could see had their bibles out. I was actually very surprised. I asked them to please take out their bibles and turn to…. I didn’t see any movement or hear a page turn. Later, they all had wonderful things to say about what God gave me to teach and one precious woman said, “I felt so guilty when you asked us to take out our bibles. We often just listen to Pastor or read it off the screen and he’s ok with that”. Where is the structure of teaching and growth, conviction and grace and all that we find in the Word? Later, that practice was sadly confirmed by their leadership. I asked the woman who approached me if she owned a bible. She said, “Yes, but I haven’t opened it in a long time but I do love the word.” I lovingly but with truth, spoke to the heart of this woman of how I could not make it with my mouth, attitude or anything else if I didn’t soak myself in the Word of God more than listening to a pastor once a week or reading the Scriptures scrolling down a church screen. I’m not opposed to the church screens. I like them as well but is it feeding into our lack of reading the Word on our own? I need more than the screens once a week and so does she. She agreed.
We have a personal responsibility as believers in and followers of Jesus Christ to hunger after His Word and prayer, for ourselves. No one is responsible to do that for us. If not, we will fall prey to religion verses relationship. We’ll compromise often and we’ll not feel any conviction about it. If we don’t study His Word we will be tossed around in the wind (on anything that anyone attempts to teach even under the auspices of what may seem like it’s God–but not. This will hinder our relationship with God and our dreams, goals—divine purpose of God for our lives.
I have seen services where the entire focus is on making people feel comfortable and not one emphasis is on the teachings of the Word. I’m not talking about hell and damnation messages but for goodness sake give us more than the feel good–go keep living the way you live and God loves you anyhow message. Yes, He loves us but what about the rest of the message? Neither message would have helped me to grow in my faith in my early years or now. What has helped me simply put is the Word—real without the fluff and without scare tactics and personal agendas but the Word–with the anointing of the Holy Spirit and a hungry heart to receive. I wasn’t always that way believe me! It took years to get that way long ago, but had I not had the foundation early on I’d probably not be living my life in God today.
Today we have our actual bibles—regular bibles, study bibles and in several translations. We have the bible on our iPads, laptops and computers, cell phones and tablets. The Bible may look different in each hand based on what you choose to view it on but the question becomes is it in each hand and heart? I’m not speaking about the people who don’t confess to know or to even care about the Word. I’m talking about us the believer in and follower of Christ. Is the Word of God in our hands and our hearts? And are we taking the time to study and ingest it so that it will become life to us?
I will always have to study the Word of God, whether it’s a bible in my hand or a device I am using that has the bible on it. A good teacher keeps herself fresh as a student first. I confess my need for Him and when I go a bit of time without a refreshing in His Word, trouble comes—snappy words, impatient attitude, offended easily by the treatment of others, feeling dry inside, discouraged and so on. Some may call time with God and His Word as a spiritual practice. I call it nurturing my relationship–that’s so much more. Hubby and I have been married 23 years and counting not based on practices we do but on our love and respect for each other, our desire to please each other and on what we both pour into our marriage to nurture our relationship. Same is true of my faith in God. I have to nurture the relationship to keep it strong. I do it because I love God. I do it because He first loved me. I don’t do it correctly all the time but I’m grateful His Holy Spirit taps me quick and says, Daughter, get back in step with Me. The relationship is always strong on God’s side but I have to keep it strong on my end because it’s easy to get carnal and crazy! Isn’t it?! Yes, I understand.
Whether you have the Bible literally in your hand (and I hope you have at least one bible to open and study), or on a particular device (and I use them all too), please study it and ingest it in your heart, then pray to live it for it is our daily bread. He is our Daily Bread. We need Him and His Word. Thanks for visiting and being willing to examine your life in His Word. I’m in it with you examining my own, often.
Much peace, blessings and love,