Investing Verse by Verse
In Grace Youth and Grace Church as a whole, we aim to make disciples verse by verse. It's all about the Word. I frequently remind my students of how blessed they are to be a part of a church that preaches the full counsel of the Bible! But the mission of "making disciples verse by verse" isn't a task that falls only on Grace's Pastors (while it is a very important aspect). It is a mission that everyone in the body of Christ should be pursuing. "Verse by verse" shouldn't just be on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights, but daily. Verse by verse, we preach the text, but verse by verse, do you read the text?
So, I want to examine with you a passage where Scripture reminds us how incredible our Bibles are and why we should be daily reading it.
In 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Paul writes to Timothy that "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."
"All Scripture is breathed out by God."
While giving a lesson in the youth room over this verse, I had my students say aloud, "all Scripture." As you could imagine, a group full of sleepy teenagers saying this together sounded very weak and unenthused. There was no excitement in what they were saying, showing me that there was little excitement in what we were reading. So, I took a second to describe to them how astounding this statement is.
The Bible isn't like other religious texts. The Old and the New Testaments are full of books, songs, and letters written by about 40 different humans over roughly 2,000 years. The Bible has numerous authors from different periods, yet it all seems to speak of the same thing consistently. It ties together as if someone was behind it all, directing and leading these authors in their writings. That'd be pretty hard for a man to fabricate. It's almost as if God Himself put all this together. It'd be harder to argue against that fact than to accept and support it. Something someone wrote down thousands of years ago can still transform our hearts today. It is still transformative thousands of years later. Why? Because it's not just man's words, it's God's words.
I think the Bible is the #1 selling book and most printed book for a reason (over 3.9 billion copies sold over the last 50 years).
By the end of this, I had them say "all Scripture" again. "ALL SCRIPTURE!" they yelled out. That's more like it. Sometimes we need a reminder of the supernatural beauty of the book we're holding. I hope your attitude towards all of Scripture would be more like those students' second attempt and not their first.
All of Scripture is profitable, helpful, and there are so many advantages to reading it. We, humans, spend time investing in those things we think will have the most profit for us. Whether finances, cars, houses, relationships, sports, business, etc… In reality, your Bible is the most profitable thing you can invest in on earth.
Scripture says, "the grass withers and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever." (Isaiah 40:8, 1 Peter 1:24b-25) Jesus says, "Heaven and earth will pass away but my words will not pass away." (Matthew 24:35). Paul says, "For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that is and of that which is to come."
(I Timothy 4:8)
The day is coming where all these other things that we spend so much time, money, and energy on will be gone except for souls and God's Word. So imagine if people spent less time investing in those things that "only profit a little" and spent more time in all of Scripture which profits eternally. Imagine if more Christians did this. Imagine if you did this? I believe our lives, the church, and the world would look extremely different if this were true in every Christian's life.
So, how is it profitable? Paul gives us 4 points as to why our Bibles are so profitable for us:
Teaching - (Doctrine) the Bible teaches us who God is and defines our beliefs!
Reproof - (Conviction) the Bible reveals and makes us mindful of our sinfulness!
- It shows us those things we shouldn't be doing.
Correction - the Bible shows us how we should be living, thinking, and doing!
- It shows things we should be doing.
Training in righteousness - the Bible trains us to be more like Jesus!
"That the man of God may be complete and equipped."
The Bible is profitable for us, and it also equips us. The word equipped can also be translated as "furnished, armed, supplied, and prepared." So let me ask you this. Would you live in a house with no furniture? Would you go into a battle with no weapons or defenses? Would you go on a camping trip with no supplies? (No, you aren't Bear Grylls.)
So why would you be a Christian and not read your Bible? Why would you not invest your time into studying the very words of God? I love how R.A. Torrey says it. "Every Christian who does not study, really study the Bible every day, is a fool." Hey, he said it, not me.
Let's be careful not to make reading the Bible legalistic. We don't read the Bible to get more saved. We don't read the Bible so God would think better of us. God doesn't hate you because you haven't read your Bible for 4 days. But Jesus Himself says that "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4). Eating food every day isn't legalistic. More so, reading your Bible every day isn't legalistic. It's simply living off of every word that comes from the mouth of God. How else do you do that than by spending time daily in Scripture?
So, in conclusion, if the Bible is truly God's Word, then we should be disciples of the Word. Don't just wait around for Sunday and Wednesday to be a "disciple verse by verse." Choose today to be a disciple who is investing verse by verse in the very Words of God. Dig into that beautifully bound, God-inspired, life-changing book you have in your hands.