The Importance of Reading the Word

The Importance of Reading the Word

It brings joy to the redeemed man to read the Word of God. In the first Psalm, the psalmist reflects, “his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:2). The Word of the Lord holds an immense amount of power and has the ability to save (James 1:21) and to reveal the innermost secrets of our hearts (Hebrews 4:12). The Bible is also the primary means by which God communicates with us. We cannot know Him through “religious” experiences, human reasoning, or any other means besides His Word.

But in order to demonstrate the importance of reading the Word, we must show that the Word itself is a trustworthy source. Without going into the topic of canonization, we will examine what is written about Scripture in itself. The primary point that validates Scripture is found in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is inspired by God….” Even though the Bible was physically written by fallible and error-prone men, their work was guided by the perfect Holy Spirit, resulting in a perfect work. This verse also suggests that every single sentence in Scripture, from the seemingly mundane counting of the Israelites to the theologically dense proclamations of Paul, is important and must not be overlooked.

We must also establish that Scripture is sufficient on its own, and must not be altered, added to, or subtracted from in any way. One verse that illustrates this truth is Psalm 19:7, “The law of the Lord is perfect….” The Hebrew word for “perfect,” temimah, conveys not only a sense of a lack of defect, but also of fullness and completeness. Everything that we need to know about God and His expectations of His servants can be found entirely in Scripture. In addition, there are very stern warnings about altering the Word of God, and some verses even reveal that doing so will incur judgement. These can be found in the following passages:

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. (Revelation 22:18-29)

Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar. (Proverbs 30:5-6)

You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you. (Deuteronomy 4:2)

Now that we’ve established the trustworthiness and sufficiency of Scripture, we can discuss the importance of reading it. Peter exhorts his fellow believers to “like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation” (1 Peter 2:2). To the believer, the Word is an essential need just like food, which nurtures us and helps mature in the faith. We read because it is necessary to sustain us. This idea is further shown in Romans 10:17, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” If we are not regularly consuming the Word, we risk becoming stagnant in our faith.

The Word also furnishes the man of God with the necessary tools to guide and correct error. As 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “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 competent, equipped for every good work.” When we see a fellow brother or sister sinning, misunderstanding something, or in need of counsel, we will be well-prepared to guide them biblically if we ourselves are well-versed in Scripture. One instance where the power of Scripture as a tool for teaching can be seen is in Acts 18:24-28, where Priscilla and Aquila took Apollo aside and clarified some gaps in his understanding. He was then able to use Scripture to defend himself against the Jews, likely using what he had learned from the couple.

Reading the Word of God also serves as a defense against temptation and sin. When our minds are filled with the things of God, we are in a better position to ward off sin and live a righteous life in accordance with His Word. The psalmist in Psalm 119:9-11 writes, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word. With all my heart I have sought You; Do not let me wander from Your commandments. Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.” With the Word close to our hearts, we are reminded of His holiness and His demand that we be holy just as He is holy. We are reminded that we are dead to sin and no longer follow the wicked ways of the world, because we have been set apart. It is easy to forget these truths when we do not immerse ourselves in Scripture.

Scripture is a source of blessing to those who read and meditate on it. It is written in Joshua 1:8, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” When we obey the Lord and walk in line with His will, He will allow us to be successful in our endeavours.

Lastly, reading the Word of God allows us to enjoy His splendor as we read about His attributes and everything that He has done throughout the generations:

We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. (Psalm 78)

The Bible is filled with His displays of power, holiness, righteousness, wrath, patience, justice, mercy, and lovingkindness. We read about His power as He creates the universe and everything in it, and brings Jesus back to life; His wrath as He floods an earth rife with wickedness; His justice as He rewards those who love Him and punishes the wicked; and His mercy as He sacrifices His only begotten son to redeem sinners who would be completely hopeless without Christ.

In summary, it is important to read the Word of God because it has the power to save, encourage maturity in the faith, correct sin and error, defend against sin, provide blessings to those who obey it, and tell of the glory of our Lord.

Post by Ricky