On the subject of Bible intake, “no Spiritual Discipline is more important than the intake of God’s Word. Nothing can substitute for it. There simply is no healthy Christian life apart from a diet of the milk and meat of Scripture.” – Donald Whitney

“The Bible will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from the Bible.”

Dusty Bibles always lead to dirty lives.

You are either in the Word and Jesus Christ is being formed inside you, or you are in the world and it is in you squeezing you into its mold.

In the Bible we learn…

  • About God Himself
  • About Jesus Christ, the incarnation of God
  • The Law of God
  • How we’ve broken God’s Law.
  • Christ died as a sinless substitute in our place, that He paid just penalty of our sins.
  • How to be made right with God through repentance and faith in Jesus for salvation.
  • The will of God for our lives.
  • How to live in a way that pleases God
  • How to live life best and most fulfilling for ourselves.

 

There is nowhere else but the Bible to find this information.

Taking in the Word of God is a broad subject that can helpfully be broken down into subcategories…

 

  1. HEARING THE WORD
    • Easiest one, but takes discipline
    • Steady attendance in a Bible teaching church is essential.
    • Luke 11:28 – But He said, “More than that, blessed [are] those who hear the word of God and keep it!”
      1. Blessed is he who hears and DOES it. Point is obedience to form Christlikeness.
    • Romans 10:17 – So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
    • Not the only way someone can be saved.
    • “Furthermore, whereas this passage teaches that initial faith in Christ comes from hearing the inspired Word about Jesus Christ, it’s also true for Christians that much of the faith we need for day-to-day living comes from hearing the Bible’s message.” – Whitney
    • Those who hear the Word consistently are often given gifts of faith through it.
    • Hearing the word preached in weekly worship.
    • Also, internet makes it so accessible. Driving, cleaning house, working out etc.…
    • Prepare your heart to hear the Word. Show reverence for God’s Word.
    •  Resources:
      1. http://thelisteningplan.com
      2. https://subsplash.com/twft/media
      3. https://enduringword.com
  2. READING THE WORD OF GOD
    • Matthew 4:4 – But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ “
    • Why should I read the Bible? Do you need God’s guidance? Are you concerned with what God has to say?
    • 2 Timothy 3:16 – All Scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
    • 1 Timothy 4:7 – But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. [Discipline yourselves for Godliness.”
    • How often should I read it? How often do you need God?
    • ““A man can no more take in a supply of grace for the future than he can eat enough for the next six months, or take sufficient air into his lungs at one time to sustain life for a week. We must draw upon God’s boundless store of grace from day to day as we need it.” – Moody
    • Takes 71 hours to read through the Bible. Average American watches more TV than that in a week.
  1. Somw Practical Instruction:
    1. Dedicate a good time:
      • Before bed is ok but not if that’s the only time you read. You don’t retain much, and you don’t sin much while sleeping.
      • Fill your heart and mind with the scriptures in a way that it can impact your day.
    2. Find a reading plan:
      • Read three in the Old Testament and three in the New Testament every day, and you will finish the Old Testament once and the New Testament four times in a twelve-month span. – Whitney
      • The variety is good. Add a proverb and a psalm a day too.
  • Pick a word or phrase that stands out to meditate on.

Helps to retain and be changed by the word.

    • Growing in Christlikeness comes by reading, meditating on and applying the word.
  1. STUDYING THE WORD OF GOD
    • Telescopic to microscopic
    • “Reading gives us breadth, but study gives us depth.”- Bridges
    • Examples:
      1. Ezra 7:10 – For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel.
        • Prepared his heart – set his heart, determined to study
        • To seek the law –
        • And to do it – obedience in mind, practice leads to understanding
        • In other words, he disciplined himself to study…
      2. Acts 17:11 – These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.
        • Fair minded = noble
        • The study of scriptures is equated to “noble character”
  • 2 Timothy 4:13 – Bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas when you come–and the books, especially the parchments.
    • After everything Paul had been through, he desires the scriptures, so he can continue to feed on the word up until his death.
  1. Why we have a hard time?
    • It’s work
    • We may feel insecure about our methods or not know how or where to start.
  2. PRACTICAL APPLICATION:
    • The basic difference between reading and studying is a pen and paper
    • Write down observations.
    • Write down questions.
    • If your Bible has cross references, look them up.
    • Write down your thoughts as you look up cross references.
    • Outline chapters, paragraph by paragraph.

 

Some quoted material from “Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life” by Donald Whitney and J.I. Packer