2 Timothy 3:16-17 | John 10:4-5, 14-15, 16
“To thine own self be true.” –NOT in the Bible.
Please…let Lawrence’s crushing defeat be a lesson to you: learn the Word of God by reading (studying, even…!) the Bible. True, Lawrence missed the question about ‘gulping down red stuff’–that one could have gotten anyone. And true, you may never compete in a Bible competition like this one.
But knowing scripture is good for more than impressing people (or even just saving face) at church functions.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.(2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV)
Scripture is “God-breathed.” Let that wash over you for a second.
It comes straight from God’s mouth, and has his essence all over it. Have you ever spoken with someone with bad breath? Every word has a horrible stink on it because of some unfortunate buildup in their mouth or gut. Yuck!
Now imagine how sweet God’s breath is. He is all goodness, kindness, love, peace, patience, and on and on. The only buildup in his mouth or gut might be excesses of grace.
And knowing scripture is how we know God. It is a recording of his voice. When you can easily recognize his voice, it becomes difficult for satan to fool you.
Jesus tells us how a shepherd leads his sheep:
“…they follow him because they know his voice. They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.”(John 10:4b-5 NLT)
Do you know Jesus’ voice? If you want to follow him, you need to know him.
“I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father.”(John 10:14-15a NLT)
It seems that recently, times have become more and more confusing. What is right? What is true? Isn’t there more than one way to enlightenment?
“They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.”(John 10:16b NLT)
There are plenty of fine sayings out there. But you cannot base your life on memes. You cannot make important decisions from what you read on a bumper sticker.
Know God’s voice. Know God’s character. Know God’s word.
Questions for Group Discussion
(Note: We have broken form this time; the second and third questions below have answers. These are great topics for discussion, and the answers provide plenty of room for discussion themselves.)
- Have you ever repeated a saying you thought was from the Bible, only to learn that it was from some other source? For example… “A stitch in time saves nine,” or “Many hands make light work,” or “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” NONE of these are from scripture.
- Do you need to know every word in the Bible to know what is in there? No, you don’t. After a while, you get familiar with the contents of each book. And you get familiar with what might fit and what might not.
- Is it enough to know the stories in the Bible, or do you actually need to read the scripture itself? It is great to learn about what is in the Bible, but ultimately you need to read the scripture itself.
Challenge: Read the Book
This is the simplest, toughest challenge we have ever put forth.
Challenge: Read the whole Bible.
- Read it in order. Read it from Genesis through Revelation. There are other approaches, but the books are in their order for a reason. If you read them in that order, you will learn why.
- Use a study Bible. This will help you understand all of the many difficult passages in scripture.
- Put yourself on a regular schedule, but don’t be a hardnose. If your plan is to read a chapter a day and you miss a day (or two, or four, or sixteen, etc.), let yourself off the hook and pick it up when you can.
- Pray briefly before and after reading. Before beginning, ask God to reveal himself to you in his word. Afterward, ask God any questions you have about what you read. Don’t go nuts praying for a long time before and after–unless the Spirit leads you to. Just pray and move on, or you will get bogged down.
- Be prepared for it to take a long time. The author of this devotional took a full three years to complete this challenge. It might take you less time–or more–but it will definitely be worth it.