Why Is It Important to Read and Obey the Bible?  

We’ve started a new series looking at what it means when Jesus said, “Follow Me.” A disciple is an apprentice. Following Jesus is not following a religion, denomination, or teaching, but having a real relationship with Him. Today, we will look at following Him through the spiritual discipline of Scripture.

Hearing the Word

Romans 10:17 says, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” Jesus said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it” (Lk. 11:28). The Bible is the Living Word from the Living God. There is life in the Word! If you want to hear it, you have to quiet your heart (Mt. 13:22). Eli taught Samuel to listen to God, to hear His voice. To follow Jesus, we must spend time with Him and listen to His Word.

Reading God’s Word

Second Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” At least twice, Jesus asked the question, “Haven’t you read?” (Mt. 19:4, Mk. 12:10). How regularly do we need to turn to the Bible? John Blanchard answers this question in his book How to Enjoy Your Bible. How often do we face problems, temptation, and pressure? Every day! How often do we need instruction, guidance, and greater encouragement? Every day!

Studying God’s Word

If reading is a boat ride, studying is a glass bottom boat at Silver Springs, FL. Ezra devoted himself to studying the Word (Ez. 7:10) and the Berean Jews examined the Scriptures every day (Acts 17:11). These are just two examples from Scripture. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing, and perfect will.” We are either conformed or transformed. There is no other option. Study demands humility and a teachable spirit. It’s analytical.

Memorizing God’s Word

The Psalmist said, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Ps. 119:11). Ephesians tells us the Word of God is our offensive weapon against the enemy (Eph. 6:17). If you can memorize your birthday, phone number, and address, you can memorize Scripture. God’s instructions to the Israelites show us how much He desires that we know His Word: “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates” (Deut. 6:6-9).

Meditating on God’s Word

Eastern meditation is about emptying the mind. Christian meditation is about filling the mind. Detachment from the world is not enough. Attachment to God is the goal. The Psalmist said, “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long” (Ps. 119:97). Studying Scripture is analyzing. Meditation is internalizing and personalizing the passage. Meditation is the difference between reading a textbook and a love letter. It’s reading for a relationship, intimacy.

Applying God’s Word

James says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (Ja. 1:22). Meditation without application is like chewing without swallowing. We have to swallow. How often have you closed your Bible and suddenly forgot everything you read or heard? As you apply these different ways to read the Word of God, be patient. You will be going against the tide. It has to become a way of life. Pray through the text. Examine how it speaks to current issues in the world and issues you are facing. Let the Bible read you. We live in an information age. Noise is here. We have to get alone with God, quiet our souls, listen for His voice, absorb it, and follow in obedience.

Responding to God’s Word

Your response may be an act of faith, worship, praise, thanksgiving, or prayer. Maybe it’s asking forgiveness or speaking a word of encouragement. It could be forsaking a sin or showing an act of love. Consciously commit yourself to at least one action to take. “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31).

Everyone is following someone. Who are you following? Are you following the crowd or are you following Christ?

Works Consulted:

Whitney, Donald S.. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, NavPress Publishing Group, 2024. ProQuest Ebook Central, https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/liberty/detail.action?docID=5395718.

Sacred Rhythms, Barton

Practicing the Way, Comer

Celebration of Discipline, Foster

Reading the Bible Supernaturally, Piper


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