Six Crucial Reasons to Grow Into a More Spiritually Disciplined Reader
Though I am an empty-nester now, I remember well what it was like to be a young mom. Like all new mommies, I would take my babies to the doctor for their wellness check-ups as scheduled. The doctors would measure, weigh, listen, and examine my littles to see how they were growing.
I look back and laugh now. However, at the time it was not so funny. My second bambino developed a problem with milk. For months his room smelled like puke. I had to prepare myself for that smell EVERY Morning, FOR MONTHS. I was welcomed with the smell of soured milk and a very hungry baby. This season of daily puking did not escape the notice of the Pediatrician. “HMMMMMM,” he said, as he reviewed the growth chart. “Something isn’t right. His weight is not adequate for his age.”
Just as milk was crucial to my baby’s physical growth, a regular intake of Scripture is necessary for the believer’s spiritual growth. We have much to rejoice in knowing faith comes by hearing the Word. However, it must not stop there.
Do You Long for God’s Word?
“like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.” ~ 1 Peter 2:2-3.
Job compared his sustenance from God’s word as more vital than his earthly food.
“I have not departed from the command of His lips;
I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.” Job 23:12
Just as I didn’t want my sweet little baby’s growth to be underdeveloped, we must not allow our spiritual growth to be inhibited by failing to participate in this crucial spiritual discipline of reading the Word of God.
Six Reasons You Should Read the Word of God
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. ~ 2 Timothy 3:16-17
It is Inspired by God
Millard Erickson thoroughly defines the inspiration of Scripture as “that supernatural influence of the Holy Spirit on the Scripture writers which rendered their writings an accurate record of the revelation or which resulted in what they wrote actually being the Word of God. (Erickson, Millard E.; Christian Theology; pp.224-225)” More simply stated, Dr. John MacArthur says “So identified is God with His Word that when Scripture speaks, God speaks. (Mac Arthur, John. The Mac Arthur Study Bible; p. 1879)”
The word “inspired”, theopneustos, literally means “God-breathed.” “Theos” means “God” and “pneuo” means to breathe. The words of the Bible are God’s words that came to man by the Holy Spirit and He speaks in and through the words of the Bible to the heart of man. This is God’s way of speaking to His beloved children. Do you want to know what He desires of you? Of course you do!
It is Profitable
Please never underestimate the profit that reading Scripture will have on your life. Paul uses this word “profitable” twice in 1st and 2nd Timothy (1 Timothy 4:8, 2 Timothy 3:16). Both times are related to aspects of our spiritual growth. Just two verses prior to 2 Timothy 3:16, we are commanded to continue in the things we have learned. As you continue to read, God will encourage you in your growth just as He saved you. However, when we read the very words of God and reject it as my baby rejected the nourishment I gave him, we are incapable of growth.
It Teaches us Doctrine
Doctrine mattered to God. It mattered to Paul. It should matter to us. He faithfully taught doctrine upon his salvation through the Holy Spirit. Simply stated by gotquestions.org “the word translated “doctrine” means “instruction, especially as it applies to lifestyle application.”
He instructs us specifically about doctrine 11 times in the two small but mighty epistles of 1st and 2nd Timothy:
We see the usefulness of doctrine right off the bat in 1 Timothy 1 as He lists what those who live contrary to sound doctrine look like (I Timothy 1:3-11).
In 1 Timothy 4:1 we are warned that in the last days people’s unconverted hearts will be exposed when they pay attention to doctrines that are demonic, but just 5 verses later, Paul encourages the true believer, “the good servant of Christ Jesus,” to be constantly nourished on the words of faith as well as the words of sound doctrine (I Timothy 4:6).
We are to turn our minds toward it, or give attention to it just as a baby is attentive to his mommy when she holds him close to his source of nourishment!
We are also to persevere in sound doctrine and teaching (1 Timothy 4:13; 16). Not only should we read it, we should surround ourselves with and show great respect for sound leaders who will feed us well for the glory of God (1 Timothy 5:17; 6:1).
In 1 Timothy 6:3-4, we see that sound doctrine leads to conforming to godliness and when we are not conforming to it we are called conceited and we understand nothing, having interests in things that do not lead to godliness.
Finally, we are warned in 2 Timothy 4:3 there will be a time that sound doctrine will not be tolerated. This is why we must align our thinking and faithfully feed ourselves sound doctrine. Our nourishment from the pure milk of the Word is to be CONSTANT! Just as a baby is to be nurtured consistently with a proper diet, so we, should feed our minds with the pure Word of God (Psalm 12:6).
It Exposes and Corrects Wrong Thinking
To be reproved is to show us where we have strayed off of the path of righteousness. Scripture will faithfully show us where our thinking is wrong, but praise the Lord, He also corrects our wrong thinking setting us on the right path!
Proverbs 15:5b helps us to see the profit of a reproof that is heeded: “But he who regards reproof is sensible.”
This is exactly what Jesus does in Revelation 2:2-5 when speaking to the seven churches. He specifically instructed the church at Ephesus of their wrong thinking and how to correct it:
"I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false;3and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent."
Romans 12:2 tells us how we are to renew our minds:
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Simply put, we are not to allow our thinking and lives to conformed by the world, rather, we are to be transformed by the Word through biblical thinking.
It Trains Us to Live a Life of Righteousness
As a woman who is declared righteous by Christ, you will live out this declaration by reading, and by God’s grace, applying the truths of Scripture (Philippians 3:9).
In 1st and 2nd Timothy, we are told to flee sinful living and lusts and to pursue righteousness (1 Timothy 6:11, 2 Timothy 2:22). If we aren’t nourished with the Word, we won’t have a clue how to grow in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior (2 Peter 3:18). God’s word instructs and trains us as a parent lovingly trains a child to aid us in our growth specifically in righteousness. More specifically and beautifully, He is training us to look like Him.
It Equips Us for Good Works
Reading truth will better fit us to accomplish what He would have us accomplish the way He would have us accomplish every good work. Again, these works or deeds are not for our righteousness. They are merely evidence of Christ’s righteousness seen in us.
I really look back at my son’s season of puking with laughter as well as relief we are past that stage. However, know that choosing to not spend time reading God’s word is no laughing matter, dear sister. I have had those seasons of drought. By God’s grace, I have reached the mid-century mark in my age, and I am grateful for the growth God has worked out in my life. But how ridiculous would I look if I were still in a baby diaper, being pushed in a stroller, waiting for someone to feed me? I would be quite the spectacle. (I am still trying to unsee this mental picture!) I wonder, is that how our spiritual growth looks to the watching world? Reading is not the only spiritual discipline God desires of us, but it is a great place to start!
What are your favorite ways to read God’s Word? Do you have a reading plan you love? We’d love to hear from you!
O Word of God incarnate,
O Wisdom from on high,
O Truth unchanged, unchanging,
O Light of our dark sky:
We praise you for the radiance
That from the Scripture’s page,
A lantern to our footsteps,
Shines on from age to age.
O Word of God incarnate by William Walsham How
This article was originally written by Kimberly Cummings for Renewed in Truth and first appeared there.