We have more access to the Bible than any other Christians ever, but we read it less.
This is a summary of research I’ve been studying about the spiritual formation habits of Americans. As the research shows, we have higher access to the Bible than Christians of anywhere on the planet—of any time!—but we read it far less.
The irony would be funny if it wasn’t so sad. We’re swimming in the solution to our spiritual thirst, but we don’t care to drink of it.
I think we can do better. It seems the Apostle Paul would agree.
After reminding Timothy of the truth of Scripture lived out in the lives of those who taught him (last week), Paul moves to what is probably one of the most popular and phenomenal statements about the Scriptures: 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.2 Timothy 3:16-17
New International Version
In the context in which Paul was writing, he was not trying to convince Timothy about the source of Scripture. Timothy had known all his life that Scripture comes from the Lord.
Paul was applying the implications of Scripture’s inspiration. On the basis of Scripture’s origination, it was beneficial and trustworthy.
Its benefits and trustworthiness is explained in four areas: “teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness”.
Scripture is useful for teaching. It instructs us regarding how to live as the Lord’s people.
Scripture is useful for rebuking. It exposes our sin and wrongdoing in order to lead us back to the Lord.
Scripture is useful for correcting. It trains us when our “technique” of living the Christian life is not where it should be.
Scripture is useful for morality. It is a system to base our life upon, showing us the way of the Master.
The purpose of the benefits is not so we can stand up and taunt our pedigree. Instead, Scripture forms us so we can form others in Him.
If we feed our souls with the life-changing power of the Scriptures, we are then fully qualified and capable of undertaking whatever mission our Lord has for us.
So many Christians have an anemic faith because they are spiritually malnourished. We don’t know the God of the Bible because we don’t read His Word given to us.
What if for the next seven days you read the Scriptures? How about reading the Gospel of John for the next seven days? Do you think the Gospel of John would be useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training you in righteousness?
Instead of just having access to the Bible, let’s read it. Let’s allow it to penetrate our lives. Let’s take deep drinks from its life-giving fountains.
Let’s go from holding Bibles to being living Bibles.