Last week as we looked at Psalm 119 we were challenged in our attitude to God’s word and our habits in reading the Bible. All of us know that we should read the Bible, but how often do we forget why we should read the Bible? I’m sure that like me, you have experienced that when we forget why we should read the Bible, it makes reading the Bible more difficult. Either we don’t do it, or we don’t enjoy doing it. So, if we are going to read the Bible, we need to know why!
There are lots of good reasons to read the Bible. A good one is that it is spending time with and hearing from our Creator and Redeemer! But here’s another reason that I’ve found helpful. Why read the Bible? It’s the answer to almost all of your prayers.
Growing up as a Christian I often prayed for lots of different things, but I never really thought about how God would answer my prayers. But if we stop and think about it for a moment, lots of the prayers we pray are answered, in one way or another, by reading the Bible.
So, what are some of the things that we pray for, and how might God answer those prayers with his word? Here’s some examples:
1. "I pray that you would make me more like Jesus." How do we know what living like Jesus looks like? God’s commands and the example of Jesus in the Bible! Where does the motivation for obeying God come from? The grace of God that we hear about in the Bible! (Titus 2:11-14)
2. "I pray that ________ will come to know Jesus and be saved." How will our friends and family come to know Jesus? By hearing the gospel in the Bible! (Rom 10:14; 2 Tim 3:14-15)
3. "I pray that you would help me to share the gospel with people." How does God equip you to do this? With his word in the Bible!
4. "Please give me wisdom to make this decision." Where do we find wisdom for making decisions? How does God’s Spirit guide us to make decisions? With his word, the Bible! Not within you, or knowing deep down in your heart, or gut feelings!
5. "Please comfort me in my suffering." How will he comfort you? Where will that comfort come from? Perhaps through the support of friends and family, but also through his word, as you read about Jesus, who suffered to give you peace with God and hope for eternal life without pain and suffering! (Rom 5:1-5; 8:18)
6. "Please look after my family and friends." How will God look after your friends and family? By providing for them with what they need, and more than anything, they need the Bible to know the gospel and to know God better!
How will God answer these prayers? Will he magically fill your mind with the information you need to make your decision? I doubt it! He will use his word to answer your prayer! He will give you wisdom, comfort, and motivation in his word, as you read and reflect on it by yourself, as you hear it on Sunday and explore it in your gospel team, and through the lips of your brothers and sisters in Christ. The Bible is how the Holy Spirit guides, shapes, sustains, and encourages us. The Bible is God’s spiritual tool for answering many prayers!
So when I pray for our church as a whole and even those particular things you ask me to pray for, know that I’m praying that you would read, understand, and be convicted of the truth of the Bible and live it out in your life.
And when you pray, keep in mind that God may well answer your prayers as you read your Bible, or as you read it with someone else! Why read the Bible? It’s the answer to almost all of your prayers.