The following article was written by Jason Dickey of Tampa, FL.
When we begin the conversation of what it takes to make it to heaven we go through a list of a the same sort of things. Read your Bible, pray, come to Church…. Etc. If we are trying to be extra specific we will mention evangelizing or taking care of the needy. All of these things are important parts of Christianity and are all things we can always be better about for sure, but what do they mean? Over the next few articles I want us to consider why we must do these things.
Let’s start this week by considering the importance of reading the Bible. Why does it matter? We will talk about a “read through the New Testament in a year” schedule, but why is that important? Is it simply because we say we are Christians so we might as well read the Bible? Do we need to read the Bible because otherwise we don’t know the moral code of God? Why do we read it? In short the answer is that it is the mind of God, and the only way to think like God is to know how He thinks.
This sounds like an unfathomable task. If you spend very much time in the word of God you quickly find that it is quite cryptic. There are puzzles and questions constantly. So then how can we think like God if we can be confused by his “guidebook”? Certainly we will never have answers to all the questions we ask, but as we study and read we begin to see more and more how God has interacted with the world. When He wrote the Law of Moses He do so in a way that teaches us what is important to Him. This isn’t to say that God cares about unclean vs unclean today, but what it does say is that by looking at what is clean and unclean we can begin to decipher to the natural order of the world created by God. When we read about the judgment of God on the Canaanites we are taught a lesson about God’s righteousness disallowing wickedness. We are then taught in that about His mercy as He preserved a remnant of the Israelites through the destruction of Jerusalem at the hands of the Babylonians.
Every story, every parable, every character and prophet in the Bible is specifically chosen to teach us about God. By reading these things and studying them and meditating on them we aren’t just doing something that we are supposed to, we are reprogramming the way we view the world. When we watch television we are programming our mind to those certain worldviews whether we intend to or not. When we read books we program our mind to the worldview of the author whether we mean to or not. This isn’t to say that those things are innately sinful, but it is to say that we need to make sure that we are reading the Bible to program our worldview to match that of our Creator’s.
If we do this. If we read and dwell on the mind of God we might even find ourselves enjoying reading the Bible. Now isn’t that a crazy thought? We always tend to view reading scripture as a tedious but necessary task, but maybe if we do it and give our mind over to God we can grow into the sorts of people that love the word of God; that love the truth; that love studying and thinking about things eternal. Maybe if we start reading it more we will talk about it more. Maybe if we talk about it more we can develop our love for our brethren and the God that has promised us a hope of salvation. Maybe, just maybe, if we dedicate ourselves to the study of God’s word we can even begin to think like God. If we ever get to that point we will be far along our way to achieving the goal for which we all strive. So then let me admonish you to renew your efforts to read the Word of God.