About half way through the presentation, he pulled out a large, worn book which he proclaimed to be his “insurance bible.” He had pretty much memorized vast parts of this book, written many years ago by an insurance sales guru from Chicago. He put what he learned from it into practice, he memorized parts, and he used it as a guideline for his decision making. It paid off. The man I sat before was very successful in his business. You could look around his plush office and see the trappings of success. He put the book to work and it had brought him success.
We Christians also have “the book.” In fact, the word Bible actually derives from the Koine Greek, ta biblia, which means “the books.” Just as this insurance executive sought guidance and wisdom from his “insurance bible” so should the Christian seek wisdom and guidance from God’s Word.
If Christians want to grow in their knowledge of God’s will for their lives, how to deal with difficult situations and how to grow as a believer, then they need to know what God has to say. The way God has chosen to communicate is through His Word, the Bible. If we want to know the basics for the Christian faith, we need to know God’s Word.
It is sad today that many professing Christians have grown lax in reading and putting the Bible into practice. I truly believe that this is the main reason many believers are failing in their Christian faith and many churches and denominations are being ineffective in changing the world for Christ. Let’s look at why we should take the Bible seriously and put it into practice in our lives.
1. The authority of the Bible
The words of the Bible are God’s words. To disbelieve them is to disbelieve God himself. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 states that “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Both the Old and New Testaments affirm that its words are the very words of God. If God claims that the words of Scripture are his own, then there is ultimately no higher authority one can appeal to for proof of this claim than Scripture itself. These are the words of God. We must know them.
2. The Bible is clear
The Bible is written in such a way as for one to become a Christian, live a Christian life, and grow as a Christian.
We all know that some passages are easier to understand than others. We are to become diligent students of the Bible and seek an understanding of the culture and background of some of the customs and meanings in their context.
3. Scripture is necessary
We must read the Scripture if we are to know God personally, have our sins forgiven, and know what God’s will for our lives. Romans 10:14-17 reminds us of the necessity of using the Scripture in proclaiming God’s Word.
4. Scripture is sufficient
Everything that God wants to tell His people for all time is found in the Bible. While the Bible may not directly answer every question we have. Deut. 29:29 states“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.” Remember, that God’s Word provides us guidance that we need for spiritual growth.
How do we put our understanding of the Bible into practice? Here are some simple steps necessary to actually practicing what the Bible teaches in your life.
1. Read the Bible. The Bible is divided up into sixty-six books. It is also divided into both the Old and New Testaments. I would encourage you to begin to read through the Bible. On our church website, www.jaspersfbc.org, a link for a daily Bible reading is provided. On that site you have both an Old Testament and a New Testament reading. You can certainly use this to get started. I would also encourage you to find a translation that you prefer.
2. Study the passages you read. I would recommend that you find some commentaries or helps so that you can understand some of the historical background and customs of the passages read.
3. Memorize the passages that speak to your heart. Write them down on a card and take it with you to school or work. When you have a free time, pull it out and memorize it. I still have passages committed to memory from my youth.
4. Meditate over the Scripture. What does it say to you?
5. Put it into practice. Let God’s Word influence you and change you. Seek to live as God would have you live.
Remember if you truly want to be successful as a Christian, then know “The Book.” Put it to practical work in your life, live as it directs and you have a opportunity to live a victorious Christian life.
Just as the successful insurance agent knew and practiced the teachings of his “insurance bible” and it made him a success, so will you if you study and put “The Books” into practice in your life. Be a success in your Christian walk. Know God’s Book, practice God’s Book, and share God’s Book.
Dr. Dennis R. Culbreth is the Senior Pastor of Jasper’s First Baptist Church www.jaspersfbc.org