Paul wrote to Timothy concerning the profitableness of the Scripture for the child of God in Second Timothy 3:16,17 and in Second Timothy 2:15. He counseled the younger preacher to give attention to reading, exhortation, and doctrine (1 Tim. 4:13). There will be a positive increase in numerous and important matters in the life of the child of God who spends much time in the reading and study of the Word of God. Please consider four of those with me.
One who spends much time in reading and study of the Bible will increase in more and more knowledge. How many times have you read through the Old Testament? Has it been enough that you have understood, more and more, the relationship between it and the New Testament? Along with their total agreement, it is amazing the common words which exist in the Old and New Testaments. For instance, when Jesus sent the apostles on the limited commission He told them that a man’s foes shall be those of his own household. As I was reading through the Old Testament book of Micah just this morning, I came to this verse: “For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law, a man’s enemies are the men of his own house (Micah 7:6). Sounds much like Matthew 10:35-36 and Luke 12:53, does it not? The more one studies the more his understanding between to the two testaments, and his knowledge in general, will increase. Knowing the word is essential to living right and acquiring the knowledge to teach others.
The faithful child of God who spends much time with the Scripture will grow spiritually and will commit himself to be a more diligent servant of Christ. What more proof of that would one need than the simple verse of Romans 7:7? “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, thou shalt not covet.” Obviously, it is not enough to simply know the scripture to live a pure life and be the servant of Christ one should be. One must make the applications to his own life, but let us make no mistake about it, growth and service begin with study, for study, when a pure mind is present, leads to obedience.
When the Christian spends much time studying the Scripture, his sorrow over and love for the lost will increase. When I was a boy, having just obeyed the Gospel, but not yet versed well enough to teach others (or so I thought), there were people, one in particular, who meant a great deal to me. As I read and study today, how I sorrow for all of those individuals, especially that one, and it is my prayer that one day I will be able to communicate with that person again and put forth an effort to teach him the Gospel. My time spent with God’s Word; makes me sorrow for the lost, and that sorrow must lead to more and more seeking and using occasions to teach. If you are like me, you have those of your own family for whose souls you sorrow. Do you have relatives living in sin who are members of the church, but who have gone astray? I do. It is not uncommon in my family for those who are Christians in name only to be living in adulterous marriages. In addition, it is not uncommon that other relatives continue their relationships with them as though they are still faithful children of God. These latter ones need to read the fifth chapter of First Corinthians and take note that neither here, nor in any other passage regarding the matter of fellowship is there any indication that family members are exempt from the discipline set forth in the scripture. As Paul had great heaviness and continual sorrow for his kinsman according to the flesh (Rom. 9:2), so must we. We must also do as Paul did, and make every attempt to teach them out of their error and sin. Dearly beloved, consistent reading and study of the scriptures should and will increase one’s sorrow for those who are lost in sin. An understanding that what the Bible teaches applies to me, will increase my efforts to rescue the perishing with the beloved Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The fourth thing is akin to the last one. If one will continue his study of the Word of God and possess the correct attitude when doing so, it will equip the individual to be a better soldier of Jesus Christ. Make no mistake about it, we are soldiers in an army (1 Cor. 10:4; 1 Tim. 1:18; 2 Tim. 2:3,4). Our war is against the devil, who is the greatest of all enemies of mankind. Our war is against sin which is the ultimate weapon of Satan. Satan has many devices, but we have the word of God which when known and applied is greater than all of the evils of the wily one. We have the armor of God, and one part of the armor is the Word of God (Eph. 6:17). The Hebrews writer describes the sword in these words, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12). A sword never removed from its scabbard will not get the job done.
We live in the most terrible and turbulent times of my lifetime and yours. As our nation and the whole world about us sink deeper and deeper into the mire of sin, still many members of the Lord’s spiritual body neglect the study of the Scriptures. Over and over the children of God are warned and encouraged to spend much time in study, but many ignore the exhortation. These are missing out on the only source of information telling them how to live and will encourage them into action with both promises and warnings which are based on one’s obedience or disobedience. Take advantage of the Book of God and live by it, for the day will come when you and I will give an account of all things done in the body. Among the bad things is ignorance of the Will of God!