Wednesday, April 7th 2 Timothy 3:14-17

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, and how from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:14-17

Some things (like going to the bathroom) are best done when we feel like doing them. Other things (like saving money) are best done over time in a methodical, disciplined manner whether or not we might feel like it. Listening to God speak to us through the Bible is like saving money. It is best done over time in a methodical, disciplined manner.

The Bible is God’s gift to us. Certainly God can speak to us through music, through many types of literature. There is no end to the ways that the Spirit can tweak us with signs of God’s presence and loving power. But there’s nothing that speaks with the authenticity, or the authority, of the Bible.

Together with prayer, listening on a daily basis to “the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ” is a crucial discipline for spiritual growth.

So how do you do it?

After a few years of personal experience and working with others in growing their understanding and appreciation of the Bible, I have come to understand that the biggest hindrance is the idea that we have to “understand” all that we read in the Bible. People begin to read in a burst of spiritual enthusiasm and good intentions…and then quit because they “just don’t get it.”

But that really isn’t the reason why they quit.

The real reason isn’t that they didn’t “get it”, it’s that they didn’t “do it”! Their plan was faulty. They thought that reading the Bible was something they would do as long as their enthusiasm lasted. When they came to a day where they no longer felt like reading the Bible, they quit.

I’ve come to believe that the real key to using the Bible is just that – using the Bible. Nothing beats actually spending time reading (or listening if you get a Bible on tape for your car) to the Bible.

First, you begin with a goal, a specific, measurable, attainable goal. “I will read the entire Bible this year.” “I will read the New Testament from Matthew through Revelation three times in six months.”

Second, you create a means of marking your progress. You draw a chart that you fill in, a calendar that you mark off, or some other means of keeping track. For a few years, I used the “Daily Walk” Bible which is divided into daily readings that took me through the Bible in a year. Whatever works for you, the point is that you mark your progress toward a goal.

Third, you do it. You don’t worry about not understanding, you just concentrate on filling in your chart, doing your daily reading. You might also have opportunity for more disciplined Bible study if you are in a Sunday School class, a small group Bible study or, after you’ve been at it for a few years, you might be doing more intentional study on your own. But it’s best to begin at the very beginning – putting in the time, doing the work, to develop a sense of familiarity with the scope and sweep of the Bible’s stories.

I remember one day when I was driving down the road on the way to visit someone in the hospital. As I wondered what was going on with me and in me as I was preparing for my visit, a Bible story from John 9 popped into my head. It asked the question I was asking. Jesus spoke words which encouraged me. Had I not made the investment of growing in my use of the Bible, I wouldn’t have had that story in my “spiritual bank”, available to me when I needed it.

Just do it.

Let us pray: Your Word can be a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. It can also be a complete mystery leaving us feeling inadequate and uninformed. Certainly there are Christians who live an entire lifetime and never develop much familiarity, appreciation or understanding of the Bible. But their spiritual lives are impoverished and they are missing out on one of the means of knowing you better. Create a fire in us to listen to you through the words of scripture in a daily, disciplined way. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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8 Responses to “Wednesday, April 7th 2 Timothy 3:14-17”

  1. Nicki Says:

    I appreciate the fact that you give us permission to not understand everything we read, but encourage us to carry on regardless.

    Thank you for your daily encouraging words. I do appreciate them!

  2. Gene Says:

    Pastor Kerry,

    Thanks for the encouragement. I have read the Bible through in one year using a very good plan. The twist for me was reading it aloud, to myself. I would encourage everyone to try this, it may or may not be for you. But, for me it was wonderful. You talk about understanding coming from hearing the word. I did not even recognize it as my voice reading.

  3. Sharon Williams Says:

    Thank you for today’s reading. I relish those clear directions that I can follow for reading the Bible.

  4. Ann Says:

    I also appreciated the fact that it’s okay not to understand but to continue to read. I also liked the idea of listening to the Bible on tape in the car when you travel.

    Never gave it a thought as to why we have two ears and only one mouth, until now.

  5. Judith Anderson Says:

    I will start again right now.

  6. GT Says:

    Pastor Kerry–

    i’ve just started thinking about scripture, and i just wrote some musings about this passage, and i thought i better go see what others thought about the same passage.

    Some interesting ideas you have here. The whole idea of what constitutes effective teaching regarding sacred texts. Especially what constitutes effective ‘self-teaching,’ begun by reading constantly, and letting future experiences and moments of insight clarify the texts.

    My own musings were about ‘teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.’

    thanks for the new ideas!

    GT

  7. Resources for 2 Timothy 3:14 - 17 Says:

    […] Wise (2 Timothy 4:9-16) – Brackenhurst Baptist Church1Wednesday, April 7th 2 Timothy 3:14-17 « Daily Devotions […]

  8. Carlee Says:

    Use of loudspeakers – may it in the hindu temples, mosques or churches – should be banned. If Hindus want to pay, so be it. let them pray by chanting bhajans, but why they should telecast aloud to all the people living in the neohobiurgohd ? Those who want to takepart in the bhajan and other ceremoniens- well.. let them come to the temple.

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