HOW TO READ THE BIBLE
"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16,17).
Consider the seriousness of the times in which we live
Surrounded by base distractions and attractions, the believer is pressed on every side. Satan is aggressive to turn our eyes away from God, Christ, and Scripture. This is a day when we must redeem the time, or buy up every opportunity. As it is written, "Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil" (Eph 5:15-16). And again, "Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity" (Col 4:5).
Think about the level of Scriptural illiteracy that dominates our day
Here is something startling to the soul of the sensitive. There has been a marked deterioration in general Scriptural knowledge over the past 25-30 years. While there are some evidences of renewed interest in "religious" things, a corresponding increase in Bible knowledge is not apparent. This is a hindrance of gargantuan proportions, and is not to be viewed lightly, or with indifference. We are now living in the third generation that has been without positive direction or general exposure to the Laws and will of God.
The Bible is more than a mere book; it is the Word of God!
It is true, the word "Bible" means "book." But it is THE book, not A book! Scripture refers to the Word in this manner. "Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God" (Heb 10:7, KJV). When it comes to the declaration of the will of God, this is THE book! Our primary acquaintance is to be with its sacred words. They were given by the Almighty, "inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work" (2 Tim 3:16-17). Several considerations are worthy of your contemplation.
God's mind revealed
The Bible is the revelation of the mind of God. Here the mind of the Lord is made known to the sons of men. Apart from Scripture, God's mind cannot be known. It cannot be discovered by studying the universe or by philosophical probings. There is not a valid thought concerning God that does not have its root in Scripture.
A record of God's work
This is the record of Divine working in history. The Word of God does not deal with peripheral issues and incidents. It cuts away historical matters that would detract from our understanding of Him. Great sections of human history are passed over as though they did not exist. The reason for this is found in the centrality of God's purpose.
God's purpose revealed in history
Scripture is a record of the execution of "eternal purpose." It does record history, but it is more than mere history. The hand of God may be seen in all of the record, whether it is the fall of Babel, the destruction of Egypt, or the rise of Babylon. The destruction of Sodom and the temporary preservation of Nineveh revealed the working of God. The fall of Lot's wife and the rise of Joseph are declarations of a Sovereign God, working His purpose amidst the affairs of men.
Jesus Christ revealed
The Gospel is particularly called "the record God gave of His Son" (1 John 5:10-11). Everything was made by Christ and for Christ (Col 1:16). He is prefigured in the sacrificial system, foretold by the prophets, announced by John the Baptist, and proclaimed by the Apostles. The Scriptures testify, or bear witness, of Him (John 5:39). Jesus is to the Bible what the spirit is to tbe body.
Right and wrong made known
The Bible is a revelation of right and wrong, sin and righteousness, good and evil. It delineates the nature of good and evil, and declares they are opposed to each other. Here is where good and evil are defined, illustrated, and expounded.
Our spiritual environment made known
Scripture reveals the moral arena in which we exist, between heaven and hell. This is the realm of choice and decision. Life in this world is truly a "valley of decision" (Joel 3:14). We are surrounded by influences that call for us to decide. Behind those influences are spiritual powers: the Holy Spirit and the wicked one; Jesus and Satan; Divine influences and those of wicked principalities and powers.
Our need and God's remedy
The Bible is a book that defines the human condition and proclaims Divine provision for it. Those that want to know "the real story" do not consult with psychiatry or sociology. Economists and political analysts do not know the real human condition, and therefore have no valid solutions. The Word of God precisely defines the human malady and then declares the Divine remedy.
Person and purpose
The Bible defines the Lord's Person and purpose. Philosophy cannot define the true God, or make known His desires for humanity. An prodigious analysis of heavenly bodies cannot make God and His mind known. These things are revealed exclusively in Scripture.
The unseen made known
Here, in the Word of God, the veil between this world and the world to come is lifted. We are given to see beyond time into eternity. Without the Bible, men guess about the world and the time to come. With the Bible, they become informed of these things.
A shining beacon
Throughout the centuries, the Word has shone like a heavenly beacon on a troubled world. It has enlightened the path of many a pilgrim, giving hope to the hopeless, and resources to the desolate. Here is a beacon that is meant to shine, and shine it does!
The real story
The Bible boldly announces this world is cursed, and declares the way of escape. Men seek to preserve nature, while God seeks to preserve mankind. The Divine edict has gone forth, and it will not be rescinded; "Heaven and earth shall pass away." Scripture charts the path of escape, showing us how to survive the demise of the universe, and enter into the presence of the Lord.