We all know it is important to read the Bible – but do we recognize that it is absolutely essential to our growth and maturity as Christians?
Our involvement in the Word of God is a spiritual barometer that determines if we are thriving or dying in our spiritual life.
Here are three reasons why Scripture is central to discipleship and our growth in Christ:
1. Scripture is Truth
Christians believe that God’s Word is, in fact, God’s words. Though carried along by men to write it, God through the Spirit actually wrote what we call Scripture. It is not fairy tales, good moral stories, or ancient narrative.
God’s Word is God’s words.
Numbers 23.19 says, “God is not a man that He should lie.” Likewise Titus 1.2 declares that God cannot lie.
If God cannot lie and the Word of God is the words of God, then it too cannot lie.
John 17.17 says, “Your Word is Truth.” God’s Word is Truth.
If we desire growth and victory in our Christian life, we must base it upon a foundation of Truth. God’s Word is Truth which enunciates the Person of Truth, Jesus Christ.
Jesus says in John 8.31-32, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Later He said in John 17.3, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
Freedom, life, victory, and greater intimacy with Jesus come from knowing Him (Truth). We must know Him and His Word if we want to progress in the Christian life.
2. Scripture becomes the standard and measuring rod to test everything against (including our lives)
The essence of discipleship is a process where we become more and more like Christ. Our lives begin to match His – which demands a pattern, a standard by which our lives are measured against.
Throughout the Old Testament, God gave Moses, David, and several of the prophets what Scripture calls “the pattern.” It was a pattern for the tabernacle and the temple, but when you see “the pattern” in light of Jesus, you realize that God is revealing the pattern of perfect righteousness.
This pattern was culminated and climaxed in the person of Jesus. He is perfect righteousness. Jesus reveals how a Christian is suppose to live – as a man (or woman) filled with and dependent upon the Spirit of God. Yes He is God, but He also demonstrated how you and I are to live.
God’s Word portrays the standard by which our lives must be measured. If my life is not aligned to Scripture, my life is in the wrong (not Scripture). It is a rock, a measuring tape, an unchanging model for life. It reveals that everything I need for life and Godliness is found in Jesus (2 Peter 1.3).
Everything I read, hear, study, or come across must come under the authority of Scripture. What it says, goes. When it speaks, I don’t argue, negotiate, or look for a loop-hole – I bend my knee, submit, and say, “Yes, Lord!” The Word of God becomes the authority and standard in my life and I am to “Berean test” everything against it.
If I desire discipleship in my life, the Word must become the plumb-line that directs and determines the boundaries of my life. I must bend under its authority, not force Scripture to say or do what I want.
Growth and maturity in the Christian life is linked to my openness to, my position under, and my interaction with God’s Word.
3. The Written Word reveals the Living Word
If you want to know Jesus, you need to know His Word. There is an incredible interaction between the Written Word (Scripture) and the Living Word (Jesus).
We understand that the Bible is not Jesus. We do not worship a book. We do not flip its pages to ward off demons.
But there is something different about this Book that is unlike any other – God Himself not only wrote it but reveals Himself through it. I do not come to the Bible for mere academic understanding, I come to know Him.
As I get into the Written Word, the Author Himself – the Spirit of God – reveals to me Jesus.
Speaking of the Holy Spirit, Jesus in John 16 says, “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you” (verses 13-14).
One of the roles of the Holy Spirit is to reveal and glorify Jesus, to take you by the metaphorical hand and guide you into all Truth (Jesus).
If you desire greater intimacy with Jesus, you must be in the Word. Yes God can reveal Himself to you in other ways, but He foremost uses Scripture. It is His Words to YOU – His declaration of who He is, what He is like, and what He desires your life to look like.
Scripture is absolutely essential to our growth and maturity as Christians, and critical for our understanding and intimacy with Jesus. True Christian discipleship hinges upon God’s Word.
Our involvement in the Word becomes the measurement, that spiritual barometer, determining whether our lives as believers are flourishing or waning.