2016 has begun and once again Bible reading plans have been placed in the back of the auditorium. I hope in 2015 you spent time reading and studying your Bible. The Bible is vital to the health of every Christian, young, old, smart, slow, newly baptized or baptized decades ago. There is always more to learn, more to understand and more of God know. Paul encouraged Timothy to “rightly handle the Word of Truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). The only way to handle it rightly is to handle it regularly. Regular Bible study and reading helps you to know God better, it helps you from being misled and it allows you to learn from God’s Word firsthand. One of the great blessings given to us through the new covenant is that we no longer need someone else to approach God on our behalf. Jesus’ death on the cross tore the curtain (Matthew 27:51, Mark 15:38, Luke 23:45) separating us from God in the Holy of Holies.
I encourage you to find a new reading plan or even a new version. Sometimes, I like a paraphrase to read, and a more literal translation to study from. Whatever you choose—choose to spend more time in your Bible this year. Not only will an increase in God’s word benefit you, it will benefit others around you. The Psalmist writes (Psalm 119:105) that the Word of God is “lamp to [the] feet and a light to [the] path.” When you are walking firmly on the well-lit path, those around you will see the path more clearly themselves. Paul tells Timothy “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete…” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Scripture comes from God and it contains everything you or I need to know—when we ready and study Scripture, we are “thoroughly equipped for every good work”. Your time in the Word of God prepares you for everything. The Bible will instruct you on what to do and how to do it. It will tell you how to respond in every situation and to every problem. You can find examples, direction, warning, doctrine, encouragement and correction within the pages of God’s word.
Most importantly, the Word of God will reduce the sin in your life if you let it. In Psalm 199:11, the Psalmist declares that he has “stored up” God’s word in his heart so that he might not sin against God. Spending time in the Word will not make you perfect and it will not prevent all sin. But it will bring you closer and closer to God you will notice a difference in every aspect of your life—including a lessening of your desire to sin.