Part 2: Love His Word
Wednesday 1 Mar, 2023
One of the books that our 20s-30s reading group recently read together is the well-known Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan. If you’ve not read it yet, you must! It’s a phenomenal book that takes you on the adventure of the life of a man called Christian, the ups and downs, the highs and lows. Ultimately it is a story about the life of every Christian. John Bunyan was a man so steeped in Scripture that Charles Sturgeon said that he was a living Bible and that if you cut him he’d bleed Scripture.
We all know that a person cannot literally be so steeped in the Bible that we would bleed Scripture, but wouldn’t it be lovely if that sentiment was true of us all? I would love it if the outside world looked in on our lives as Christians and saw people who were so transformed by Scripture, so saturated in God’s Word and so devoted to God that our hunger for the Bible would never be satisfied.
That brings me to the second part of our series on the four key ‘loves’ that should be seen in the life of every Christian. The four loves are: love the Lord, love His Word, love His people and love the lost. The second key love in the life of a Christian is that we should be characterised as a people who love God’s Word. But why should Christians love God’s Word and what does that practically look like to grow in that love?
There are plenty of reasons for why we, as Christians, should love God’s Word but let me just draw your attention to two of them.
The first is that God has given us His Word, the Bible, so that we can know Him. In the Bible God reveals Himself to the world and gives us information about who He is, how He works, what His will for the world is and how He interacts with His creation. We live in a world where many people look for religious experiences, they long to hear from a ‘higher power’. In the Bible God speaks to us, tells us about our need to be saved and about how He as our loving Creator wants to be in a relationship with us. We should love God’s Word because it is through the Bible that God speaks to us and reveals Himself to us.
The second reason that Christians should love God’s Word is because it is an extension of our love for God. I love my wife, but if I do not listen to her when she speaks, if I do not take the time to invest in our relationship and spend time with her, then I’m not being a good husband and I’m not showing her that I love her. As Christians one of the ways that we express our love for the Lord is by loving His Word. Jesus puts it this way in John 15:21 “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
There is plenty more that could be said, but that will do for now, there’s two reasons why we should love God’s Word. But if you’re anything like me, you’ll be thinking “Yes, I understand that, but what does it practically look like to love God’s Word?”
What does it look like to love God’s Word?
There have been plenty books written on this topic and I would be happy to recommend a couple to you if you want. Countless pages have been written on how Christians should approach the Bible, how we can grow in our understanding of God’s Word and how it should shape our lives. Therefore, this short article isn’t going to give us all the answers, but I want to highlight three things that we can do to grow in our love for God’s Word.
The first thing we must do is read the Bible! It sounds obvious, I know, but the reality is that for some people the only time they pick up a Bible is during a service on a Sunday morning. But as the children’s song says “read your Bible, pray every day and you’ll grow, grow, grow”. When we spend time in God’s Word we fill our minds with eternal matters and by doing so we will be made more into the image of Jesus as we are transformed by the living Word of God. Psalm 1 puts it this way
“Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.” (Psalm 1:1-3)
They way we grow as Christians, the way that we become people who bear fruit for Jesus as our faith is put into action every day, is by spending time in the Bible, reading what God says and meditating on it. That’s why many Christians regularly do Bible reading plans, where they read through the whole Bible over different periods of time (a year, two years, etc.). And what often happens is the more we read God’s Word the more we will love to read God’s Word as we encounter our living Saviour. To love God’s Word, we need to read it.
Delight in it
The longest chapter in the Bible is Psalm 119. The whole chapter is a marvelous and intricate piece of Hebrew poetry, a Psalm of worship and an expression of love for God’s commands. If you read the Psalm you can’t help but come away with an overwhelming sense that the writer loved God’s Word. Psalm 119:97 says “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.” And verse 103 says “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” 10 times in Psalm 119 the writer says that he delights in God’s Word. It wasn’t a duty for him to spend time reading God’s Law, it wasn’t a task that he forced himself to do, but it was a joy that he eagerly awaited. He longed to spend time in God’s Word because it was a delight to him. I pray that this would be our response to the Bible as well. When we grasp the privilege that it is to have the Bible in our own language we should want nothing more than to read it regularly and delight in it.
Last but certainly not least, as Christians who love God’s Word we must live it. We should be a people who practice what we preach and put what we read about in the Bible into practice as we go about our daily lives. The Bible isn’t just a historical document that is nice to read, but it is God’s way of speaking to us and guiding us to live the way He created us to live. Psalm 119:105 puts it this way “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” And verse 104 says “I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path.” What the writer of Psalm 119 read in God’s Word transformed the way he lived and pushed him to live for God’s glory and to follow God’s will. That should be our response too. As we read God’s Word, as we get to know God better through it, we should be challenged and our lives transformed to become more like Jesus as the Holy Spirit changes our lives.
The Bible is a dangerous book because when you read it you won’t be the same again.
These thoughts only scratch the surface of what it means to love God’s Word, and my prayer is that we, as a whole church family, would grow in this love, that we would all feast daily on God’s Word and be a community that is transformed as God’s Word challenges, convicts and encourages us to be more like Jesus.