Worth Reading–October 5, 2011
Some Helpful Recommendations When Reading Scripture
Seeing the Scriptures as simply an instruction book to help you live a better life can actually be a very dangerous thing. Reading Scripture in that way has the potential to create a life of man-centeredness, legalism, pride, and self-righteousness. It misses the point. It changes the focus. It neglects the overarching purposes and themes of God’s Word. We must read Scripture with a deep sense of what is primary. We must understand as we go along, the central themes of God’s revelation. We must focus on the all-encompassing point of God’s purposes. The following list is meant to give some simple recommendations to God’s people to avoid some common pitfalls when doing regular Bible reading.
1. Read the Bible as a single, continuous, real story of God’s work in calling out a people for His name’s sake (for Himself).
For the LORD will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the LORD to make you a people for himself. I Samuel 12:22
Yet he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make known his mighty power. Psalm 106:8
Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take from them a people for his name. Acts 15:14
2. Read the Bible with the understanding that God is the central character and “star” in this story. It is His story for His glory!
For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another. Isaiah 48:11
Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” Isaiah 43:7
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. Romans 11:36
3. Read the Bible seeking to see and understand God’s gracious work through Christ of redeeming wicked and undeserving sinners. In other words, seek to see the gospel being worked out no matter where you are reading. In the Old Testament, focus on God’s promises as given in His covenants and as pointing to Christ. In the New Testament, focus on the fulfillment of God’s promises as seen completely in Christ.
You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me. John 5:39
Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him. John 12:41
4. Read the Bible seeing God’s kingdom being ushered in through Jesus Christ. Understand that believers are now, in this time in redemptive history, in the tension of the “already” and “not yet” of God’s kingdom. In other words, although His kingdom has burst into this present evil world, we await its fullness upon Christ’s return.
Who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father. Galatians 1:4
He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son. Colossians 1:13
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. I John 3:1,2
5. Read the Bible seeing God’s great, sacrificial, steadfast love for His people, culminating in the cross of Jesus Christ. Keep in mind the object of this love—to bring you into a relationship with God in which He is your center, and supreme treasure and the object of your joy.
Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. John 17:24
“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” Revelation 4:11
And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. Revelation 5:9
6. Read the Bible seeking to see God’s glory and greatness, recognizing that you were created to be satisfied by something outside of yourself—namely to be satisfied by God!
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10
Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:25,26
Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.’ Isaiah 46:9,10
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:11,12