It is impossible to overstate the value of studying God’s Word and the benefits accrued to those who do. For evidence of this we need look no further than the first verse of John’s account of the gospel where he tells us, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1, NKJV). That doctrinally significant verse informs us that Jesus is both the Word and God.
Consequently, when we study Scripture we study the mind of Christ and the heart of God. We learn not only of God’s character, attributes, and ways, we encounter Him in a dynamic, meaningful, and personal manner. That encounter, in turn, changes lives and establishes transformational faith in the hearts of those who believe.
During His ministry Jesus linked immersion in God’s Word with authentic faith, telling His followers, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed” (John 8:31, NKJV). To fully appreciate Jesus’ statement we need to understand that abide indicates permanence and residence, and therefore means much more than an occasional or casual reading of God’s Word. Jesus is essentially telling His followers that those who reside and remain in His word truly believe.
Perhaps the most powerful description of Scripture is found in Hebrews. “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12, NKJV).
We could discuss that verse for hours but let’s focus on that last clause for the moment. God’s Word detects and reveals the secret motivations and desires of our hearts. The importance of that truth becomes clear when we recall the insight of Jeremiah 17:9, which declares, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?”
The heart constantly deceives. It convinces us our motives are pure when they are not. It insists we believe when we do not. It persuades us to view some Scripture through a selfish and worldly lens instead of under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Over and over it betrays us, peddling lies as truth and foolishness as wisdom. The antidote to such deception is found in God’s Word alone.
The psalmist identifies another benefit of scrutinizing Scripture when he proclaims, “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you”(Psalm 119:11, NLT). As we plant and nurture God’s Word in our hearts we become more like Christ and quicken the process of sanctification.
The Lord weighs in on the matter with these words, spoken through Joshua, “Study this book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do” (Joshua 1:8, NLT). Notice the conditional statement. A meaningful and successful life does not exist without reading and reflecting on Scripture regularly – day and night.
How often do you study and meditate on Scripture? If you do not abide in God’s Word on a regular basis why not begin establishing that habit today? Outside of committing your life to Christ, no decision will change your life more or give it more meaning.