In his book on “Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life,” Donald S. Whitney states, “No Spiritual Discipline is more important than the intake of God’s Word. Nothing can substitute for it. There is no healthy Christian life apart from the milk and meat of Scripture.”
As a believer, one may think that reading the Scripture would be the most important part of their day. Why? The Scripture reveals the Living God to His people. As we read through the Holy Word of God, we are taught about the law of God, and it is revealed to us that Jesus, God in the flesh (John 1:14), stepped down into this world and died as a willing substitute for His people. The Word of God teaches us that this was the only way for His people to be reconciled to Him, for we were separated from God due to sin (the breaking of God’s law). The pages of Scripture teach that we are to repent and believe in Him and that this is the appropriate response to the Amazing Grace shown to God’s people through the giving of His Son. The believer is to intake these truths to grow in faith and knowledge of Christ just as we intake nutrients. We all know that we must eat and stay hydrated to live a healthy life. Well, the same goes for the believer and the “eating” of God’s Word. For the believer to grow, the believer must eat. Joshua 1:8 – This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”
It is through this consumption of God’s Word that we grow and learn how to live. The Apostle Paul likens it to training as one would train for a physical competition – 1 Timothy 4:8 – “for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” So, how does one train by nourishing their body with the right supplements, and there is no supplement that can nourish better than the Word of God. For us to live in a manner worthy of the calling, we must search and study the Scriptures. Further down in his book Mr. Whitney says this, “None of this eternally essential information can be found anywhere else except the Bible.”
The problem is that we just don’t do it. We have heard it preached, and we have read of its importance in books like Mr. Whitney’s, but we just don’t take the time to do it, and for that, the Church is suffering from spiritual malnutrition. Mr. Whitney goes on to say that the amount of Bible intake for those who have Bibles is not much different from those in third-world countries that possess no Scripture at all. It is astonishing. This must be rectified for the Christian to grow. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 teaches, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” The Word of God equips the believer, and how many of us are so ill-equipped? Whether it is because we are so busy that we forget to read or we just neglect to read for the sake of misplaced priorities, we need to remember that “man does not live on bread alone, but every word the proceeds from the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4)” Bible intake is the most important Spiritual Discipline for the believer, and we must understand that.
While there are other ways for a believer to intake the Word of God, whether it be by hearing it through a sermon, studying this week’s sermon or a specific passage that interest you, or simply memorizing your favorite Bible passages, if you are not nourishing yourself with Scripture you need to start. Thinking of all the ways to intake God’s Word may be overwhelming, so I will say, just start reading it.
I leave you with this. David Mathis, in his article “How to Read the Bible Better,” states this “In the end, there is no better way to learn to read the Bible than to read the Bible. Many ambitious souls, with a burst of inspiration or new-year resolve, start on aggressive Bible-reading regiments. Far fewer truly form the daily habit and genuinely endure for decades. What you do every day, for years on end, will drastically change your life. God means for us to engage his word like this, day after day, for a lifetime of enjoyment and discovery.”