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Why should Scripture reading be a priority for every Christian?

As Christians in a culture that demands a busy schedule it is important that we contemplate this basic yet important question: why should Scripture reading be a priority for every Christian. To answer this question, we will examine two passages of Scripture: Matthew 4.1-4 and 2 Timothy 3.16-17.

(Matthew 4.1-4) (ESV)
4Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

When face to face with Satan, Jesus Christ responded with the Scriptures. Specifically, He quotes Deuteronomy 8.3. The Son of God relied upon the Word of God as His weapon to combat temptation from the Evil One. His response is a good example for us to follow. If Jesus Christ relied upon the Scriptures to combat the temptation to sin then we would be wise to do the same. We should strive to follow His strategy of looking to the written word, found within our Bibles, to combat the temptation to sin—whether that temptation originates from the Evil One, our own flesh, or the world.

Secondly, note the priority that Jesus gives the Scriptures: “Man shall not live by bread alone,but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Mat. 4.4). Here, we can glean the priority that Christ gives the Scriptures in the life of God’s children. Specifically, He equivocates the Scriptures with food—an absolute necessity: “. . . not by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Mat. 4.4). Take a moment to consider the implications of this comparison. Just as we prioritize the need for food to survive (“man shall not live by bread alone’”) likewise the reborn child of God should prioritize the consumption of Scriptures to ensure their overall vitality. Consider the following:  If we do not eat then we become malnourished. Consequently, malnutrition leads to numerous physical ailments. Likewise, if we do not consume our spiritual food, the Scriptures, then we risk becoming malnourished. If we have access to food then we never allow ourselves to go without it. Similarly, if we have access to the Scriptures we should never allow ourselves to go without daily consumption of these written words of God. If Jesus Christ placed such priority on the Scriptures then likewise we should strive to do the same—relying on His wisdom and guidance through the Spirit to implement the written word in our own lives. The Christian must train his mind to see the Scriptures as a necessary sustenance for his overall health no less crucial to existence then bread and water. A gift, like the fruit of the vine and the herd of the field, meant to nourish and grow us as children of the Living God.

(2 Timothy 3.16) (ESV)
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 

First, note that every page in canonized Scripture has a divine origin: God (i.e., “All Scripture is breathed out by God . . . .” (2. Tim. 3.16) (emphasis added)). Consider the magnitude, the significance, the power behind this 66 book message given to us. The One who created the universe has written through the hands of His people a specific message for you. The One who holds the authority over the powerful storm, the greatest invention, the sincerest Love, has a documented, tangible communication to share with you. What a privilege it is to have access to such a gift of grace. We are unwise to take this wonderful gift for granted.

Secondly, note the utility of our Bibles: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” (2 Tim. 3.16) (emphasis added). Look at the actions listed in the series set forth in verse 16: teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness. When put into the mind of the Christian through accurate expositional/exegetical teaching, and sown into his heart by the Holy Spirit, our Bibles become a most efficient tool used by our Lord in the process of sanctification (i.e., completing us and equipping us for every good work (see v.17)). The contractor does not allow his best tool to collect dust in the back of his truck. Likewise, the Christian should not allow his best tool, the Bible, to collect dust on the bottom of his night stand.

Lastly, note the promise that our Lord issues through His Apostle: all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for a reason—to complete us and equip us for “every good work.” (See 2 Tim. 3.17) (emphasis added). Every day we wake up to very different circumstances, challenges, and struggles. The “how to guides” seem to differ from one person in the church to the next. However, God promises us that our Bibles contain the wisdom to equip us for “every” good work. Though every specific circumstance may not be addressed, we are promised the sufficiency of the Word to shape our hearts and minds so that He might steer us in the path of His will, and for His glory, no matter the complexity of the situation or the horrific nature of our circumstances.  His Scriptures are reliable guides in every situation.

Echoing some of the famous language of the Reformation, it is encouraging to know that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. That our intellectual merit, our knowledge of Scriptural detail, does not change our status with God but only the merit of Christ can truly transform us from spiritually dead to spiritual alive; from separated creature to adopted child of God. However, and without diminishing this good news, we must remember that the same grace that streams through the salvific work of Jesus’ birth, life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension also streams through His giving of the written Scriptures. A written message for us, a gift that we never deserved. Given the value, necessity, and power attributable to these words of the Living God, the logical question is not why should the Christian prioritize daily Scripture reading, but instead, why shouldn’t he?

Michael French the Youth Bible Teacher and the Young Adult Bible Study Teacher at First Southern Baptist Church of Grandview (“FSBCG”). Michael is currently pursuing a Masters in Divinity through Liberty University, Rawlings School of Divinity (Online) with a focus on theology. Michael and his family reside in Princeton, West Virginia where he practices law working with children as a guardian ad litem and representing parents in the court system as they strive to overcome drug addiction and reunite their families.  Michael and his wife Amanda have been serving members at FSBCG for over 3 years.