When Brad Harrub was with us last month, he and I discussed what we thought was the greatest danger facing the church today. We both agreed that Biblical illiteracy was our biggest challenge. Too many Christians are simply ignorant of the teaching found in our Creator’s guidebook. Just as we couldn’t assemble most high tech gadgets without directions, neither should we expect to live a life that pleases the Lord if we don’t take the time to read what pleases the Lord!
Of course, this has been a constant problem through the ages. Israel of old went so far as to lose God’s Word completely. It was so unimportant to them that they misplaced it just like you would an old, worn out pair of socks. Speaking through the prophet, God said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children” (Hosea 4:6, ESV). I think those words are still as relevant today: God’s people, His church, will indeed be destroyed if we don’t know what God’s desire for us is. Like the Bereans of Acts 17:11, we can’t take someone’s word as to what the Bible teaches. We also need to “search the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so”.
Daily Bible reading is not just a good thing…it is as essential as eating for Christians. We must devour God’s Word, feeding on it as if we were starving. Paul once wrote, “Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16). The Bible makes it clear that ‘woe’ will come on us if we do not read His Word! God’s Word is truly a lamp to our feet and a light to our path! Jesus warded off the temptation of Satan saying, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). What is the ‘word that comes from the mouth of God?’ It is the Holy Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:16) and it is there that we find salvation through Jesus (2 Timothy 3:15). Christians cannot please God unless they increase in knowledge of Him (Colossians 1:10) and the way we do that is to make reading the Bible a top priority every day of our lives.
Along with studying the Word, there are other resources available to us that can help us to grow spiritually. These should NEVER take the place of actually reading the Bible, but they can certainly help amplify the truth found in Scripture. A few weeks ago I shared with you some of the internet resources I use to help me study and prepare sermons and classes. Some of you have asked for suggestions for more additional reading material that can assist you in getting deeper into God’s Word. Here are some of the magazines, periodicals and books that I read or have read that can supplement your daily study:
Magazines and Periodicals:
The Gospel Advocate (Not only is the magazine a must read, but you can go to their website and find many great books and other study material).
Think (This is Brad Harrub’s publication. It is an excellent resource for families and includes something for everyone).
The Spiritual Sword (A quarterly periodical full of sound Biblical teaching).
Here some brotherhood books that I have read in the past year that I would recommend:
Preachers Wake Up! and Beyond Sunday (J.J Turner)
Love More, Sin Less and The Game Plan (Aubrey Johnson)
In the Beginning (Justin Rogers)
Pure Religion (David Bragg)
Alive in the Spirit (Jimmy Jividen)
Providence (Cecil May, Jr.)
A Faith Built on Sand and Adrift (Phil Sanders)
Hearts on Fire (Don Humphrey)
Whatever Happened to Fried Chicken and Because I Said So (Celine Sparks)
While I hope these books and magazines are helpful, please don’t forget the importance of daily study. May we all pray the psalmist’s prayer, “Revive me, O Lord, according to Your Word!” (Psalm 119:107)