When you sit down with God’s word, whether a hard copy or a digital version, what’s your goal?

Maybe you access the daily scripture and devotion in YouVersion or another Bible app. Or perhaps you start from a read-through-the-Bible plan, Open Windows, Guideposts, Jesus Talking, or another or hundreds of devotional books and magazines.

But why?

When I was a freshman at Oklahoma Baptist University, I took an Old Testament Survey class. At that point, the goal of reading the Bible was to pass the class. How I wish I had been interested in it as God’s word at the time! In fact, I am sad to think that the professor didn’t really encourage us to study it in that way, either.
Many times over the years since then my reason was that it was something I am supposed to do. Somewhat connected, but not exactly the same, is that it was the first thing on a To-Do list for each day.

Read Bible. Check!

As I have learned more about God’s word through good Bible teaching from good Bible teachers and preachers, as well as from the work needed to prepare to teach a passage for a Sunday School class, I’ve discovered that there is much more to be gained from accessing God’s word than the thrill of simply checking a box. And, by the way, for some of us that is really a thrill!

Of course, the Bible teaches us the attributes of scripture and the diverse benefits of studying, meditating, and memorizing (hiding) God’s word.

This list is not exhaustive, but let’s look at some of them together.

Attribute of Scripture: Inspired by God; profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, training in righteousness

Reasons to study: So we will be adequate, So we will be equipped for every good work

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.                2 Timothy 3:16-17

WOW! Paul didn’t leave much to the imagination about why we should be in the Word, did he?!

Don’t be distracted by the phrase “so the man of God” if that is in your translation. Paul was writing specifically to Timothy and teaching him how to raise up other pastors. But this applies to all believers!

The NASB version uses the word adequate to describe one of the results, and it’s not my favorite. It reminds me of a high-level US leader who described Queen Elizabeth II as “adequate” in his comments upon her death. I don’t think of that as a compliment.

To me adequate means okay. Just okay. One of Webster’s definitions is good enough. I want to be more than good enough, don’t you? Do you want to excel in your walk in Christ?

When I look at the Vine’s Complete Expository dictionary, it says the Greek here means complete. That’s the goal! Being complete.

Of course, Paul teaches us in Ephesians that we are created in Christ for good works, and here he says that we are equipped for those good works through Scripture.

Attribute of Scripture: Living and active, sharp and piercing, judges thoughts and intentions

Reason to study: It teaches us to see ourselves in light of scripture

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

If you want to understand yourself better, the writer of Hebrews says to get in God’s word, because it will lay you open and show you how to judge your thoughts and intentions.

That sounds painful, and we may want to avoid that kind of discomfort. But how much more intimacy will we have with Christ when we can see ourselves in light of Scripture?

Attribute of Scripture: Eternal, enduring

Reason to study: What we learn is not going to change and will be useful forever

Just as God is eternal, so is His word. Isn’t this attribute a compelling reason to know it?

The grass withers, the flower fades,
But the word of our God stands forever. Isaiah 40:8

Forever, O LORD,
Your word is settled in heaven. Psalms 119:89

Attribute of Scripture: Fruit fertilizer

Reason to study: Hearing and understanding God’s word multiplies the fruit in our lives

As believers, we will be known by the fruit we bear. God doesn’t make us figure out how to ensure we bear fruit or how to multiply it. The fruit comes from the seed and is produced by the Spirit. Truly hearing and understanding God’s word produces a great harvest.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, Galatians 5:22

“The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭13‬:‭23‬ ‭NLT‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Attribute of Scripture: Proof of being a disciple

Reason to study: Knowing the Truth results in freedom

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue [abide] in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:31-32

Often, when we quote verse 32, we leave out verse 31, which is key. John is a writer that gives us several guides to knowing we are a disciple of Christ both in his gospel and in his letters (a lesson for another time).

One of those signs of being a disciple is that we continue or abide in His word.  Not only that but we will know the truth.

How our culture not only fights against truth in general but THE truth. A singular truth.

Perhaps you have heard the analogy of bank employees learning how to identify counterfeit bills. They don’t learn by looking at counterfeits. They learn by studying TRUE currency.

This has always been important in discerning false teaching! Yet in this day of the 24-hour news cycle and so many media and social media access points, we are presented with a barrage of ideas that seem godly or biblical on the surface.

Abiding in the Word of God is the only way to be sure we will be able to discern THE truth!

Attribute of Scripture: Power of God

Reason to study: To have the power of God

For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18

I’ll never forget when this verse became compelling to me. In a blog post about the value of VBS, the writer addressed churches that typically have mostly their own church kids in their VBS. This is perceived by some as a negative and, as a VBS co-director, it has been discouraging for me at times.

The writer pointed to this verse to highlight that the gospel (the word of the cross) is the power of God. To whom? To those who are being saved. If you are in Christ, the gospel’s power is for you. It didn’t end when you took hold of Christ by faith. It is for you now.

Attribute of Scripture: Sword of the Spirit

Reason to study: To put on the whole armor

And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17

Paul admonishes us to fight the spiritual battles (and all our battles are spiritual) protected by the armor of God.

The ONLY weapon called out in this armor is the sword of the Spirit. Let us go into the battle completely prepared with the Spirit teaching us God’s word!

Attribute of Scripture: Can abide in you extravagantly

Reason to study: So you can walk in a Christ-like manner

Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Colossians 3:16

In Colossians 3, Paul gives us a pretty extensive list of behaviors and attitudes that should be the DNA of a believer. He sums up with verse 16, which to me indicates how that is going to be possible.

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus Philippians 2:5

Letting Scripture abide in you extravagantly is key to walking and thinking like Christ as Paul admonishes us in his letter to the Philippians. The Spirit will teach us through God’s word.

There Is More

We have just skimmed the surface, but I pray that this has expanded your vision of what is available to you by taking the time and submitting your heart to all God desires to do in you and through you when you dig into His word!

To study further, read and meditate on Psalm 119.  It’s a good chapter to take a section at a time so you can really marinate on how precious God’s word is!