So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.
I’ve read through the Bible once a year since I was eight. So, twelve times at this point. As I watch the believers around me who haven’t read their Bibles all the way through, I see how important it is. How important and beneficial it is to be so familiar with the words of God.
Let’s examine a few of the benefits given in Psalm 119:
God’s Word Teaches Us Knowledge
You have dealt well with Your servant,
O Lord, according to Your word.
Teach me good judgment and knowledge,
For I believe Your commandments.
Before I was afflicted I went astray,
But now I keep Your word.
You are good and do good;
Teach me your statutes.
This entire chapter is David expounding on the riches found in the Word of God. These particular verses show us in plain language what can be found in David’s life and, truly, the life of any believer. Look at these phrases:
“You have dealt well with You servant”
“Before I was afflicted I went astray”
“You are good, and do good”
What do each of these indicate? They show us something of the character of God. That He is good and merciful. Verse 66 shows us that He is a wise teacher. By learning God’s character, we learn how to better distinguish His purposes in our lives. Take another look at verses 67-68:
“Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word. You are good, and do good; Teach me Your statutes.”
David is looking back on his life to a time when he was afflicted and sees that he had gone astray, but God brought him back though the affliction. He recognizes God’s goodness to him and wants to know Him and His commands.
God’s Word Guides Us
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
Your testimonies are wonderful;
Therefore my soul keeps them.
The entrance of Your words gives light;
It gives understanding to the simple.
I opened my mouth and panted,
For I longed for Your commandments.
Look upon me and be merciful to me,
As Your custom is toward those who love Your name.
Direct my steps by Your word,
And let no iniquity have dominion over me.
By reading God’s word, we learn about His character and His commands. We gain knowledge and wisdom that guides our decisions. God’s word will always lead us away from sin and toward Him. He will never guide us away from His will.
God’s Word Brings Us Joy
Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.
My lips shall utter praise,
For You teach me Your statutes.
My tongue shall speak of Your word,
For all Your commandments are righteousness.
Let Your hand become my help,
For I have chosen Your precepts.
I long for Your salvation, O Lord,
And Your law is my delight.
Let my soul live, and it shall praise You;
And let Your judgments help me.
David loved the word of God. He longed for it. He delighted in it, and in knowing his God, and in obeying Him. In the world today, this seems small-minded and distasteful. Even wrong, to some. It seems wrong to find joy in obeying Someone you don’t know. Except, David did know Him. Through His law and His written word, David knew Him, and so can we. We must read it, start to finish. We must meditate (think about, reflect on, pray over) on God’s word so that we can have knowledge of God’s character, which guides us to be more like Him, which directs our decisions, which leads us to obey His commands, which, in turn, brings us joy! But, for a believer, that process starts with reading Scripture. All of Scripture. It brings comfort for this life and hope for the next, but we must read it.
These are the things that lead us to be like Christ and to love Him all the more. This Friday, I’ll be providing some resources and reading plans to help you get started. Or maybe you can check to see if your local church has reading plans available. Either way: Read your Bible!