Why is the Bible important to believers? Is there
any real purpose for knowing it? What does it say about
this matter in the Bible itself? What are some dangers to be
avoided in handling the Word of God? Listen to this episode for
Here are the notes for this episode:
The Importance of the Word
- Testimony of salvation and growth
- I began growing because I got into the Word of God.
- A Love-affair with the Word
- Never has there been a man or woman who was greatly, or even
moderately, used of God who was not themselves a serious student of
- John Wesley said of the Word of God, “I have laid it up in my
mind like a choice treasure, to be ready upon all occasions to
counsel, quicken, or caution me.”
- The longest chapter in the Bible is on the Word of God. That is
pretty significant and should show how important the Word is by God
Himself towards us. We should emphasize things as much as God does.
- “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”
- “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin
against thee.” (Psa. 119:11)
- “I will delight myself in thy precepts, and have respect unto
thy ways. I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget
thy word.” (Psa. 119:15-16)
- Psalm 1:1-3, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the
counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor
sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law
of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he
shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth
forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and
whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”
- The Word of God is spiritual food for the spiritual man. If he
doesn’t eat regularly he will starve to death.
- Why is the Word important? (2 Tim. 3:16-17)—(What’s right,
what’s wrong, how to get right, and how to stay right)
- For doctrine (What’s right)
- “Doctrine” means, “what is taught by an instructor”. The
written Word of God is the only infallible source of doctrine, or
teaching, about the God of Heaven. We have creation and conscience
to bear witness to His existence and law, but the specifics beyond
that are found in the Word. Spiritual things are subjective: they
must be judged. Even the prophets were told by Paul the Apostle
that they were to be judged (1 Cor. 14:29-30). The OT prophets were
not supposed to be revered until they were proven (Deu. 18:21-22; 1
Sam. 3:19-20). The measuring line that we hold up today to examine
teachers is the Word of God (Acts 17:11).
- Paul told Timothy, “Till I come, give attendance to reading, to
exhortation, to doctrine.” (1 Ti. 4:13)
- And also, “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine;
continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself,
and them that hear thee.” (1 Tim 4:16)
- There are ways that doctrine can be abused. Doctrine is not an
end in and of itself for people to say that they have the truth and
then do nothing with it. We are not to be hearers of the truth
only, but doers of the truth also (Jas. 1:23-25). There are whole
denominations that glory in their doctrine and not in God. They
have knowledge without wisdom. Wisdom is the ability to apply
knowledge correctly. They’re like engineers marveling at a bridge
that’s exquisite in design. “How marvelous is the bridge! How
wonderful!” But they never walk across it, and so they never
benefit from its intended purpose.
- But that’s not a perfect analogy. Doctrine’s purpose is to
reveal things about the person, mind, and working of the God who is
invisible to the eyes…at the current time. The Word of God is an
earthly and tangible record of spiritual realities for us. That
which it records as truths about the spiritual realities invisible
to our senses as yet is what we call “doctrine”. The Shepherd has
determined by His wisdom the way for His sheep to go in. If they go
beyond that, they are going out of the determined course of the
- Yes, the Word is to be studied for the purpose of obtaining
right doctrine. But even moreso for the purpose of seeking,
knowing, and serving God correctly. All roads may lead to Rome, but
only one leads to God’s heavenly city.
- For reproof (what’s wrong)
- In Proverbs we are told, “For the commandment is a lamp; and
the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:”
- If you are a Christian, you’re getting used to being reproved
by God. The Word of God sets forth God’s standards of
righteousness. When we hold it up to ourselves we are shown our
faults. That’s what reproof means, “setting forth faults”. But as
those born of the Spirit of God that’s what we desire!
- In John 3:21 we’re told, “But he that doeth truth cometh to the
light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought
- A Christian wants to know, and indeed longs to know, what their
faults are! I want to know my faults, my shortcomings, and my blind
spots so that I can get them right before God. I want to be
pleasing in His sight, and that requires that I be shown where I am
not pleasing in His sight. The Word of God is that lamp and light
to show us our faults.
- “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory
of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory,
even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Cor. 3:18) It is the Word of
God that we look into to compare ourselves with God’s standard of
what needs to be changed in us to bring us into agreement with Him.
Two cannot walk together unless they be agreed (Amos 3:3). This
means that we must change to walk with God.
- Notice also in that verse (2 Cor. 3:18), that as we continue to
look into the Word of God that it is the Spirit of God which
changes us. The Word and the Spirit go hand in hand and will never
contradict each other, but they will work together for the same
- For correction (How to get right)
- As much as the Lord will use His Word to tell us we’re wrong
and what needs to be changed, He won’t leave us without telling us
what we need to change to.
- Today, it’s sad to see that the professing church doesn’t want
the same standards that God does. The majority don’t “seek out of
the book of the Lord” (Isa. 34:16) to know anything about what God
expects of them. They’ve allowed themselves to be deceived into
thinking that because they said a prayer or made a decision that
God’s going to do the rest. In a sense, they’re right. God is the
one who saves, but man’s part is to be committed to Him.
- The Lord opened Lydia’s heart we read in Acts 16:14 that she
attended upon Paul’s words. He will open people’s hearts and give
them understanding, but their commandment from Him is to abide and
continue with Him. God will not drag you kicking and screaming to
heaven any more than He will drag you kicking and screaming to read
and study His Word. If you cared to be instructed by Him then you
would willfully and intentionally attend to His Word. God has not
hid His Word in that sense. Man, for the most part, has refused to
- For instruction in righteousness (how to stay right)
- We can finish 2 Timothy 3:16-17 with this part, “All scripture
is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for
reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the
man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good
- God has given man in black and white all that he needs to know
to stand righteous before Him in Christ Jesus, having confidence of
heaven, victory over all the devices of every enemy, and to have
fellowship with his God. We may be perfect before Him he says. Yet
few will take the necessary time to seek Him.
- The Bible is sold at the dollar store next to coloring books.
We eat fast food meals that cost more than a Bible in the US. Just
like the Lord has said, “To whom much is given much will be
required.” (Luke 12:48) I mean, what are people going to say at the
Judgment? “I’m sorry Lord Game of Thrones was really good
this season.” If you had any idea of the reality of heaven, or
hell, you wouldn’t be wasting your time playing video games or
watching TV and movies. I say that as somebody who struggles with
the temptation of entertainment regularly. But the reality of the
coming Judgment convicts me of the need to be watchful and
instructed in righteousness.
- For growth
- Peter said, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the
word that ye may grow thereby.” (1 Pet. 2:2) Peter isn’t implying
that it’s only new Christians who need the Word of God. New
Christians have a zeal for wanting to know God’s Word that can fade
over time if they let it. We all need to keep that zeal there. We
need to keep the newborn desire for the Word. The results are that
we will grow.
- For equipping to serve God
- In Ephesians 6 we are told about the armor of God. That is, the
spiritual equipment that God has given us to do battle on the
frontlines of His war. People try to cop out, “God has an army and
he’ll fight my battles for me!” Yes, that’s true but don’t forget
that you’re a soldier in that army of His. You are supposed to be
fighting God’s battles. He’ll put you somewhere that He sees fit,
but that’s where you’re supposed to fight and stand.
- The only weapon listed in the armor is the Word of God. It’s
referred to as “the sword of the Spirit.” Again, we see the
connection between the Word of God and the Spirit of God. What good
is the shield of faith without the sword of the Spirit, the Word of
God? You will be able to defend yourself from darts but you will
never move forward in the battle for victory. Practically, faith
needs an object. We put faith into things or people. God’s Word
gives us both: truths to believe, and the person of Jesus Christ to
believe on. You need the sword and the shield together.
- If you want to be spiritual, be filled with the Word of God.
Jesus said, “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and
they are life.” (John 6:63) It is the spirit that quickens you, and
the Lord has said His words are spirit and life. On the basis of
Christ’s own words therefore, I don’t consider someone spiritually
minded who doesn’t love the Word of God.
- The Word of God is our only true, infallible, spiritual weapon.
With it we can be spiritual minded servants of the living God.
- For comfort
- Paul the Apostle also tells us, “For whatsoever things were
written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through
patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” (Rom.
- We have been given promises directly from God, who cannot lie.
When we stand upon His promises we can be at peace in the middle of
terrible earthly circumstances. We can be certain of things that
are not visibly seen, and of things that have not even happened
- We also have the testimonies of men of God who walked before
us. Noah and a global judgment, Daniel being cast to lions, the
three Hebrews thrown into a furnace, Jeremiah being protected
through the judgment of God against Jerusalem, and many who were
faithful unto death. The Lord took care of them and protected them
until their time to depart. These things were all written for our
ability to walk with the same God. We can absolutely learn patience
and comfort from the scriptures.
- It is necessary to be saved
- If you don’t have the Word of God then you don’t have God. We
are told, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not
believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not
heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Rom. 10:14)
And also, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word
of God.” (Rom. 10:17)
- Men cannot believe on a Savior they have never heard of, and
they can’t obey commandments they are not aware of.
- If faith comes by hearing, and hearing comes by the Word of
God, then we can also say that without the Word of God there is no
hearing, and without hearing there is no faith. Where there is no
faith then there is no salvation.
- Now does this mean that if someone doesn’t have a Bible, such
as in persecuted countries like North Korea, that they aren’t true
Christians? No, but without a true knowledge of God which comes by
His Word they can’t be saved. They have to have heard the truth and
kept it in their hearts and minds. As the Apostle John said, “Let
that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the
beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall
remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the
Father.” (1 Jn. 2:24)
- I will say this though, I have never read a testimony from a
Christian who underwent terrible persecution, tortures, and
imprisonments who did not say that they desired a bible more than
anything else while in prison. Most survived because they held fast
to those passages that they memorized before they were imprisoned.
I will say to you, if you were imprisoned tomorrow to be tortured
and endure such trials of faith, are you confident of your
foundation in the knowledge of Christ to say that you will endure
to the end? Sobering: yes. Is it possible: absolutely.
- Dangers to be avoided
- Allowing a “lens” to be put over our eyes
- When you’re young in the Lord it seems to you that almost
everyone at a church is a spiritual giant. It’s easy to come under
the influence of a well-meaning teacher or preacher who you will
learn from. That’s not necessarily wrong, but oftentimes they
become your interpreter.
- A lens works as something that comes between you and God’s
Word. You are taught a certain doctrinal view before you know the
scriptures and you accept it. Then, for a long time you don’t even
think about examining whether or not it’s true. Many will continue
in the exact same doctrine that they received from the person or
church that they began their walk with. Even if their doctrine is
right, it can do lasting damage to your relationship with the Lord
because you never learn to be alone with God. You never learn to
“prove all things”.
- There came a time in my walk when that was the case with me. I
was initially led to an Independent Fundamental Baptist church. I
was told very early on that I was “eternally secure”. It took years
for the thought to even occur to me that I should examine my
doctrine. I began at the first point and studied forward. I had
studied at a bible institute and bible college at this point, and I
also had read the “deep” works on hermeneutics by some notable
teachers today. When I started studying I set aside ALL my
presuppositions. I proved every single line of reasoning backwards
and forwards with a plain sense scripture text. By doing so I found
out the errors that I had assumed were true.
- Setting up idols in our hearts
- There was an interesting quote from C.S. Lewis. I don’t
personally like Lewis because I doubt his testimony of salvation. I
have read his works, and I still doubt it by the words from his own
mouth. Nevertheless the man was an excellent logical thinker. He
said, ““…there flashed across my opening mind the great truth that
refutation is no necessary part of argument. Assume that your
opponent is wrong, and then explain his error, and the world will
be at your feet.” (C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock, page 273)
- Lewis called this type of logical fallacy a “bulverism”. I call
it setting up an idol in your heart. It’s something that you’re not
willing to part with, and it’s dangerous. It is often a pet sin or
doctrine. God has said that to marry a divorced person, while their
former spouse is still living, is to commit adultery. Try to find a
pulpit that teaches that correctly. God says that if you turn from
Christ He will cast you forth as a dead branch to be burned. Try to
find a pulpit that teaches that correctly.
- Men seek the path of least resistance. What I have asked people
more than once when asked about certain things is, “Can God ask too
much of you?” God cannot give you a hard commandment really. He can
only expose something that you are not willing to part with. That
is idolatry. Whether it’s a sin or a false doctrine it can cost you
your relationship with the Lord entirely.
- We must maintain a humble heart before the Lord. When we
approach unto Him we need to come understanding that EVERY thing is
on the table. If He asks for it, it’s His to take or change. I’ve
been convicted by the Lord in this type of idolatry before. I know
that if I had not yielded on the matter that He would’ve quietly
withdrawn Himself from me. The scary thing to me is that I believe
it has happened to multitudes who continue in the church today. God
had put His finger on something and they refused His correction.
Subsequently He quietly departed and wrote Ichabod over their life.
He is certainly willing to return, if they are willing to humble
- Using men’s wisdom to understand God’s book
- You cannot approach the Bible like a textbook. It is the one
book in existence that cannot be understood without first knowing
- It’s a spiritual book and it takes a spiritual person to learn
it (1 Cor. 2:9-16). God is a Spirit (John 4:24). God has made it so
that the wise in this world will mostly reject His ways because it
costs them their worldly reputation. Paul the Apostle said himself
that there were few wise-men after the flesh, few mighty men, and
few noble men after the world’s nobility that were called. (1 Cor.
- You cannot study your way to a relationship with God. Try all
the academia you want. Logic is good, but it’s not the Word of God.
Men must first be humbled by the gospel of Christ and the knowledge
of sin before they can begin to walk with God. God gives wisdom as
He sees fit, but not to men who haven’t humbled themselves before
- Be careful about going outside the Word of God to understand
God. Be careful about going to men to understand God. Whether they
are professors at a university, authors of deep intellectual works,
or preachers of notable ministries: they are not God or His Word.
Some Christians have walked down the hall of psychology and never
came back. It’s very subtle. “I have a mood disorder” “Oh really?
God said that He will keep them in perfect peace whose mind is
stayed on Him.” I speak from experience on that topic. Be careful.
It is very subtle. Stay with the Word of God, and anything that
would cause you to say that a single verse of scripture is wrong:
reject it entirely.
- Exalting spirit above the Word
- As in all spiritual topics the pendulum swings to extremes.
There are those who are all Word and no Spirit, and there are those
who are all Spirit and no Word. You end up being either a Pharisee
or a Pagan. Neither is correct, and I’m suspicious of anyone who
falls under the banner of either extreme.
- The Word of God was written down by men under the direct
guidance of the Spirit of God (2 Pet. 1:21). It is the Word of God
that is said to be profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction,
and instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be
perfect thoroughly furnished unto all good works (2 Tim. 3:16-17)
But it is the Spirit of God that enables us to understand the Word
- Jesus said that when the Spirit of Truth came unto the
disciples He would teach them yes, but He would also not speak of
Himself (John 16:13-14). The Spirit of God always glorifies Jesus
Christ. He will not speak of Himself.
- Even the manifestation of the Spirit in signs and wonders was
said in Mark 16:20 to be only to confirm the Word. It’s also
repeated in Acts 14:3 where we read, “Long time therefore abode
they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the
word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by
their hands.” (Act 14:3) The signs and wonders were a testimony by
God the Father unto the Word that the disciples preached.
- Let me try to give you an example. Some people say “The Lord
told me this”. That’s not necessarily wrong to say, but how do you
know it’s the Lord? Usually people will quote from John 10 and say,
“His sheep know His voice and another they will not follow.” I
don’t detract from that at all. But can you see that the ground for
them believing that is the fact that the Word of God told them?
They wouldn’t otherwise have an objective fact to defend themselves
if that wasn’t the case. But I will say be very careful in these
things. When the Lord revealed His Word to Samuel, in the sense of
His voice speaking to Him as a prophet, in 1 Samuel 3, Samuel
confused it for a physical person’s voice. He didn’t have to guess
what was said or interpret it. God spoke that clearly. We don’t see
prophets in the OT having to “discern” the Lord’s voice. I know of
people who have wandered down this avenue and got away from
scripture and now they have received another spirit that they
believe is more authoritative that God’s Word. The only spirit that
would say that is another spirit. Paul’s words to the Corinthians
make clear that it is very easy to be deceived and receive another
spirit (2 Cor. 11:3-4). I often find that it is through a
contemplative route that people are led astray. “Empty your mind,”
they say. “Be still and know,” they say as they rip verses from
their context and meaning. All I will say is be careful. I know
brethren that exercise spiritual gifts according to the biblical
pattern and it never came through that manner.
- I’m certainly not trying to take away from seeking spiritual
gifts in the body of Christ. We are told to “covet earnestly the
best gifts” for the use of edifying the body of Christ. These
things are given by God to the body as He wills (1 Cor. 12:11). But
the Word of God is for every child of God. Be careful to maintain
the proper balance, and if I may say so, if you continue to seek
the Lord in His Word He’ll keep you balanced.
- It must be mixed with faith
- Without faith it is impossible to please God
- The Word of God does not profit you if you don’t have faith. We
are told in Hebrews why the Israelites in the wilderness were
overthrown, “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto
them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed
with faith in them that heard it.” (Heb. 4:2)
- It is not enough to read the Bible, study it, and memorize it.
Its words are not magical incantations that just because you can
recite them they will work on you. The Lord looks on the thoughts
and intents of the heart. His Word is a discerner of the thoughts
and intents of the heart (Heb. 4:12). God is not fooled by outward
appearance. The difference when faith is mixed with the Word is
seen in trials and temptations as well as in times of ease and
prosperity. A believer will live by the Word because they believe
its warnings, promises, and wisdom.
- God has said that men will give an account for every idle word
that they speak (Mat. 12:36). Those that know that verse and place
faith in the Word will exercise themselves to guard what they say.
They will do it because they heed the warning and believe in the
God who spoke it. Also, because they walk by faith in it God is
pleased with them.
- But if someone knows the verse and doesn’t place their faith in
it then they will be swiftly rebuked by the Lord in the judgment.
They knew what God had said and did not obey it. (Luke 12:47) It is
fearful to think of their end. Hearers but not doers. Consider
- “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of
naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is
able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not
hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of
the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his
natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his
way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But
whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth
therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work,
this man shall be blessed in his deed.” (Jas. 1:21-25)
- Our faith is in God
- God’s Word is an objective record of truth about and from God
to man. We need to be careful to not miss the forest because of the
trees. There are endless tangents and distractions waiting to catch
you if you let them. It is wonderful to study the Word of God: but
don’t lose your love for the God who gave His Word. It is Him that
your love and affection is directed toward. It is God’s face that
you seek. Your faith is in God to do according to those things that
He teaches you and promises you in His Word.
- Continue in the Word. Let it dwell richly in your hearts. Pray
and seek the Lord for understanding, and with patience He’ll teach