Summary: Basic Message on How to Read the Bible and apply it to your life.
Clear As Mud or Crystal Clear?
Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light for my path.
Psalm 119:105 (NIV)
Alternative Introduction for WPRZ
Hi Everyone and welcome to the weekly community message on WPRZ. My name is Jay Nickless, Pastor of Gateway Bible Church in Gainesville, Virginia and it’s my honor and privilege to bring you this week’s community message.
Good morning and welcome to part 3 of our June message series entitled: “(Re)Discovering God’s Word.
When Josiah was king of Judah he ordered the temple to be renovated. During the process of the “Extreme Makeover Temple Edition” an old book that had been discarded was discovered and read to the twenty-six year old king. The Scroll was none other than the Word of God, and upon hearing its contents, the young king repented and called for a sacred assembly throughout the land to hear the contents of the sacred scroll. For up until that time, a cloud of darkness had spread throughout the land and ruled the people’s hearts. Idol worship, sexual immorality and even human sacrifice were among the lewd practices of the masses. Even the Temple of God itself was littered with obscene shrines and indecent memorials to false gods. But after being enlightened with God’s Word, King Josiah set in motion a series of reforms throughout his kingdom whose likes had never been seen before or since. Like a light dispelling the darkness, the discovery of God’s Word of God exposed the darkness and illuminated the pathway to right living.
And God’s Word continues to impact our lives in the same way today. The Psalmist described the impact of God’s Word in Psalm 119:105 when he stated,
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.”
Psalm 119:105, 130 (NIV)
Literally every day people are discovering and rediscovering the impact and power of God’s Word for daily living. To say the least, there’s no other book that even comes close to being like it in content or influence.
And so far in Parts 1 & 2 of our series, we have discovered that . . .
1. The Bible is God’s “Inspired” Word.
2. The Bible is Completely Reliable and Trustworthy.
And according to the Barna Research Group, the percentage of American adults who read the bible is increasing. And while this is encouraging, I have come to realize that reading the bible and understanding the bible can be two totally different concepts.
I find that many people today are much like the Ethiopian official in Acts 8 who was reading from the bible when Philip came near his chariot and asked him a very important question,
“Do you understand what you are reading?”
How about you? What if I were to ask you this same question today? “Do you understand what you are reading?” The Ethiopian official was blatantly honest in his response:
“How can I (understand it) unless someone helps me?”
Have you ever felt like that? Boy I sure have. And interestingly enough, even the Apostle Peter admitted to having some trouble understanding Scripture. Listen to what Peter wrote concerning some of Paul’s Letters:
15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
2 Peter 3:15-16 (NIV)
So if you’ve had trouble understanding God’s Word, you’re in good company. You’re certainly not alone. Unfortunately, some have given up reading the bible out of frustration. Others are convinced that the bible is a secretive and mysterious book known only by a select few.
Listen to God’s Word in 1 Timothy 2:1-4 (NLT)
1 I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. As you make your requests, plead for God’s mercy upon them, and give thanks. 2 Pray this way for kings and all others who are in authority, so that we can live in peace and quietness, in godliness and dignity.
3 This is good and pleases God our Savior, 4 for he wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.
Did you catch that last phrase? “…he wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.” That includes you and I.
The truth of the matter is that God greatly desires for all of us to Understand His Word. For you see, God’s Word, the bible, is His primary way of speaking to us.