Summary: Reading the Bible intelligently


TEXT: II TIM. 3:16


Paul is writing to his “son” in the faith, Timothy, and he is encouraging him to embrace and hold dear the Word of God. He told him first, that ALL scripture, and by that he’s talking about the Old Testament, is “profitable.” He prefaces that by giving the reason that it is profitable. Writing under the direction of the Holy Spirit, and said, that all scripture is given by, “inspiration of God.” That word, “inspiration,” is from the Greek word: “Theopneustos,” which means: “God-breathed,” or “divinely-breathed.”

The Apostle Peter’s comment on this topic is helpful for understanding what Paul meant. Peter wrote: “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (I Pet. 1:20, 21). So, the words in the Bible are not words that originated in the minds of men, but they originated in the mind of the One, True Living God of all the Universe. He didn’t make His writers into robots or automatons, or human tape recorders, but the Spirit worked in and through human beings and made sure that what they wrote was what He wanted written. He didn’t take over their minds, and put them in some mystical trance. He spoke, and they wrote, but He let them express their understanding of what He was telling them through the prism of their own personalities. Every word was what He wanted written, but it came out in each writer’s own way of expressing it. Only God can do that.

That’s why the Bible is so interesting to read, because we get so many different perspectives on the Truth, with all the different writers: like Ezra, a priest; prophets like Moses and Daniel, a goat-herder like Amos; Joshua, a soldier; and yes, women – such as Ruth and Esther; also a musician/songwriter, like David. And in the NT, Matthew, a tax collector, or Luke, a physician, Peter and John, fishermen, and Paul, a learned Jewish scholar, all writing under the inspiration of the One True God.

Paul told Timothy, and us, that the words God breathed out and into the minds of His writers are “profitable.” That word means: “advantageous;” “helpful,” or “beneficial.” The first benefit the Holy Spirit inspires him to write about, is that it is helpful for “…doctrine,” which simply means “for teaching.” God’s people need to be taught, not in the world’s ways, but in the ways of God, so that we can move in the Spirit and be useful to Him. And we can’t be useful to Him if we’re not instructed in His ways, so we don’t go off on our own, and mess things up.

He says Scripture is also beneficial for “reproof,” which is from the Greek: “elenchos,” which means “to convict, to convince, to tell a fault.” Scripture will show us where we are at fault – where we’re wrong. It will show us to ourselves and convict us of sin, and convince us that we need God. Paul goes on to say that all scripture is also advantageous for “correction,” which is from a compound of two Greek words, meaning: “a straightening up again, a reformation.” Friends, I need “straightened up” once in a while, don’t you? God can say to us through His holy Word: “straighten up and fly right;” “get your act together,” and scripture will do that for us.

He says that Scripture is also helpful for “instruction in righteousness.” I like the Amplified Bible, Classic Edition’s rendering of this, because it gives all the subtle shades of meaning in the Greek. It says “…for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action).” And for what purpose? The next verse tells us – so that we might be made “perfect and thoroughly furnished unto all good works;” in other words so that we might be complete and proficient, well fitted and equipped to do good works for the Lord.

Now, we’re blessed with not only the OT, but also we have the “New Testament,” which is God’s complete and full revelation of all He wants us to know. Peter understood that the words Paul was being given by God were also “Scripture” just like the Old Testament. He said in II Pet. 3:15, 16: “…and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 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.” Peter puts Paul letters in the same category as the other Scriptures.

There are times, in fact, most of the time in my life, when I don’t feel that “spiritual.” I don’t feel the near presence of God. That’s why I love the Bible so much. I can say to myself: “self: God is very near me at this moment, because didn’t Jesus say, “I will never leave you or forsake you?” (Heb. 3:15). Didn’t He say, “I will always be with you, even to the end of the world” (Matt. 28:20). That’s what’s true, so I say, "Thank you Lord that I don’t need to feel You, because You said in Your Holy Word that You will never leave me, or forsake me, and will be with me always;” period, end of story.

I can talk to myself and say, “Mind, what you’re thinking is not true. What’s true is what the Bible says,” and it says that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me;” (Php. 4:13), and as far as God is concerned, I am “seated in heavenly places,” and how can that be? He is seated on His holy throne and because I am in Him, and He is in me (Col. 1:27), I’m also seated in the heavens, because I AM IN HIM! (Eph. 2:6). God said it, and it’s true, end of story.

Very quickly, I’m going to go over some points the Lord gave me this week, about the importance of His Word. He definitely emphasized to me that I was to preach about the benefits of His Word, and He gave me these points: read, recite, repeat, reflect, remember, renew and realize.


A. It should go without saying that we can’t get the benefits that are in God’s Word, unless we read it

B. Read it for pleasure. Read it for comfort and encouragement and pleasure. Read it for guidance. Read it when we’re happy, and when we’re sad. Read it when we’re up and when we’re down, but READ it!

C. Jesus said, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The WORDS that I speak to you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63).


A. Recite means, “to speak aloud.” When we recite something, we are saying it out loud. We “recite” the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.” In school, we may have “recited” the Gettysburg Address.” So, not only must we read the Word, but we also need to say it out loud, with our voices.

B. We need to take a portion of scripture that is particularly meaningful to us, and say it out loud. That will embed it more deeply in our minds.

C. Saying the scriptures out loud, sears them emphatically in our minds and hearts. King David said, to the Lord: “I have hidden your Word in my heart so that I might not sin against You” (Psm. 119:11). How did he do that? By saying the word out loud.

D. Saying the scriptures, will allow us to “pray” the scriptures. We can say, “I thank You Lord, because You are helping me so seek you with my whole heart, therefore I am finding You” (Jer. 29:13). “I thank you Lord, because You are helping me to delight myself in You, therefore You are giving me the desires of my heart.” (Psm. 37:4). Reciting Scripture leads to the next point


A. We all know what repeating is – it is saying it again, over and over. In order for the scripture to become “profitable,” we must repeat what we have recited.

B. The website: “In Praise of Memorization,” says that the purpose of repeating something is to memorize what we are studying.

C. After reading the scripture, and reciting it by saying it out loud, and repeating it again and again, brings us to the fourth point.


A. Reading scripture and saying it out loud, repeating it over and over, leads to memorization.

B. The “In Praise of Memorization” website has some interesting information. The researchers said studies have shown that memorization exercises our brain, giving it strength to retain more information

C. Irish researchers found that through extended exercises in rote learning, or repetition to put information to memory, learners can actually recall more information overall. Rote learning benefits the hippocampus, the part of our brain, which is a key structure for memory in humans

D. It may be hard to remember what we ate for dinner last night, but we just might remember the Gettysburg Address we had to recite in grade school. Why? As we spend time memorizing passages, we our mental powers are focused and sharpened.

E. Another great benefit that research has shown is that practicing memorization allows elderly adults to delay cognitive decline by seven to 14 years. The sooner we start practicing memory training, the sharper our minds we be in years to come.

D. The point is, that saying Scripture over and over again is for the purpose of REMEMBERING IT.

E. Only God knows what the future will bring, but this world is getting more and more evil all the time. Terror has definitely come to America. There may come times in our life when we don’t have a Bible handy. But if we read scripture and recite it, and repeat until we’ve put it to memory, then we will have “hid it in our heart.”

F. This leads to out next point: REFLECT


A. Webster’s Dictionary gives a definition of “reflect” as “to think seriously; to contemplate on.” After we’ve read the Word, and recited the Word out loud, and repeated it over and over again, for the purpose of remembering it – we need to reflect on it – think seriously on and contemplate the Scriptures we’ve learned

B. Paul and Silas sang psalms in prison. They didn’t have a Bible handy, but they had memorized scripture and the Psalms. Jesus announced his ministry in the Nazareth synagogue by reading aloud from Isaiah. He also knew Scripture well enough to quote it constantly in his teaching and conversations with Jewish leaders

C. We've all heard about hostages or prisoners of war who stayed sane by reciting Scripture from memory. I’ve seen people in nursing homes who no longer know where they are, but can still whisper favorite Bible verses. According to one of my references, memorizing scripture is like marinating ourselves in the Bible.

D. In Psalm 143:5 David said he "mused" on the work of God’s hands. The word “muse” is the Hebrew word: siyach (see'-ach) that means: to converse with oneself. So, this man after God's own heart, literally says, "As I think on all the works of God, I talk with myself about all the works of His hands."

E. As we focus our minds on God’s words; as we let Scripture revolve and roll around in our minds, we are meditating on His Word.

F. When we reach this stage of reflection, we are focusing on, concentrating on, thinking on, and pondering the acts, nature, goodness, attributes and the character of our great and mighty God as He has revealed Himself to us in His Word.

G. This brings us to point six: Renew


A. Reading God’s Word, then reciting it – saying it out loud; then repeating it over and over, to help us remember it, that is, memorize it, put it to memory –so that we can reflect on it, thinking deeply, concentrating and meditate on His Word, will make us realize that we truly ARE New Creations in Christ Jesus.

B. The word “RENEW” in Isaiah 40:31, is from the Hebrew “halap” and one meaning is: “to grow up;” another is to “go on forward.” So waiting on the Lord by reading, reciting, repeating, remembering and reflecting on His Word will help us to grow up and go on forward in the work of the Lord and be renewed.

C. The Apostle Paul wrote these words: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the RENEWING of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Rom. 12:1, 2).

D. The word, “renewing” of our mind that Paul wrote in the Greek in Romans 12:1, has these meanings: “to renovate; to reverse; make new, especially in freshness.”

E. I found Kenneth Wuest’s expanded translation of Romans 12:2 helpful. He translated this as: “Stop assuming an outward expression that does not come from within you and is not representative of what you are in your inner being; but change your outward expression to one that comes from within and is representative of your inner being, by the renewing of your mind…”

F. What is God saying here? Start acting like who God says we are, and we will become who we really are from God’s perspective – by having our minds made new, renovated, remodeled, done over THROUGH THE INSTRUMENTALITY OF GOD’S WORD!

G. And this brings us to the last point: REALIZE!


A. Paul wrote to the church at Philippi: “That I may know Him…” He counted all his former accomplishments – his learning at the feet of Gamaliel, his membership as an officer in the Sanhedrin, his Roman citizenship, all as garbage, dung, and refuse, so that he might Know Christ.

B. And we get to know Christ and realize who we are in Him through contemplating His Word.

C. This is brought forth clearly in Romans the eighth chapter. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.” In heaven it’s already completed, it just has to be worked out in us to conform us to the image of Jesus, our Master.


Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My Word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life” (John 5:24). To escape judgment and death, and have eternal life, we must hear His word. Jesus said: “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed” (John 8:31). How can we abide in His Word if we don’t know it?

He said, “…if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death” (John 8:51). How can we keep His word if we aren’t familiar with it? We must realize fully who HE is, and who WE Are IN HIM! And we do that through becoming thoroughly versed in His Word.

What the Bible says, is what God says. What God says, is what the Bible says. The Bible is that objective thing outside of myself that is my anchor in the stormy gales of life – it’s the rock we can cling to when all around us is sinking sand. Let’s read it, recite it, repeat it, to remember it, so we can reflect on it, and be renewed – become the people God intends for us to be, and then realize who we are in Christ Jesus.