You Need to Approach God's Word as Essential to Your Relationship with Him and Relevant to Your Daily Life.

One thing you can find almost anywhere you go, including in hotel rooms, is a Bible. When a person opens a copy of God's Word, what should they expect? How do you approach the Bible?

Psalm 119 contains 176 descriptions of God's Word and uses 10 different terms for the Bible. In the chapter, we can find 2 common approaches to God's Word, but both are incomplete.

The Bible as Life's Instruction Manual

This view of the Bible can be found in many phrases of Psalm 119. God's Law reflects God's character (verse 1). God's ordinances and statutes help us know and do what is right (verse 9). It helps us know how to live practically. It also warns us from doing wrong (verses 11, 21).

However, viewing the Bible as an instruction manual is missing something. A person reading an instruction manual never thinks about a relationship with the author of the book. We can get a lot out of reading the Bible this way, but we miss the point.

The Bible as a Love Letter

Psalm 119 reveals God's affection for His people (verses 76-77). He wants to be sought (verse 2). Psalm 23 reveals his character as a shepherd. God's Word assures us of His faithfulness to His promises (verses 111, 75).

However, this view is also incomplete. It misses the Bible's relevance to daily life. God's Word is not just about sentimentality and feelings; it also brings conviction.

A Biblical Approach to the Bible

A complete view of the Bible recognizes it as both essential to our relationship with God and relevant to daily life. Psalm 119:10 unites these 2 aspects.

A relationship with God is characterized by undivided allegiance. He desires more than adherence to a checklist; He wants our wholehearted devotion. We pursue God Himself through His Word. One example is found in Matthew 19:16-22. The wealthy man did not seek Christ wholeheartedly because he chose his wealth over following Jesus. Jesus doesn't demand any less from us. The repentance required for a relationship with Him is a full turn away from our old sinful selves. Following Christ cost His first disciples their careers (Mark 1:14-20). We all must give things up, but when we give our lives to Christ, He gives us Himself in return.

There is an essential connection between seeking after God and doing what He says. (See John 14:15, James 1:22, and Philippians 2:13.) Those who obey show that they love God. Conversely, a lifestyle of disobedience shows a lack of belief and affection for God. The Psalmist asks God to keep him from wandering

The Bible's commandments are from God, not ourselves. When we share His Word, we must show them under His authority. We must stay faithful to the message even when it costs us, because the value of God's Word is infinite (Psalm 19:7-11). His commands often come to us through human channels. This is humbling for both the speaker and the hearer.

The first commandment of priority for Christians is to love (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). Love should impact how we live out each of the other commandments. Unless love characterizes every one of our relationships, our obedience is worthless. We each have roles and positions in the body of Christ that are essential to the living of our Christian life (1 Corinthians 12:12-13, 25-26). Solitary meditation with God alone is not the essence of our relationship with God, nor the high point of our walk. It is essential, but just one part. Our time with God in His Word must not be detached from the rest of life. God sees our whole life of obedience: our devotion to Him and its impact on those around us.

Application Points

  • What is the Bible to you? How do you approach it?
  • Following Christ cost His first disciples their careers (Mark 1:14-20). Must we forsake wealth or careers as they did? Ask yourself: Can I do my job well while honoring God?
  • Do you have hours to meditate on God's Word? Make sure it is lived out in a life of obedience. What impact does your time in God's Word have on those around you?
  • Does your life schedule make an uninterrupted 15 minutes a luxury, though you want to spend more time in God's Word? Be encouraged that God sees how you honor and obey Him throughout the day.
  • Do you feel guilty when you approach the Bible? It is not meant to intimidate or scare. Another believer would be glad to help you understand the Bible if you ask for help!

Tools for Further Study

A Hymn to Encourage: "How Firm a Foundation"

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said—
To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?

“Fear not, I am with thee, oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by My gracious, omnipotent hand.

“When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not overflow;
For I will be with thee thy trouble to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

“When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all-sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not harm thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.

“The soul that on Jesus doth lean for repose,
I will not, I will not, desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.”