Have you ever wondered why God gave us His Word? Why did He write the Law on a stone with His own finger? Why did He inspire writers to put onto scrolls the truths of His ways and thoughts? Why has He kept His writings pure and made them so available in so many languages?
The Psalmist says it is because His “word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path” (Psalm 119:105).
The apostle Paul says it is because “faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ” (Romans 10:17).
The writer of Hebrews says it is because “the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
Results of a Barna Group survey commissioned by the Assemblies of God affirm that people who engage in the Bible are transformed and conformed into the person God intends them to be.
As you can see in the chart below, those who spend at least four days a week in 15 minutes of Bible reading experience transformation in how they respond to life circumstances and people. They actually undergo a personal increase in the activity of the fruit of the Spirit.
To understand the chart below, remember:
• The triangle represents someone who spends at least four times a week in Scripture.
• The diamond represents someone who spends less than four times a week in Scripture.
• The square represents someone who spends little to no regular engagement with Scripture.
Note that all of the participants in the study called themselves practicing Christians, and all of them said they attended church at least somewhat regularly. The only difference, besides the activity of the fruit of the Spirit in their lives, involved their level of Bible engagement.
With the exception of patience, all the participants who engaged with Scripture score higher than those who did not. All scored about same in patience, no matter what their level of Bible engagement. As the Word says, it is tribulation that works patience into our character (Romans 5:3). However, on the way to more patience, if we stay engaged in Scripture, we can keep loving, and live in joy, peace, and kindness. We can be and do good, and will stay faithful, gentle, and in control of ourselves.
It is only as we continually interact with God’s word that we will be conformed into the image of Christ (Romans 8:29). Our unbelieving family members, neighbors, and coworkers are watching for an authentic faith, for Christians who truly exhibit the fruit of the Spirit.
This is why God has given us His powerful life-changing word. But, we must read it! Bible Sunday is a great time to restart our commitment to Bible engagement!
*Sunday, Dec. 12, is Bible Sunday in the Assemblies of God.