Being Nobel-Minded

     LifeWay Christian Resources is one of the largest suppliers of Christian literature and Bible study aids in the world.  The top man of LifeWay Research is Ed Stetzer.  LifeWay Research is always seeking ways to understand the Christian market to better promote their products.  They do this because they want to do their very best to make the teachings of the Bible creative and effective so more people can be reached with its message.    
     Recently LifeWay conducted a study to determine the factors that promote spiritual maturity in Christian believers.  Stetzer says, “the number-one correlated factor to spiritual growth and maturity was consistency in the Bible…we know how essential this is to spiritual maturity, so literacy is not just something that kind of floats out there by itself; it is a tool.  Biblical literacy is a tool that God uses to grow people spiritually as well.”  Stetzer’s point is well made.  World renowned evangelical John Stott, who recently passed away, rose every morning at five o’clock to read his Bible and pray.  For more than fifty years, John Stott read through his Bible every year.  Is it any wonder that his spiritual influence was recognized and felt around the world?    
     Stetzer goes on to point out that many church-goers rely too much on the pastor to read and study the Word of God and then teach them what it says.  They depend on the Pastor to spoon fed them the Scriptures from the pulpit.  He is right, and there are at several reasons why this is not good.    
     First, one of the ways God speaks to each of us is through His Word.  To have a deeper relationship with God we need the example of His interaction with other individuals so that we can know what to expect from Him and what He expects of us.  Some long distance relationships last: most don’t.  Those that do, separation by distance was only a temporary situation.  In the same manner we need to hear from God daily to be close to Him, not someone else’s relationship regurgitated from the pulpit a couple of times a week.  God wants a close relationship with each of His children, and each of us needs it.  Preaching is meant to be confirmation, not revelation.    
     Second, as I mentioned in my last article, there are a plethora of contradicting and competing beliefs being proclaimed daily that can confuse and mislead the devout.  The best way to guard against false doctrines and counterfeit beliefs is to know what the Truth is.  Harold Camping misled millions about the return of Christ and the Day of Judgment, but he was able to do so because they had not read the simple words of Christ.  Regarding His return to this world Jesus said “of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone (Matthew 24:36).”    
     Third, there is the example of Christ.  Jesus was questioned incessantly about His teachings by those who doubted His authority and questioned His being the Son of God.  On matters of doctrine He invariably quoted the relevant passage of Scripture to silence his accusers.  When His forty day fast in the wilderness was completed and He was tempted by the devil, at His weakest moment, His response to Satan on each successive temptation was prefaced with these three words, “It is written…”  If our Example relied upon the Word of God when questioned and in the hour of temptation, can we do less?    
     Space will not permit me room to share all of the reasons Christians should read their Bible.  But as I close let share one more.  The world may not admit it, but the truth is the world longs to see examples of true love, joy and peace.  But in a world that seems to be aimlessly stumbling in the dark, longing for direction, how can Christians point the way when they have forsaken the Word that is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path?  If the world is to see Christ they must see Him through us, and to see Him clearly we must be people of the Book.    
     The New Year will be upon us soon.  Resolve to read through your Bible this year and get an early start now.  Five chapters a day, twenty to thirty minutes a day, Monday through Friday will get you through the Bible in less than a year.  Be like the Berean believers who “were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so (Acts 17:11).”

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