Deuteronomy 6:4-9, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.” (NIV)
This verse starts out what is called the Shema; it means to hear what God has to say. This saying was, and still is the Jew’s rallying cry to know their Lord. This verse also points to the imperative of the next two verses that, in a nutshell, are about memorizing and knowing and doing God’s Word. God is commanding us to teach ourselves and our children His Word, so that it penetrates our hearts and minds-that is, every aspect of who we are. And, then, we are to write it down and bind it to all our daily aspects of life. That call is still for us today.
2 Timothy 3:14-17, “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (NIV)
Paul, in this passage, gives us a similar call to heed God’s Word. Here is the call to scrutinize, understand, and then apply Scripture. This is the basic inductive precept. This passage is not an instruction to give the Bible the occasional “once over.” It is the clear, uncompromising call to continue in our studies constantly and passionately.
The point of doing so is to approve ourselves to God,
No one will ever be so “anointed” to the point that they do not have desperate need to search the wisdom of God to get knowledge and understanding.
Scripture calls us to be instructed.
These two Scriptures call us to live our lives as pleasing to our God, as countless other passages do, such as Proverbs 1, “…fear the Lord…”, which is the understanding and vigorous reverence of God. It is not the fear a child has of what is under the bed. It is the wonder, awe, and majesty of God that causes one to tremble with holy worry or excitement because of the mysteriousness of God.
In this way, we can impact our society with dignity and liberty, giving hope and showing the Way. Or, we can ignore Him, as most people do, and live in a meaningless rut, or, as the Bible says, to be foolish. Or worse, we can be teachers of the Word yet refuse to be discipled ourselves, exchanging the truth of the Word for our arrogance and wanderlust.
These two Scriptures lay a clear foundation that we need to be educated from the Word. The command from Duet. Chapter 6, to teach and be taught, combines with Paul’s proclamation in 2 Timothy: 3 that the Bible is profitable for teaching. The words useful (NIV), and profitable (NKJV), imply that we actually profit from God’s Word. But, this type of profit is not merely in the money, as we may see from some televangelists, but His Word is ultimately profitable in the spiritual facet of life.
God the Creator of all things, Who has our best interests in mind, desires that we learn and grow. And, we do this through His Word! Thus, we gain our values, our moral center, which is how we are to be to God and to those around us. We also gain our wisdom and knowledge through the Word, as well as learning for our lives. Without the Word, we may have knowledge from life, but we will not have wisdom.
The Bible is not just about a list of dos and don’ts, but a love letter filled with enduring promises that lets us know who God is. The Bible shows us how we are to view God and each other, how we are to conduct ourselves, and how we are to judge our ideas and activities. It contains all we need to know for salvation and godly living.
Now what? Now I know why; what do I do?
Countless copies of Scripture are sold and sit on shelves and bookcases unread because people do not know how to engage it or how to read the Word of our Lord. They are apprehensive with fear of conviction or unsure how to go about it.
Envelop yourself into the study of God’s Word. You may start off with Genesis or with Matthew or John. You may want to do a little OT and NT each time in which case I recommend the “One Year Bible” by Tyndale.