“How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments. I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Blessed are you, O LORD; teach me your statutes! With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth. In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statues; I will not forget your word.”
(Psalm 119:9-16 ESV)
What a love the psalmist had for the Word of God. This whole psalm, the longest chapter in the whole Bible, is graced with this incredible love for God and His Word, His statutes, His rules, His commands. What a noble thought! While I don’t think I can honestly claim to have the same passion for the Word of God as this writer did, I do find that I am drawn to it more and more, the deeper I dig into it, and familiarize myself with it.
At a time of year when many people are making New Year’s resolutions, if you’re the type that makes those things, I encourage you to commit to reading through the Bible this year. There are many reading plans out there. I found quite a few without even really looking, and I know there are many more out there. I’m doing the M’Cheyene plan again for another year, partly because I like the format of reading from different places in the same sitting, but partly just because I’m familiar with it, and I know that the consistency of the plan will keep me on task, and help me accomplish my goal of reading systematically through Scripture.
Look at the benefits of immersing yourself in the word. “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.” D. L. Moody once said, “This book will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from this book.” Being more aware of the rules, commands and statutes that God has given us in His Word, we become more aware of our sin, and of how offensive it is to God. If you doubt that, verse 11 says, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”
Studying the Word of God is a wonderfully valuable pursuit. Reading through the whole Bible helps to give you greater perspective of how it all fits together. When we read both the Old and New Testaments, we see more clearly how there is truly one unfolding story from beginning to end, and that God is the author of that story. We also see how Jesus often quoted Old Testament Scripture. It was said that he taught with great authority; well when you are one with the author, you can teach it with greater appreciation and authority.
We have so many competing voices trying to get into our heads every day, and many that we invite willingly, despite what poor counsel they give us. I encourage you to make it a point; make it a goal; make it a resolution to read through the whole Bible this year, even if you did it last year, or some other time in the past. You’ll benefit from filling your mind with truth, and you’ll be blessed as you continue to learn about God and His ways.
You don’t need a theological degree to study the Bible. Pray for the Holy Spirit to help you to grasp and understand. Pray for God to make Himself known to you as you read, but read. Please read. Read like your life depends on it—like your eternity depends on it, because it does.
By His Grace Alone,
Pastor Bruce Jacobsen