What is your idea of profit? Jesus once said, “People don’t live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God.” Over the course of my time following Christ, I’ve heard many people reminisce their old church or Christian group, often times saying, “I used to be close to God—when I was a part of that group, but ever since, I don’t experience God in my life in the same way.” And I heard things like this over and over again. But then there were others I would run into and somehow their relationship with God seemed to survive transitions from one church or group to another.
The differentiating factor was the regular, consistent learning from the Bible—as Jesus said, “feeding your soul on God’s Words.” This was the dividing line that seemed to separate a personal, continually growing experience of God from an event or group-dependent experience of God.
God told us the Bible is useful to our spiritual growth in many ways: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the person of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
It’s God breathed–inspired. We don’t believe God dictated His words–that’s not what 2 Timothy 3 means. Instead, it says God inspired (He used the people He created to record His interactions, thoughts and ways). This is important—there is a dual authorship of scripture. 2 Peter 1:20-21 says, “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” People wrote in their own language, grammar, historical context, using their own style and vocabulary. But they were moved by God’s Spirit to write thoughts impressed upon their minds by God. So it claims throughout to be God’s revealed words to us…and He intended it to be profitable for us.
Profitable for Teaching – It teaches us about God and about ourselves. Just like you can learn a lot about a person by reading biographies, and you can understand yourself better by studying psychology—God has given us the scriptures so we can know him and ourselves better. How many of us have had misconceptions about God that have changed since we read what the Bible actually says about God’s character or his love?
Profitable for Reproof – Were you ever reproved as a child? From what I know of most of us, we were reproved a lot. This just means pointing out when we screw up–pointing out our shortcomings. Now the biggest problem we have with reproof is that if it’s not done in love, it feels like a hammer. But God always points out when we go astray for one of two reasons: To protect us from harm, or to provide something better. And as we grow to trust that what we want is really what God wants for us, then we will listen to reproof with an open mind.
Profitable for Correction – Correction is different than pointing out what is wrong. Correction is showing the way back onto the right path. When we’re lost on the road of life, God’s Word shows us how to get back on God’s road for us.
Profitable for Training – It shows us how to put exercises in our lives that will help train us to be spiritually strong. Just like you work out and train your body to be physically strong, we must train spiritually to stay fit and able to respond to tests of our spiritual strength and endurance.
But the only way the Bible is going to profit us at all is if we make the time to invest ourselves in it. Think of all the books we’ve read, studied, memorized from 6th grade until now. We have the ability, so why wouldn’t we invest at least the same effort in the Greatest Book ever written? Thoughts?