It was Dwight Lyman Moody who told us that the Bible was not given for our information but our transformation. D.L. Moody was one of the meekest and yet smartest preachers of the Victorian Age. He presented the plan of salvation to about a hundred million people by way of pen and voice. Moody’s exploits could be attributed to his unwavering pursuit of the things of God. He spent his time studying the Bible, meditating, praying and fasting.
The famous U.S. Theological institution, Moody Bible Institute is his product. The institution has produced some of the world-renowned Biblical scholars. Those of us who have a solemn penchant for Christian apologetics knows Bart Ehrman, and some of us may have come across his popular-level books. Ehrman is a world-famous Textual Critic. He is an alumnus of Moody Bible Institute.
The Victorian Age
Moody lived at a time of peace and prosperity. It was a period of Pax Britannica. Literary, it was characterized by giant writers such as Charles Dickens, George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, Thomas Hardy and Elizabeth Gaskell. Interestingly this period was dotted with spiritually industrious personalities who took the world by storm. They were not deadbeats; they were practical individuals toiling in the Kingdom of God with resolve, zeal, and zest. They were not just dime a dozen preachers but the unstoppable force that left a mark on the face of the earth.
One of Moody’s contemporary was Charles Haddon Spurgeon. As Moody was busy spreading the Good News in the United States, Spurgeon was busier than a cranberry merchant broadcasting the same Good News to Britons. The two men demonstrated to the masses that busyness without Jesus is indistinguishable from chasing tails. Moody first heard of Spurgeon through newspapers’ accounts of London’s illustrious preachers. Moody would then look for works of literature on Spurgeon and devour them like honey. Moody is reported to have attributed the birth of his preaching ministry to Spurgeon.
“A Bible that’s falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t.”
– Charles H. Spurgeon
Why Study the Bible
It makes sense to study the Bible. It opens up your mind to insights, nuggets of wisdom and understanding. I have a small KJV New Testament Bible that was given to my mother in 1978 by Baptist missionaries. I have kept it not just as a memento but as invaluable Word of God. It has some insightful notes by Porter Barrington. Porter Barrington fantastically arranged his writings specifically targeting the new believer. It summarises major Bible teachings in a style that takes a new believer from basics to brilliance.
“Keep in mind that the Bible is not a book of philosophy, although it is philosophical. Do not go to the Bible for a scientific argument. However, there is no discrepancy between ascertained facts of science and the Bible. The Bible is not a book of history but is found to be accurate when recording history. The Bible was given to us from God, revealing Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and God the Son, the only Savior John 14:6. He is the center and the circumference. It is Christ from Genesis to Revelation”
– Porter Barrington
- It is the wellspring of Truth
The Bible is infallible, inerrant, complete, totally sufficient, authoritative and final. It provides us with the truth. “Sanctify them by Your truth; Your word is truth” John 17:17. I find no other literature that equips me with truth the way the Bible does. It lays out for us the plan of Salvation and still offers instructions for a productive Christian life.
- It is the mine gold of Blessings
It the source of God’s blessings for us. “But He said, ‘More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it’” Luke 11:28. I cannot keep what I have not heard or read. I cannot observe what I have not understood. If I cannot keep it; if I cannot observe it, then I miss out on His blessings. That is why I study my Bible. Blessings of peace and abundance follow me day in day out. The peace with God and peace of God accompanies my being.
- It is the source of victory
Studying the Bible guarantees me to victory. “...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” Ephesians 6:17. A Christian who does not study the Bible is a soft target for the enemy – because she/he cannot fight back. His/her quivers are empty. His/her sheath has no sword. A Christian who fights shy of the Holy Writ is like an army barrack without weapons – no machine guns, no grenades…….Soon he/she falls under the relentless blows of the enemy. It is impossible to conquer territories here and beyond when you have a shortage of weaponry. You armoury must overflow with arms.
The Bible will equip you with the right words. You will become a hardened combatant as you study it. A dalliance with the Bible produces spiritual valiance. Nothing within and/or without can make you wilt when you read this Writ. This is the fundamental truth.
- It is the Food for Growth
For a Christian, growth is a continuous process: It never ends. However, one can get stuck at one level for a long time, or even for the rest of his life. It is not uncommon to fail in breaking through the ranks and advancing to a nobler place. It happens so often when we leave our Bibles to gather dust on shelves.
Babies do not grow to become youths. They will continue to cry and throw tantrums. They struggle in communication and understanding.
The youth will not mature to young adults. They will always remain haughty, rude, rebellious and unreasonable. Their posturing never ends.
The adults will not grow into parents; for it a burden to them. Parenthood calls for service and sacrifice. Service and sacrifice are vocabularies for those who have abandoned their Bibles. Try serving without the Bible as your Foundation; you won’t serve for long.
“As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word that you may grow thereby” 1 Peter 2:2.
- It is a powderkeg
A Bible-less Christian is a baseless Christian. A Christian who does not engage his/her Bible has no power to continue in salvation. Your steam runs out fast when you stop the meditation. The more I read my Bible, the more I find the power to carry on. The Christian journey may sometimes be tough and rough. But those who hold on to the end are the ones who know their God.
Picture a gun without gunpowder! Without Bible study, you become a gun with no power to fire. Your impact will wane like a wannabe. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” Rom. 1:16.
- It offers guidance
We were having a chat with a certain gentleman about this and that. He told us how he got lost trying to find his way to Kisii. He was to attend a burial in the Western Kenya town famous for plantains but had never been past Nakuru town his entire life. So when he reached Mau Summit, he took the Eldoret road. He drove along enjoying the smooth ride, the inclines, and declines, and finally found himself in Eldoret. He asked around for a shorter route to Kisii instead of driving back to Mau Summit. He was informed that he would have to drive to Kapsabet town then find a route that will lead him to Kisii. He immediately took off and endured a moderately bumpy ride to Kapsabet. He passed Kabsabet town and was now headed to Vihiga when he stopped to ask for direction again. To cut the long story short, he had a long day!
That is what can happen to our spiritual life when we do not seek for guidance. We can only obtain guidance by reading the Bible. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” Psalm 119:105.
Study the Bible. It is an indispensable practice.
“The Bible was composed in such a way that as beginners mature, its meaning grows with them”
-Augustine of Hippo, Confessions.