Study the Old, Old Story This Year
How many emails, social media posts, or app notifications have you received in the last week encouraging you to follow a Bible reading plan in 2022? I hope these have prompted you to make or renew a resolution to study God’s Word this year.
“Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them.” (Psalm 111:2)
To kick off a new year, I want to spend the next several Wednesday’s Word devotionals focusing on different reasons to study and immerse yourself in the Bible. Here are five:
1. The Bible Gives Identity
The only way you can adequately understand who you are and what you were given life and breath to do is when you look at yourself through the lens of the narrative of Scripture. Only in this story will you learn that you were made by God and for God, that everything you are and have comes from him, and that you were made to live for something vastly more significant than yourself.
2. The Bible Gives Understanding
You will never know all you need to know to live as you were designed to live by human experience, research, and analysis. This is why God immediately spoke with Adam and Eve after he created them. In the same way, God speaks to us in his Word so that we can know and understand, and in knowing and understanding, live as we were created to live.
3. The Bible Gives Comfort
The world you live in can be very confusing, distressing, and painful. But the biblical story comforts us with another reality – that our world is not out of control. Rather, our world is under the careful personal control of One who is the ultimate definition of everything that is good, true, wise, and loving. So we can rest, not because we understand what’s happening, but because we know the One who rules it all.
4. The Bible Gives Salvation
This is the ultimate reason for the Word of God. Without it, we wouldn’t know that our biggest problem exists inside of us and is called sin. The biblical story chronicles the great things God has done and is doing to rescue, forgive, and deliver us from our sin. The epicenter of the narrative is the Cross of Jesus Christ, providing for us the one thing that we desperately need but cannot achieve on our own – new life.
5. The Bible Gives Hope
Because it is a story, the biblical story has a final chapter. This broken world’s sickness, sadness, and sin will end one day. We will be like God and with God forever. The Author of this Book has guaranteed the end of the story by raising Jesus from the dead. No matter what happens, we have hope because we know the final page has already been penned.
So as you continue to discipline yourself to read Scripture in 2022, train yourself to read the Bible as a story. This story has one central character: God himself, specifically in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
From cover to cover, the Bible is a narrative of his wondrous works and the blessings that are yours by grace. This old, old story imparts identity, understanding, comfort, salvation, and hope.
Has it become your favorite story to read every day?
The Old, Old Story
Poem by Arabella Katherine Hankey (1834-1911), later to set to music
Tell me the old, old story
Of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and His glory,
Of Jesus and His love.
Tell me the story simply,
As to a little child;
For I am weak and weary,
And helpless and defiled.
Tell me the story slowly,
That I may take it in –
That wonderful redemption,
God’s remedy for sin.
Tell me the story often,
For I forget so soon;
The early dew of morning
Has passed away at noon.
Tell me the same old story
When you have cause to fear
That this world’s empty glory
Is costing me too dear.
Tell me the story always,
If you would really be,
In any time of trouble,
A comforter to me.
Paul David Tripp
1. Have you read the Bible every day this year so far? If so, what is something new that God has revealed to you? If not, what has become more important in your daily life than the Word of God, and why is it taking precedent over personal devotions?
2. Do you have a plan to read the Bible every day this year? If so, what strategy are you using, why did you choose it, and what are you asking God to show you this year? If not, why have you not committed to reading the Bible every day? What might you need to eliminate or move down the priority list to make room for Scripture?
3. Do you delight in the study of Scripture every single time? Be honest. Or, do you sometimes approach it as a chore, hassle, or burden? When you are not motivated to study Scripture, what do you need to remind yourself of?
4. Re-read the list of five reasons to study the Bible because of what it gives: identity, understanding, comfort, salvation, and hope. Which of these feels most relevant to your life today, and why? How can you look for this theme in your study of Scripture in the coming days?
5. Which of the five from the list did you pay attention to the least or felt least relevant to you? Why might this be? How can you intentionally look for this theme in your study of Scripture in the coming days?
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