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Mar25FriAre you making time to read the Bible? March 25, 2022 by Major Kevin Metcalf
- Filed Under:
- Opinion & Critical Thought
Becoming and making “CHRIST-centred, OTHERS-focused” disciples requires gaining an understanding of what lies beneath the description. Using the words CHRIST and OTHERS as acronyms can help us identify the essentials of holistic and healthy discipleship. We begin with C for canon, the collection of biblical books that we regard as sacred Scripture. What does it mean to recognize the Word of God as the standard by which we live in and live out Christian faith? Major Kevin Metcalf helps us see the importance of the Bible in living a Christ-centred story.
We believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were given by inspiration of God; and that they only constitute the Divine rule of Christian faith and practice.—Salvation Army Doctrine 1
Have you read your Bible today? If not, you should. The Christian believer seeking to be in a genuine, healthy, maturing relationship with the living God—seeking to live a productive and effective life of mission and ministry—will, without any exception, require the rich nourishment found in the Bible.
Is knowing God important to you? If so, the Bible will be important to you. We aren’t equipped to go out and discover God. No, our only hope is that God reveals himself to us. And God has revealed himself to us in two ways: in Jesus, the Incarnate Word of God, and in the Bible, the written Word of God. If we want to know who God is—and what he wants from us—some Bible reading will be necessary.
The Salvation Army thinks the Bible is important. Doctrine 1 is not Doctrine 1 by accident. Our founders knew that it was the foundation for all other doctrines. Everything we believe—everything that makes us The Salvation Army: our theology, our ecclesiology, our mission and our ministry—must inevitably be a response to the commands of God expressed in the Bible.
We used to sing a song by Colonel Edward Joy: “I believe in the Word of God, I believe in the Word of God; Every promise is true, I believe it, do you? I believe in the Word of God” (SASB 806).
We must be people of the Word. As theologian and author John Stott said, “Christianity is, in its very essence, a religion of the Word of God.” So, we need to take Doctrine 1 seriously. We know what the doctrine says. But many of us will have to admit that we haven’t always searched the Scriptures and fed on the Word of God as we ought to have done.
There are many barriers to our proper handling of the Word of God. The “tyranny of the urgent” can get in the way. We are busy people. We have an obligation to work to provide food for our families. We get busy driving the kids to hockey or dance classes. We are committed to various activities at the corps. But our busyness is not a legitimate excuse for ignoring the Word of God. Nothing in our lives—not even family—should be considered more important than our pursuit of God.
It is a brilliant conspiracy of Satan to keep us so busy—even busy in ministry activities—that we have no real quality time with God. It is a conspiracy that secretly lulls us into thinking that we’re busy doing important stuff for God’s kingdom and has us justifying our busy lifestyle with the thought that we’re giving the Lord all that we’re able to give him. It is a conspiracy that keeps us shallow when we would be much better off deliberately spending time digging deeply into the Word of God.
We might have some awkward moments on the Judgment Day when we’ll have to face Jesus and say, “Well, Lord, you know how busy I was!” Some days it may feel like we have no time for God. But for our own spiritual survival, we know that this is an insufficient response to the grace of God. We know that we must make time for God in our lives.
Of course, reading the Bible must be accompanied by prayer if we are to make any significant spiritual progress. Someone might read the Bible and find only history, poetry and stories (and myths, if they don’t believe in miracles). But if we are spending time with God in prayer—hearing his voice speaking to our hearts, seeking for help on our journey into his holiness—then our Bible reading will show us a God who delights in coming to the rescue of lost, broken people. Just exactly the God we need in our lives.
Have you read your Bible today?
Major Kevin Metcalf is the corps officer at Yorkminster Citadel in Toronto.
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