When a person begins speaking about what the Bible teaches before they have finished reading it, they can easily fall into many difficulties and then wonder why this has happened. This doesn’t mean that we will be able to avoid every difficulty once we have read through the entire Bible, but it will make a big difference. We’re not wanting Christians to fall into needless and avoidable circumstances and neither should we want them to engage into issues outside their sphere of learning and be led by their ignorance, which they would be ignorant of. What we want is for followers of Christ to be aware of the world from the vantage point that the scriptures provide.
Before there were study Bibles there were Bibles that were to be studied, and now that there are study bibles the temptation occurs to read the notes more than the passage that the notes are made from. With all this in mind and in particular that people may not have read all of God’s word, or are reading all of God’s word on a regular basis. The conclusion can be made that people will not be living by every word of God as Jesus taught but only by some of them.
When Bibles are opened for the pleasure of reading them, it will naturally lead to study, the person will begin to learn how to read God’s word for its meaning as the word of God will interpret itself. When this happens the person reading and studying for himself is growing in the knowledge of God and therefore growing as a Christian. As we consider the importance of reading every word we recognise that it is for the purpose of living by every word and if we only live by the words we know then we are not living as we should. Living by every word means that we will live in a manner worthy of our calling, it also means that our mind and heart will be filled and therefore healthy. Therefore, when we live by every word, God is taking care of us as a whole person, our conduct, our thoughts, feelings, the full range of human emotion and we begin to understand and experience these blessings.
If we can make any claim at this point with absolute certainty, it would be that those who have only read a portion of God’s word cannot live by every word. Therefore, reading every word proceeds living by every word and this means that if we encourage the young to not run before they can walk, the same applies to Christians who are studying God’s word, learn to walk first and by this, we mean read first. As we read the word of God we will be taking in more than we first realise, such as information about locations, people, events and if we read from beginning to end we will understand what came first and how one event led to another, who did what and why, and in all of this we see God. Filling our minds and hearts with what God has said by reading the word much lays the foundation for understanding what we have read.
Study the word
The reason we study the word of God is so that we can understand God the work of God and in turn give Him the glory. We do not want to be in the position of worshipping what we do not know, neither should we want to make commitments or take actions that are not in line with scripture, which is likely to happen if we only know a portion. Since the study of God’s word is preceded by the reading of His word and that the basic rules of interpretation present themselves happens as we read we are being led into the study of God’s word by God’s word. As we read through the word of God we are being immersed and the word and the Spirit will be effective in our lives, meaning that if we do nothing else but read often, we will find that God will bring us to the place where we will desire greater understanding then we can apply the word to a greater extent in our life and in service to others.
We study the scriptures so that we can live by every one of them and so by learning the word of God we aim to increase our ability to obey. This obedience and learning doesn’t stop at our personal walk with God but rather continues into how we apply the word of God to the current situation.
Since all of God’s word is profitable it follows that living by every word will be profitable. This profit or fruitfulness is something which will make its way out into every sphere of life. Instead of seeing the application of God’s word as something which only speaks to the Christian’s way of life, once the whole word is read and understood it will be applied to how we do the work we do and why we do it. Often the fruitfulness of God’s word is hindered by the fact that it plays no part in the decisions people make and the work that they do. This is not to say that the word of God is given to answer every question about business or what time evening classes on social science should begin but it should be the governing influence.
In this short address, I am simply highlighting the truth and implications of what happens or does not happen when we do not know all of God’s word. That, if we only know some of the words of God then we can only consciously live in accordance with those words and maybe not even all the words we do know. Since we are called to live by every word, we are called to read every word.