My father passed away just over two years ago. He would have been 90 years old last Saturday. It was inevitable his birthday would come up in conversation with my family, but how it came up was rather strange. My daughter works at a restaurant and was asked by her boss to pick up a cake at a local bakery. She had no knowledge of what kind of cake it was or who it was for. Imagine her surprise when she saw the cake pictured below. It was a nostalgic, misty moment which we later talked about, along with how much we miss Daddy.
One of the things that often comes up when discussing my dad is his knowledge of scripture. He could quote the Bible as well as anyone I’ve ever known, and his Biblical knowledge far surpassed that of the average layman. His life challenged the idea that knowing God’s Word well was something to which only ministers or missionaries aspire. With that, here are three reasons every Christian man should zealously pursue an intimate knowledge of the Bible.
1) It Transforms Your Heart
There is a relational link between you and Jesus that is reflected in your Bible knowledge. Of course, it is entirely to possible to know much about the Bible without knowing Christ. For example, Adolf von Harnack, a famous liberal theologian, could basically quote the Greek New Testament but rejected the Bible as the Word of God. He reminds me of those described in Hebrews; “The message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.” (Hebrews 4:2)
Yet, if a man knows Christ, the depth and quality of that relationship will be reflected in his knowledge of the Bible. Jesus is the center and heart of the scriptures and to know him is to know that which reveals him. The Apostle Paul wrote that those Christ-rejecting Jews could not profit from the Bible because a veil of unbelief was over their hearts. But for us, as we gaze into the Holy Scriptures, “with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.” (2 Corinthians 3:18) The Holy Spirit, who resides in every believer, applies the Word to our hearts and works in us to make us more like Christ.
Jesus is the center and heart of the scriptures and to know him is to know that which reveals him.
Strive to know Christ through knowing the Word. Solomon admonishes us that if we will treasure God’s Word, lift our voice for understanding, and seek it as silver, “then we will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.” (Proverbs 2:1-6)
2) It Arms You for War Against Sin
In the panoply of God (Ephesians 6:10-20) the only offensive weapon is the Sword of the Spirit “which is the Word of God.” As men, we must constantly remember that we are engaged in spiritual battle. Daily we face temptations and trials that can only be vanquished by truth. The Psalmist prayed, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:11) Jesus put Satan to flight by quoting Old Testament scripture. A working knowledge of the Bible is essential to victory over sin. I wonder how many lives have ended up on the rocks of defeat and discouragement because of a failure to take advantage of this divine resource.
A working knowledge of the Bible is essential to victory over sin.
3) It Leaves a Legacy of Faith
How do you want to be remembered? What do you want people to say about you at your funeral? When people recall their memories of my father, it often seems something is said about his knowledge of the Bible. That you were a man of the Word is a precious legacy to leave to your loved ones. Imparting God’s truth to your children and grandchildren is far more important than leaving them only material benefits.
Your ability to impact others for Christ is directly related to your passion for God’s Word. Being able to give counsel, provide comfort, and even confront erring believers depends upon your knowledge and understanding of the Bible. So, how is it with you and your Bible? It’s not unlike asking about your walk with the Lord. I’ll leave you with an old poem about a man and his Bible:
Though the cover is worn, and the pages are torn,
And though places bear traces of tears,
Yet more precious than gold is this Book worn and old,
That can shatter and scatter my fears.
This old Book is my guide, ’tis a friend by my side,
It will lighten and brighten my way;
And each promise I find soothes and gladdens the mind,
As I read it and heed it each day.
To this Book I will cling, of its worth I will sing,
Though great losses and crosses be mine;
For I cannot despair, though surrounded by care,
While possessing this blessing Divine.