I wonder how many of us reading this are old enough (in the Lord) to remember a paperback, Mr. Mee Runs A Race, once published by Africa Christian Press(ACP). The book is based on Heb. 12:1-2. It encourages believers to focus on Christ while running the Christian race, but at the same time not to forget the cloud of witnesses that have gone before and also to maintain company with other believers who are running the same race. The book admonishes that the purpose of keeping company alongside other believers is to encourage “Mr.Mee” when he grows weary and is tempted to drop out.
That is the same reason for this “checking“ to encourage all of us in our pursuit and commitment to reading the Bible everyday and in its entirety in this Global Year of the Bible.
The second half of 2020 began since the beginning of this month, July and the first half is now history. I won’t bore you with the long story and reasons why this letter which its original manuscript was ready by the end of June is only being published late in July. Suffice it to say this is an “EMBATTLED LETTER.”
The last communication on this subject gave a short list of benefits derived from daily reading of the Bible . Here are some more reasons why the daily practice of Scripture reading is inevitable.
1. The Life God That Blesses
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD ,And in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season. Whose leaf does not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper. Ps.1:1-3.
This Book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Josh.1:1-3.
2. The Means of Grace
The Westminster Shorter Catechism ( WSC) identifies three Means of Grace and prioritizes the Word above the other two-Sacraments and Prayer.
The Spirit of God makes the reading, but especially the preaching, of the word, an effectual means of convincing and convicting sinners, and of building them up in holiness and comfort, through faith, unto salvation.
The Hymn writer, Daniel W. Whittle agrees wholeheartedly as expressed in the lyrics,
I know not how this saving faith,
To me He did impart,
Nor how believing in His Word,
Wrought peace within my heart.
I know not how the Spirit moves, Convincing men of sin,
Revealing Jesus through the Word, Creating faith in Him.
The Reformed theologian, Geerhardus Vos, concludes thus:
If necessary, we can think of Word as a means of grace without sacrament, but it is impossible to think of sacrament as a means of grace without Word. The sacraments depend on Scripture, and the truth of Scripture speaks in and through them.
Another Reformed writer adds,
“Likewise, prayer becomes a means of grace only as it is shaped by the truth of Scripture. The Holy Spirit takes the Word and enables believers to pray in accord with God’s will.“
The apostles while acknowledging the importance of caring for the needy and vulnerable segment of the Church,yet esteemed the word of God of higher priority. Acts.6:1-4.
The apostle Paul gives a summation which embraces all of the above observations :
And that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God mat be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work 2 Tim.2:15-17.
3. It Is Authentic (Reliable)
- The Law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul, The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;
The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
The fear of the LORD is clean enduring forever;
The judgements of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. Ps.19:7-9.
- Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven. Ps.119:89.
- Your testimonies, which You have commanded, Are righteous and very faithful. Ps.119:138.
- Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, And Your law is truth. Ps.119:142.
- The entirety of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.Ps.119:160.
- You are near, O LORD, And all Your commandments are truth . Ps.119:151.
- Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as the were moved by the Holy Spirit. 2 Pet.1:20-21.
- Pay attention to the following testimonies by Christ Himself.
…And the Scripture cannot be broken. Jn.10:35.
- Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Matt.5:17-18.
4. It Is Desirable
- More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by keeping them Your servant is warned, And in keeping them there is great reward.Ps.19:10-11.
- The law of Your mouth is better to me Than thousands of coins of gold and silver.Ps.119:72.
- I will never forget Your precepts, For by them You have given me life.Ps.119:93.
- I opened my mouth and panted, For I longed for Your commandments.Ps.119:131.
- How sweet are Your words to my taste,Sweeter than honey to my mouth.Ps.119:103.
- Therefore I love Your commandments, More than gold, yes, than fine gold.Ps.119:27.
- Your word is very pure; Therefore Your servant loves it .Ps.119:140.
5. It Gives Satisfaction
- I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth More than my necessary food.Job 23:12.
- Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.Ps.119:97.
- Your testimonies I have taken as a heritage forever, For they are the rejoicing of my heart.Ps.119:111.
- I rejoice at Your word As one who finds great treasure.Ps.119:162.
- I long for Your salvation, O LORD, And Your law is my delight.Ps.119:174.
- Your words were found, and I ate them, And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of mu heart.; For I am called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts.Jer.15:16.
6. It Gives Wisdom
- The entrance of Your words give light; It gives understanding to the simple.Ps.119:130.
- You through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies; For they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers, For Your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, Because I keep Your precepts.Ps.119:98-100.
- Through Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way.Ps.119:104.
- Your testimonies are also my delight And my counselors.Ps.119:24.
7. It Gives Comfort In Trial and Adversity
- The cords of the wicked have bound me, But I have not forgotten Your law. Ps.119:61.
- The proud have forged a lie against me, But I will keep Your precepts with my whole heart. Their heart is as fat as grease, But I delight in Your law. Ps.119:69-70.
- Let the proud be ashamed,For they treated me wrongfully with falsehood; But I will meditate on Your precepts.Ps.119:78.
- My soul faints for Your salvation, But I hope in Your word. My eyes fail from searching Your word, Saying, “When will You comfort me? For I have become like a wineskin in smoke, Yet I do not forget Your statutes. Ps.119:81-83.
- They almost made an end of me on earth, But I did not forsake Your precepts .Ps.119:87.
- Unless Your law had been my delight, I would then have perished in my affliction.Ps.119:92.
- The wicked wait for me to destroy me, But I will consider Your testimonies.Ps.119:95.
- Trouble and adversity have overtaken me, Yet Your commandments are my delights.Ps.119:143.
- I rise before the dawning of the morning ,And cry for help; I hope in Your word.Ps.119:147.
- I am afflicted very much; Revive me, O LORD, according to Your word. Ps.119:107.
- My life is continually in my hand, Yet I do not forget Your law. The wicked have laid a snare for me, Yet I have not strayed from Your precepts. Ps.119:109-110.
- I am small and despised, Yet I do not forget Your precepts.Ps.119:141.
- Consider my affliction and and deliver me, For I do not forget Your law.Plead my cause and redeem me; Revive me according to Your word. Ps.119:153-154.
- Many are my persecutors and my enemies, Yet I do not turn from Your testimonies. Ps.119:157.
- Great peace have they who love Your law, And nothing causes them to stumble.Ps.119;165.
The above, by no means exhaustive list,is barely a scratch on the surface . But is meant to prod us on the very spiritually rewarding commitment we embarked upon at the start of the year.Perhaps for some, it maybe a starting point. Remember Mr Mee at the beginning of this letter. We all need one another’s support and encouragement in the Christian race. We are already surrounded by “ so great a cloud of witnesses “ who have gone before us. We are supported by Jesus “ the author and finisher of our faith.Heb.12:1-2. Let us keep on keeping our gaze on Him “ who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God “ Heb.12:3 as we race towards the finishing line.
Still remember these Old Time Choruses. Let’s sing them together :
Read Your Bible
Read Your Bible, Pray Everyday, Pray Everyday,Pray Everyday
Read Your Bible, Pray Everyday, If You want to Grow
If You want to Grow, If You want to Grow oooh, Read Your Bible
Pray Everyday, If You want to Grow.
The Best Book
The best book to read is the Bible, the best book to read is the Bible
If you read it every day, it will guide you on your way
Oh, the best book to read is the Bible
My Bible And I
I have a wonderful treasure
The gift of God without measure
We will travel together
My Bible and I
Author: Rev. Joseph Ezeigbo
Rev. Joseph Ezeigbo is the Vice-Chairman of ECWA USA and a Bible teacher for the weekly Bible study at ECWA Maryland. He is also a part of the National Day of Prayer and the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted.