All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. – 2 Timothy 3:16-17
The Bible is God’s self-revelation to us. To misrepresent scripture is to misrepresent God. The nature of scripture as God-breathed truth demands we study it carefully, present it faithfully, and obey it wholeheartedly.
The word of God is necessary, powerful, and sufficient for spiritual development and Christian service. It teaches, rebukes, corrects, and trains in righteousness. It makes the man of God competent and fully equipped for every good work.
Why should Christians make the prayerful, diligent study of God’s word a top priority?
It is the first thing for the Christian disciple. And it is the main thing for the Christian minister.
The First Thing for the Christian Disciple
In the Great Commission, Jesus commands us to mark new disciples by water baptism (Matthew 28:19). After baptism, the discipleship process consists of “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20). A disciple is learner, student, or follower. We follow Christ to learn from Christ to become like Christ.
Discipleship requires obedience. Jesus asks, “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” (Luke 6:46) To live in obedience to Christ, we must know his commands. This requires sitting under clear, sound, and faithful teaching. It also requires that you study the scriptures for yourself. There is not spiritual growth without biblical understanding.
The Main Thing for the Christian Minister
The life of a Christian minister involves many activities, responsibilities and opportunities. But nothing should eclipse the priority of prayer and the ministry of the word (Acts 6:4). Our public ministry should prioritize prayer and scripture. So should our private ministry. We cannot be ready to speak to and for God in public if we do not pray and study in private.
Counseling, sick-visitation, funerals, and weddings are key ministry duties. But the minister has failed if the minister has spent his week caring for people but does not prepare himself to preach the word. It is not the pastor’s job to do the ministry. It is his job to equip the saints to do the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:12). We must be unashamed workmen (2 Timothy 2:15) to teach, equip, and nurture our people to spiritual maturity in Christ.
What do you do to keep the word of God the first thing as a Christian disciple? What do you do to keep the word of God the main thing as a Christian minister?