Editor’s note: The purpose of this series is to write on “Issues in the Church” that either aren’t talked about, ignored entirely, or that we want to contribute to the discussion on. Our goal with this series is to help our readers think through these issues from a biblical worldview with lots of practical gospel-application.
- Joel opened up our series looking at expository preaching: an end goal more than a style.
- Mike Cooper wrote on pastoral hospital visits.
- Dr. Josh Buice answered to important questions about expository preaching.
- Dr. David Schrock wrote on the question, “What is Jesus’s Evangelism Program?”
- Dave wrote on how to care for your pastor.
- Dave wrote on three keys to sermon listening and note-taking.
- Joey Tomlinson wrote about the priority of regularly communing with God.
- Dave wrote on biblical doctrine: the lifeblood of the Christian life.
- Dave wrote on Doctrine: The Fuel for Discipleship.
- Dr. Schrock wrote on church membership.
- Dave wrote on the importance of church history.
- Joel wrote on five ways to pray or your pastor.
- Today Joey writes on how to prevent poverty of the soul through Bible intake.
As Christians, our Bible should be the source of everything we need this side of eternity. This isn’t because of the Book itself, but because of the author of the Book. Even more so, God has deposited His Holy Spirit in His people to illuminate truth as they seek to commune with the Lord through His Word and prayer. This side of eternity there are many things that can steal our joy and harden our hearts toward God and the great salvation He provided through His Son. A means of grace to prevent this hardening is Bible intake.
Consider the words of the Psalmist regarding God’s Word:
“In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches” (Psalm 119:14)
“My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word!” (Psalm 119:25)
“My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word!” (Psalm 119:28)
“My soul longs for your salvation; I hope in your word.” (Psalm 119:81)
“Your testimonies are my heritage forever, for they are the joy of my heart.” (Psalm 119:111)
These are just a few of the myriad of passages describing the Word of God. Do you think of God’s Word the way the Psalmist does? He associates the Word of God with words like; “riches”, “delight”, “clings”, “longs”, “joy”, “life”, “strength”, “hope”, “heritage”. Now I want you to really consider the Psalmist’s conclusions about God’s Word because it’s easy to agree if you’re a believer.
If you agree with the Psalmist, I want you to evaluate how you apply your belief. Evaluating the application of your belief about the Word of God (and any other core conviction for that matter) should be enlightening to you. Bible intake is an essential discipline for the Christian and as you cherish it, you should long for it more and more. The Psalmist longed for the Scriptures. The Psalmist feasted on the Scriptures.
Is this evident in your life? Most of us have good intentions, but we deceive ourselves by believing that we will get around to it eventually… when things calm down… when the children are in bed… when we’re not as tired… when that big project at school is finished… when we meet that deadline at work… never mind.
“You must learn to do the things that prepare you for eternity with your life unsettled.” I believe it was Donald Whitney, Professor of Biblical Spirituality and Associate Dean at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary who said that. That comment has stuck with me for years. What are the things you should be doing now to prepare for eternity? What are the things you should be doing now so that you can glorify God with each day He has gifted you to steward?
Here is my practical suggestion as you seek to become disciplined in the area of Bible intake:
Get. Up. Early.
I by no means can turn to chapter and verse and say “God commands you to do this”, but I do believe there is wisdom in rising early. Jesus modeled this for us in Mark 1:35.
I try to maintain the discipline of waking up before everyone else does. It’s quiet, I grab a cup of coffee and I commune with the Lord by reading His Word and applying it to my life. When by God’s grace, I maintain this precious discipline- it’s deeply refreshing and such a blessing to my soul.
Prevent poverty of the soul by daily feasting on the riches of God’s Word.
Joey Tomlinson (DMin, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is a husband, father, and pastor at a local church in Newport News, Virginia. He blogs regularly on broadoakpiety.org and hosts a weekly podcast called The Broad Oak Piety Podcast with another local pastor in the community.