Published May 1, 2019
Pastor Nate Bishop serves as lead pastor of Forest Baptist Church in Louisville. He's been serving the local church for more than 16 years. We recently asked him to help us think through the importance of studying God's Word.
Why is regularly reading God's Word important?
There are fewer things as important as the reading and hearing of Jesus' words. As we primarily speak to God through prayer, God primarily speaks to us through His Word. Through the consistent reading of Scripture, God reveals Himself, rearranges our affections, transforms us, guides us and lavishes His love upon us. Bible intake is a means of grace that God uses to renew our minds and to make us wise unto salvation. The Scriptures provide the foundational truths we are to live upon, bringing glory unto God and good to our daily lives. Spending regular time in God's Word is also an indication of spiritual health and maturity.
How would you encourage someone just beginning to read the Bible regularly?
I would encourage someone just beginning consistent Bible reading to choose quality over quantity. Reading a little each day will be more helpful in the long run than reading a lot one day and then missing a bunch of days. I would also suggest committing to some type of Bible reading plan to simplify the Bible intake process. I have often suggested to those getting started to choose a book like Proverbs or even the Gospel of Matthew and reading the chapter which corresponds with the day's date.
What does it mean to meditate on God's Word?
When we think about meditation, we have the idea of getting somewhere special and clearing our mind. Biblical meditation is actually the opposite. To meditate upon God's Word is to fill up your mind with a word, verse or passage of Scripture and slowly turn it over in your mind. Biblical meditation is to pause and to think deeply upon what you have read.
What do you do when life gets busy and you find it difficult to read your Bible?
There are seasons of life when I find that I have more time for Scripture reading than others. In those times I rely upon reading shorter passages, reciting Scripture I have committed to memory and using my time in the car to listen to Scripture. The key again is consistency.
How has reading God's Word changed your view of God?
As I'm reading Scripture, my view of God changes because it is deepened. Consistent reflection on Scripture provides a deeper understanding of who God is and what God is doing for His glory and our good. This depth of knowledge helps us to realign our affections to God's desires and not our own.
Does reading God's Word affect the way you pray?
Taking Donald Whitney's course on Spiritual Disciplines was transformative to my Christian walk. His portion on praying the Scriptures stirred my soul in new ways. Praying God's Word back to Him assures that I am in tune to His wants and desires. Prayer keeps me focused on what really matters. Reading Scripture gives me a fresh perspective on my need for prayer as well as revealing to me the power of prayer.
Does reading God's Word affect the way you go about your daily responsibilities?
Reading God's Word affects every aspect of my life. Storing up God's Word in my heart provides a biblical lens to look out into this world and to guide all of my interactions. From what I say, to how I say it. What responsibilities I complete and how I complete them. God uses His Word to fuel the light He wants me to shine that this world may see my good works and give glory to my Father in heaven.
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