October 15, Tuesday

Devotional Thought for Today

“A Sharp and Effective Tool”

Hebrews 4:12-13 

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

As part of a group of friends, we recently gifted someone a boning knife. When I first heard of this gift, I wondered why anyone would specifically want one. But as I researched and read reviews online, I found legions of people who sang its praises: chefs love its pliability and how it’s malleable in their hands to make intricate cuts. It’s specifically useful to separate meat that clings to the bones so you can get some very tasty (but otherwise hard-to-get) pieces. It’s not just that this knife needs to be sharp, but it can get into some very difficult places.

The author of Hebrews mentions that the word is living, active, sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing! Just like a sword (and I suppose, a boning knife), it gets into all the crevices of our soul and pokes around quite effectively. 

If the Bible is so effective, why is it that reading it can be such a hard discipline for many Christians to acquire? I wonder (for myself and for you) if many Christians are loath to read the Word and effectively engage with it because we do not want to be faced with our own inner realities. Instead, it is easier to keep the Word, which would have so much to say about our hearts, at arm’s length. 

But, at the end of the day, don’t you and I want to grow? Let’s receive God’s instruction and insight and dedicate ourselves to reading His word. He may point out to us, very quickly, the errors in our thoughts and actions. But He is also ready to gently and kindly lead us with His guidance. Today, I encourage you to take extra time to read the Bible and let Him examine your heart with it. Let’s not keep His Word at arm’s length. Let’s ask Him to speak to us directly and graciously so that we may live well. 

Prayer: Father, I know that You have the words of life, and I need them. Help me to overcome fear, shame, and guilt when coming into Your presence. I want Your correction and your guidance to live in a way that pleases You. Let Your word reshape and mold me today!

Bible Reading for Today: Revelation 15


Lunch Break Study

Read 2 Timothy 3:14-17: But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Questions to Consider

  1. What are attributes of Scripture listed here?
  2. Why is it important that Timothy not just know the Scriptures but also know “those from whom [he] learned it”?
  3. What is the ultimate benefit of knowing Scripture?

Notes

  1. Scripture comes directly from God and is filled with His Spirit. It instructs, admonishes, and instructs hearers to grow in a godly manner. A more general statement would be that Scripture is an effective tool for apprenticeship in Christian life.
  2. Reading and understanding texts is one thing, but Paul mentions that spiritual formation is also crystallized when godly examples of spiritual life are available to the learner. Close examples of godliness and love for the Scripture directly teaching Timothy were critical to him accepting its truth and becoming a student of it.
  3. Paul writes that a servant of God can be thoroughly equipped (not just slightly, or adequately, but thoroughly) for every good work by being immersed in Scripture. The necessity and need for Scripture take prominence here and remind us that all we need for godliness is found in God’s word.

Evening Reflection

How was your time in God’s word today? Did it bring a sense of refreshment and encouragement? Let’s ask God to keep feeding and nourishing us through His Word (not just rebuke or conviction) so that we really see it as our daily bread.

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