Why do we read and study God’s Word? Is it because at some point we were told after making a decision to follow Christ that our next steps should be to read our Bibles, attend a Bible-believing church, pray, and share our faith? Maybe it’s because we know that all “good” Christians are to have “devotions” and so we have added that to our “to-do” list. Perhaps we read to avoid feeling guilt since we sense the peer pressure of a church culture that emphasizes this spiritual discipline. Or maybe it’s because we’ve always viewed it as our “pick-me-up” for the day. What is your motivation for reading Scripture? In what follows, I explore six reasons for being a woman of the word—reasons that apply to all Christians.
Our Means of Knowing God
It is in the Bible that we hear the heartbeat of God. In its pages God reveals who He truly is. When we open the Bible to study for ourselves we gain a first-hand view of our Creator. If our “chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever” (see 1 Cor. 10:31) then it’s imperative to explore and learn who God really is. We must get to know Him personally—for ourselves.
Is there a better way to learn who God is than to read the inspired account of who He says He is?
As we read His Word, in its entirety, we see patterns of things that He loves, the things that He sorrows over, what delights Him, and what makes Him angry. It is an opportunity to get to know Him intimately and develop a deep, consistent relationship with the Lover of our soul. Is there a better way to learn who He is than to read the inspired account of who He says He is? We bend our ear to the pages and listen for the rustling as He unveils His character to us.
Our Means for Knowing How To Live
In a world perpetually communicating an ungodly worldview, how can we navigate all the competing philosophies unless we turn to and learn from the source of Truth? How are we able to discern and make decisions that are going to lead to life and blessing (Psalm 36:9)? How wonderful it is to have confidence that “His divine power has granted us everything pertaining to life and godliness” — everything we need to live on this earth and to prepare for eternity is contained in His Word. And how does He communicate that much-needed information? “Through the true knowledge of Him who has called us by His own glory and excellence” (2 Peter 1:3). It’s by knowing Him that we then know how to live. To rightly view Him, ourselves, others, and all the world around us we must be avid students of His Word.
An Opportunity for Transformation
Far from being stagnant and dead words on a page, “the Word of God is active and living” (Hebrews 4:12). It was designed to move us from a less desirable state to a more desirable state. How do we see this process accomplished? Philippians 1:6 states, “He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Through our diligent reading and study, God changes and transforms us to better reflect Him to the world around us (John 17:7). As God’s truth penetrates our minds and His Holy Spirit uses that truth to illumine areas that need transformation, we can humbly cooperate with the process of becoming more like His Son (Psalm 119:98).
A Catalyst for Growth In Our Relationship to God
I had the blessing of being born into a family where I was exposed to the Word at an early age. The majority of my exposure came from church attendance, listening to preaching, and occasionally staying in my grandparents’ homes where the Bible was read during family “worship.” But sometime in my pre-teens, I happened upon a radio preacher who was doing an exegetical study through the book of Hebrews. It was the first time I’d been exposed to exegetical preaching—careful verse by verse teaching through a book of Scripture. God used it as a catalyst in my life in a way that marked me and set me on a trajectory of studying God’s word for myself.
I found that there was a background, audience, and context to what I was reading. I learned what it meant that “all Scripture is inspired by God and is beneficial for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16-17), and that it includes even those parts that are hard and cause us to wrestle. Instead of merely having a topic drive my study of the Word, I allowed the Word to reveal new topics and applications. No longer was Scripture fragmented into a few verses or a chapter, but I began to view whole books, and the purposes behind the books, and a theme of redemption that weaves all those books together.
Listening to sermons in church is not a replacement for our own study. There comes a time in our maturation process when it is necessary for us to transition from milk to meat, and this involves us becoming skilled in the word of righteousness (Hebrews 5:12; Ephesians 4:13-15). A baby does not learn to walk by being carried. Muscles must be stretched: stamina and endurance skills must be strengthened. And so we cooperate with the Holy Spirit to grow and develop as we should (Hebrews 6:1).
Transmitting Truth to Those Around Us
Our knowledge of Scripture is not merely for the benefit of our own spiritual growth and personal guidance, but we are called to be ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20a) — in our homes, to our children, in the church body, to those who are our neighbors. We limit the amount and depth we are able to pass on by the amount that we’ve learned and the depths that we’ve plumbed for ourselves. We cannot teach what we do not know. We cannot model what we have not lived.
We cannot teach what we do not know. We cannot model what we have not lived.
If we are in a position of partnering with our husbands to raise godly children then we must be diligent in our preparation to fulfill that high calling. Statistically, mothers spend more time with their children than do fathers. While our husbands are the spiritual heads of our home, we are the feet who carry out the daily “line upon line, precept upon precept” training (Isaiah 28:10).
In our own home, we have a short three-question catechism that our boys learned as soon as they began talking.
Q: What is the most important thing in all the world?
A: Love and serve Jesus.
Q: What’s the second most important thing in all the world?
A: Love and serve other people.
Q: What’s the most important question you can ask?
A: What does the Bible say!
Your children may ask, Mom, why do evil people get away with so much wickedness? How can I know that all my sins are forgiven? Why does God heal some people but then grandma had to suffer so much? How will I know what God wants me to do? Is there any time in my life when it will get easier to resist temptation? And so on. The questions are never-ending. And if our children don’t get answers from us, they will get their answers somewhere else. The most sacred job we have as mothers is to represent Jesus well to those God has entrusted to our care — our children. But we can’t do that unless we have something from which to draw on.
When we were adopted into God’s family we became a part of a Body, uniquely designed to work together to accomplish God’s will on this earth. As women, we have a specific position to fulfill in that body of believers — a position designed to contribute to the health of the body. This is most clearly outlined for us in Titus 2:3-5. As we grow and mature in our understanding then we are to be actively passing that knowledge on to younger women. This is true no matter what the age (you are always “older” than someone), or marital status (wives are not the only ones who need to learn how to be self-controlled, pure, and kind).
What is fascinating is the reason given for why women should be teaching women — “that the Word of God will not be dishonored.” Fulfilling our God-designed purpose is one of the ways in which we testify to the validity of Scripture to a watching world. Our transmission of the truth we have gleaned for ourselves contributes to the “hallowing” of God’s reputation. What an honor!
Changing Our Perspective
We are at a unique time in history where God’s Word is not only available in our language, but also where we are free as women to have our own copy and read it. So why do we read and study God’s Word? Hopefully it is not out of fear of guilt, or even because it’s on our “to-do” list. God intended for it to be so much more.
Day after day we make deposits into our knowledge bank in preparation for withdrawal at a later date. As you think of the ways in which you can make those daily “deposits,” consider how writer and teacher Jen Wilkin illustrates taking this “long-view” of Scripture:
Think of Bible study as a savings account rather than a debit card. Rather than viewing it as a declining balance you draw on to fill an immediate need, allow it to have a cumulative effect over weeks, months, and years. You may not reach understanding of a passage or be able to apply it well after one day’s exposure to it. That’s okay. Keep making deposits into your account, trusting that in God’s perfect timing he will illuminate the meaning and usefulness of what you’ve studied, compounding its worth. What if the passage you study today is preparing you for a trial ten years from now? Study faithfully now, trusting that nothing is wasted, whether your study time resolves neatly in thirty minutes or not.
May God give us a love for and a desire to be women of the Word.