BIBLE-4 - Uses of the Bible
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INSPIRATION & USE OF THE BIBLE
"Your words were found and I did eat them and they were to me the joy
and rejoicing of my heart," Jeremiah 15:16.
We welcome you today of our study of the word of God together.
In this series of lessons we're talking about the inspiration,
importance, and really getting the most out of our Bible and our Bible study
I remember vividly my wife and I were looking at a home, to buy
that. We walked into the home, and as we walked through, it was kind of a
mess. I’ll just be honest, and as we walked through, we walked into what
seemed to be a great room, and in that room was a pool table, and on the
corner pocket of that pool table something caught my attention. Evidently,
they had had a party there the night before and the pool room was littered
with longneck beer bottles, but I especially remember something: a beer
bottle sitting on something.
As I draw closer, I'll never forget the image. In the corner pocket of
that pool table was a Bible, and right on top of that Bible was a beer bottle.
I thought to myself, isn't that the strangest use of the Bible that I've ever
seen. I've seen the Bible used for a lot of odd things. Some of those things
were very strange indeed. Some have used it to prop doors open. Others
have used it for purely decorative purpose. I've seen even in worship
children get a spanking with the backside of a Bible. This image was
probably the most unusual use of the Bible and most striking use that I've
Today we're going to talk about how to get the most out of your
We begin by mentioning some ways not to use the Bible. For
example, don't use the Bible as just a purely decorative art piece. Now,
don't get me wrong, Bibles are indeed beautiful. They have a beautiful,
significance to them in the various bindings that we have today. They are
beautiful, but friend the Bible is not meant to be a decorative art piece. The
Bible is meant to be a tool that is used like a tape measure, like a hammer,
and like a shovel. The Bible has a use. It is meant to be used. It is meant to
be worn out with one's study of the word of God; not just to sit on a
bookshelf or a coffee table to look nice.
We encourage you as well: don't just use the Bible to gain
knowledge alone. "Knowledge puffs up," Paul would say in 1 Corinthians
8:1. The idea is knowledge alone, without use, puffs one up or could puff
one up. So when I come to the Bible, I don't want to just gain knowledge.
Listen carefully, you can know every fact from Genesis 1:1 to
Revelation 2:21 and still never please the Lord-if you don't use it properly.
Paul said in Philippians 4:9, "The things which you heard and
received a saw in me," listen carefully, "these do." There's the application,
“and the God of peace will be with you.”
We also mention this; another incorrect use of the Bible would be to
prove self right and someone else wrong. Now, friend, don't get me wrong,
the Bible has the answer. We want to look to the word of God when
decisions, problems, and discussions come up. We want to let God's word
decide, but I don't ever want have the mindset: I'm going to go to the Bible
and prove them wrong and prove that I'm right.
Listen carefully, it's not about me; it's not about them. It's about
what does God says. I don't want to prove somebody wrong. I want to let
truth shine forth as right; I don't want to prove myself right. I want to find
what God says is right and let God receive the honor and glory. You've got
to remove the idea of self. It's not about me. It's not about you. Let's let God
shine forth. Let's let His words have the glory and never make it about a
personal contest in that sense.
How can I get the most out of my study and use of the Bible?
Here the ways: Number one you can use your Bible correctly, first
and foremost, by obeying it.
Do you remember what Jesus said in Luke 11:28? Jesus said this,
"Blessed are those who hear the word of God," now listen, "and obey it."
It’s not enough just to hear. Jesus wanted people to hear. Jesus did want
people to hear and does today. In fact to the seven churches of Asia,
Jesus said, in every one of those letters, "Him that has ears to hear let him
hear." Jesus would say, "Take heed how you hear," "take heed who you
hear," "take heed what you hear." Those ideas we find in the Bible in Mark
It's not just hearing, that's not -hearing the word of God alone is not
going to save. If you want to get the most out of your Bible and use it
correctly, you've got to obey this book. That's really what God wants. What
did God want of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden? God said, "You can
eat of every tree of the Garden of Eden. In the garden you can do as you
please. You can do these things, all this is yours to enjoy. Don't eat, just
don't eat now of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and miss the
Garden. The day you eat it, you shall die therein. What did God really want
of Adam and Eve? To obey Him and to love Him. Isn't that what Jesus said
in John 14:15, "If you love me," what? "Keep my commandments." "You
are my friends if you do whatever I ask," John 15:14.
And so when I think about the Bible, I open its pages. I hear its
messages. I see its change that needs to be made in my life. I see
correction, and what I may need to do or believe. How am I going to get
the most out of this book? Not just here, not just mentally, but in the
changes I make in my life. There have been a host of people, and Jesus
spoke directly to these types of people in probably some of His harshest
language, was to those who wanted to, you know, recognize Him, but not
really follow Him.
Let me give you an example. In Matthew 7:21 Jesus said this: He
asked of those who claimed to be followers of His, in Matthew 7:21, you
know, "Why do you call me Lord, Lord and do not do the things which I
say?" Luke 6:46. Jesus said in Matthew 7:21, "not everybody that looks up
in Heaven and says Lord, Lord is going there, but he who does the will of
my Father in Heaven."
What is it we're really trying to get out of the Bible? I'm not just
trying to gain knowledge. I'm not just trying to learn the facts and read the
Bible. I've got to let it change my life; I've got to obey the word of God.
Remember again Luke 6:46, Jesus said to the Jewish hypocrites,
"Why do you call me Lord, Lord and do not do the things which I say?" His
point is this: don't call me Lord unless you're willing to submit and follow
me. The words of Christin Hebrews 5:8-9 strike such a powerful tone in our
hearts. Jesus is the author of eternal salvation, how we want Him to be to
all those who obey Him. Friend I've got to let the word of God take full
course in my life by obeying it.
Now let's make that practical what do we mean by obey the word of
God? Here are some practical applications: I've got to change my mind and
my thinking to match the thinking of Scripture.
Do you remember Philippians 2:5? The Scripture said, "Let this
mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus." If I'm going to let the Bible affect
me, really get the most use out of it, I've got to learn to transform my mind
and thinking to the mind of Christ. I've got to transform my actions into
Christ's actions. John 2:5, Jesus' mother said, "Whatever He, Jesus, says
to you do it." Friend, can you find better advice than that in all of Scripture?
Whatever Jesus says to you and to me, we've got to do it, John 2:5.
Another practical application: I've got to, as I read my Bible, I've got
to strive every day to step where Jesus stepped; to walk where he walked
and to pattern my actions after Him. 1 Peter 2:21, "For to this were you
called, because Christ also suffered and died leaving us an example that
we should follow in His footsteps." I love the example of Acts 4:13. Peter
and John have been questioned about the healing the lame man in Acts 3,
they respond by saying, you know, "It's through the power and the name of
Jesus in whom only there is salvation." They quote from the Old Testament
Scriptures to show Jesus is the chief cornerstone. And so when these
religious leaders realize that and when they look at these untrained and
uneducated fishermen, here's what Acts 4:13 says, "And then, they
realized they had been with Jesus." What a powerful impact Christ made in
their life, not just in knowledge alone, but by their actions and their decision
to follow Him. And so, you can read your Bible all day long, you can read
every book in the Bible, you can know every fact, every big-name, every
big word, have a dictionary meaning for it. Until I let it hit me here, until I let
it really change who I am, I'm not getting the most out of my use of the
Secondly, we mention this, and it goes hand-in-hand with the first. If
I'm going to get the most use out of my Bible, I've got to devour it.
Let me remind you again of that beautiful passage we began with-
Jeremiah 15:16. Jeremiah said this, "Your words were found and I ate them
and your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart, for I am called
by your name Oh Lord God of hosts." You know, coming from Jeremiah
and what he faced, what a powerful lesson that was. Jeremiah had been
beaten, slapped, put in prison, thrown in the dungeon, nobody wanted to
hear him, and everybody wanted to hear the message of the false prophet
Hananiah. Jeremiah said: it's your word I'm going to devour.
Friend, listen carefully, if I'm going to get the most out of my Bible,
I've got to devour it. I've got to have a spiritual appetite for the word of God.
Let me give you a couple of passages from the life of Jesus that
teach us about this; both of them are found very close to each other. The
first is Matthew 4. Here's the context, Jesus has been out in the wilderness.
Forty days he's been there, with a wild beast, Mark records for us. No
doubt he's hungry. He's lonely. He’s thirsty. In fact the Bible tells us he's
hungry. Satan seeing that physical temptation said to Jesus “If you're the
son of God prove yourself. If you are the son of God turn these stones to
bread." Christ could've done that. It probably would've tasted good; It
would've taken away some of his hunger. But you know what Jesus said?
"It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by it every word that
proceeds from the mouth of God."
I've got to make sure that I have that longing and desire to know
God's words, to consume it, and to let it really take full course in my life.
Second passage that we mention is found inMatthew 5. In the
Beatitudes of Christ, Jesus talked about things which would give one the
blessed, the happy, the peaceful, the joyful life. He said this in Matthew 5:6,
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness."
Do you have that in insatiable desire to really know the word of
God? There is power to be found in knowing it. John 8:32, do you
remember what Jesus said? “You shall know the truth” - and what? “The
truth will make you free.” "Study to show yourself approved unto God," 2
Timothy 2:15. "The heart of the righteous studies how to answer," Proverbs
15:26. Be ready always to give an answer. I've got to be ready, I’ve got to
get ready, 1 Peter 3:15.
And so when we think about, how I'm going to get the most out of
my Bible, I really want to maximize its use in my life. I've got to devour this.
Part of devouring it is taking what you devour and letting it work in your life.
Let's take an illustration from the human body. A man sits down to
supper, he eats his supper, and he may not like everything on his plate.
There may be - in my case there are about three things I really don't like to
eat - I don't like liver, sweet peas, and sweet potatoes. I've tried them every
way in the world, and I just can't be happy with any of those. Let's say I sit
down, and I eat those. I eat one of those; I may not like it, but I eat it. Does
that help me in any way? You bet it does, it provides the nutrients my body
needs. My cells become enamored that protein, vitamins, and minerals that
are in there. I can function and live from day-to-day because of what I take
in, spiritually or physically.
Now let's make the application. Spiritually speaking, as I devour the
word of God I've got to let it take full course in my life. I've got to let the
word of God work in my mind, my heart, my actions, my thoughts, and
the speech that I have. I've got to let it be that which I feed off of
spiritually. Friend, I promise you it provides great, great support for one's
spiritual life. Remember again 1 Peter 2:2. The Bible says, "As newborn
babes, desire the pure milk of the word that you may grow thereby." I start
off as a Christian maybe on the milk of the word, but I don't stay there.
Hebrews 5 says, "By this time you ought to be on the meat of the word,"
and yet some were still stuck on the milk. I've got to put the word
of God in my heart and mind and be able to use that in my everyday life.
Then friend, we mention this about using the Bible; getting the most
out of it. If I'm going to use the Bible and get the most out of it, I've got to
really love and cherish this book. Listen the Psalm 119:97, the psalmist
said, "Oh, how I love your law it is my meditation all the day." Do we really
love and cherish the Bible? Now just as a backdrop or background here's
why we ought to.
Why do I love the Bible? Friend, the Bible tells me how I got here. I
was created in the image of God- that's special in and of itself. I have a
soul that is going to live somewhere forever and the only two options
heaven or hell. And to make sure- although I had doomed myself by sin- to
make sure that I can live with God in heaven. The Bible tells me about what
God did through history, and ultimately we cherish the Bible because of the
great sacrifices it tells us about. “You shall call his name Jesus; He'll save
his people from their sins.” He left heaven and came to this earth. “You
know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ though he was rich, yet for your
sakes he became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich.” It
tells me that “God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten son.” It
tells me that he went through life doing good. Mark 7:37,"He has done all
things well." It tells me ultimately about the sacrifice He made for me and
you. That one called Jesus, who would save His people from their sins.
John saw Him approaching and He said something different, "Behold, the
Lamb of God who takes away the sins the world." It tells me that Jesus
suffered. He was beaten. He was mocked. He was spit upon, a crown of
thorns was placed into his brow, and He hung on a cruel cross of Calvary
struggling for every breath. It tells me that Jesus said the words, "It is
finished." He did that so that I can have the hope of heaven. Friend, the
Bible tells me how much God loves me. That makes me want to and
causes me to cherish and love the word of God.
Now let's make some application of that. If I really love the Bible and
I really cherish it, how does that impact my life?
It impacts it because I want to give it a priority. It impacts it because
I want to let it be the final standard. It impacts my life because I want to
draw near to God. I want to know Him more. I want to be more like Christ. I
want to in some small way, show my love back to God. I cherish the Bible
because of all God has done for me and all God has done for you in this
Then as we have mentioned already and we say it for emphasis
sake, if you're going to use the Bible and get the most out of it, you've got
to live it every day. There is nothing I can do to put in its place. There's no
substitute for living the Bible every day.
Listen again to James 1:22. James says, "But be doers of the word and not
hearers only, deceiving yourselves." If I'm going to get the most of the
Bible, I've got to use it. What does that mean? I've got to live by it. "Things
which you received and heard and learned and saw in me, these do,"
Philippians 4:9. When Jesus says to me and when he says to you that for
example, "Go unto all the world."
How do I get the most out of the Bible? By getting up and going with
the message of Christ. When Jesus says to me and he says to you, "Come
follow me," and I read that my Bible; how do I get the most out of that? By
getting up and following Christ. When Jesus says something is sin or
temptation or against the will of God, how I get the most and really live
that? If I'm doing it, I have got to change. If it's a temptation, I've got to
watch out for it, and I've got to be on guard. I've got to make changes in my
life where that's necessary. If someone has problem with their speech or
someone has problem with maybe an anger issue or problems in their
marriage. When I hear Christ's words on those subjects, if I'm really going
to maximize the Bible in my life, I'd have to control my anger better, I'd
have to say to myself it's not what Christ wants you to do. I'd have to say
that's not the way God wants you to act. I'd have to say, when I say words
that maybe aren't right to God, I'd have to say to myself you can't do that
anymore; you've got to work on that, you've got think about it. I'd have to
love my family, love my wife more if that was - if that was a challenge that I
was facing. And so really, to maximize the Bible, friend, you have got to
use it every day and make that a big part of your life.
And then we mention a hard one as we talk about maximizing the
Bible. We mentioned this in the last one just a little bit, but here's what it is:
If I'm going to maximize the Bible in my life and its use I've got to change to
Friend, this is where itall becomes a challenge. This is what we
might say where the rubber meets the road. Joel said this in Joel 2:13, the
Scripture says, "Rent your hearts not your garments." I've got, you know,
here's the background of that. You know that passage may not make a
whole lot of sense to us until we think about what the Jews were really
good at doing and what they weren't good at doing. Joel is writing to a
people who are steeped in idolatry and these people, they have some
historical background in the Bible. They do certain things, but they don't
follow it through. Here's what they do: when something happens and
they're confronted with the word of God and they recognize sin or change
that needs to occur, they were great about casting dirt in the air. They were
great about tossing ashes on themselves. They would even go as far as to
pluck the hair out of their beard or their head or their eyebrows, which
seems crazy to us. They do those things and then they'd go right back and
start living the things they were doing -and feel somehow justified. Joel said
this: tear your hearts and stop tearing your clothes, they would tear their
clothes, but they never changed their heart. Joel said quit tearing your
hearts, quit tearing your clothes, quit plucking hair out of your beard in
essence; quit throwing dust and ashes on your head. Make changes in
your life first.
It reminds me of what Jesus said in Luke. In Luke 3, certain Jews
came out to be baptized by Jesus and Jesus said, "Brood of vipers, who
warned you to flee from the wrath to come," and then he said this, "Bring
forth fruits worthy of repentance."
What's the point we're driving home? It's this: If the Bible is ever
going to mean anything in your life and it's ever going to be anything in my
life I've got a change my life to match this book.
Again, that's challenging. That's hard. Nobody likes change. We're
all a little bit resistive to that, but friend, here's what we say as far as
application goes. If for example, you study the Bible, you read it you hear
the message about Christ and about salvation and someone hears what to
do to become a Christian. Let's say, they hear that you've got to hear the
word Romans 10:17. "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of
God. “Once they've heard that message about Christ, the Scripture teaches
that we must believe in Jesus. John 8:24 Jesus said, "Unless you believe
that I am He, you'll surely die in your sins." Someone says, well I've heard
the word, I believe in Jesus, and then they're willing to repent of their sins.
Luke 13:3,"Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish." Having
repented, we've got to make that good confession. Jesus said, "If you won't
confess me before men, neither will I confession you before the Father who
is in heaven, "Matthew 10:32-33.
On the day of Pentecost, people were told, "Repent and be baptized
for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of eternal life." Let's
say someone says, well, I've never done that. I didn't know that I had to
repent, I didn't know that I needed to make the good confession, didn't
know that I had to be baptized for the remission of sins. Friend, if you want
to get the most out of your Bible, you've got a change to it. That may mean
breaking some ties. That may mean admitting wrong, that may mean that
one have to make some serious changes. But may I ask you this?
Whatever I have to give up, whatever I have to change, whatever I have to
do differently because the Bible tells me to, wouldn't it be worth it in the
Here's what Jesus promised you: Jesus said, "Come unto me all ye
that labor and are heavy laden and I'll give you rest." Jesus said, "I go to
prepare a place for you, if I go to prepare a place for you, I'll come again
and I'll receive you to myself, that where I am, there you may be also,"
Matthew 11:28-30 and John 14:1-6.
And so, we hope today that as we think about our Bible and as we
think about getting the most out of it that these principles will encourage all,
encourage all of us. I'm not just going to study and gain knowledge out of
my Bible; I want to really let it change my life. I want to transform my life
into the image of Christ. I want to walk closer to Him every day. I want to
love Him more.
More than anything, I want to let this book have free course in my
life so that one day I can go to heaven and live with God.
Study Questions for: “Inspiration and Use of the Bible
Lesson 4 – How to use the Bible”
1. In Jeremiah 15:16 what was the joy and rejoicing of the heart?
2. According to 1 Corinthians 8:1, what alone “puffs up”?
3. According to Philippians 4:9, what should we do with the things we’ve
heard and received? Why?
4. According to Luke 11:28, who are blessed? What two things did they do?
5. If we love Jesus, what should we do according to John 15:14?
6. According to Matthew 7:21, who is going to Heaven?
7. What practical, wonderful advice is given in John 2:5?
8. What will make you free according to John 8:32?
9. What should we do to show ourselves approved unto God according to 2
10. According to Proverbs 15:26, what does the heart of the righteous do?