James Meehan - Can Reading the Bible Change My Life?
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Well, what's up Bible Nerds? James here. And today is the final installment of our Bible Nerds 101 series, where we have been walking through the basics of how to read the Bible wisely. And to close everything out, today, we're talking about how the Bible was written to transform us, and not just inform us. So when I was in the third grade, I was being taught a skill that I was told I would use for the rest of my life. And so it was so important that I got this down and became an expert in it. That skill was writing in cursive. And so third grade, fourth grade, and fifth grade, everything I ever wrote had to be in cursive because I was told that it needed to be that way for the rest of my life.
Well, now as a 27 year old man who has been out of school for quite a while, I can tell you, the only time I write in cursive is whenever I have to sign something, like give it my signature. And my signature isn't actually me writing my name. It's literally a scribble. That's all I do. So please don't try to steal my identity. That would be incredibly rude of you. The reason why I'm telling you this, though, is, because oftentimes, I found myself frustrated at school because I felt like so much of what I was learning wasn't actually making a difference because I didn't think I was ever gonna use it. And that led to me having this really negative expectation, where I found myself thinking, "If I'm not gonna use this specific thing or skill or lesson or whatever later in life, then it's just a huge waste of time".
Have you ever thought that about school? If you're normal, you probably have. If you're like an exceptional student, maybe you haven't, and you're just ahead of the curve, because I missed out on so much of the value that I could have gained during that time at school because I was just so focused on the things that I didn't enjoy. Looking back now, I'm really grateful for the fact that I got to learn how to stick to a schedule. I got to learn the importance of hitting deadlines, of getting work done, even when I don't want to do it. Because, guess what? When you end up having a job, there will be times where you're asked to complete a project that you don't feel like doing. And it's so important to be able to get that work done anyways.
In school, I learned how to work with a wide variety of people who I wouldn't necessarily get along with otherwise. And I had people older than me who believed in me more than I believed in myself. All of those things are incredibly valuable skills that I learned that I didn't even realize I was learning because I was so convinced it was all a waste of time. Now, if you were to ask me, I think that so many of the challenges we face when reading the Bible actually come from the same thing. We've got the wrong mindset and the wrong expectations. How many of you have ever found yourself thinking, "Man, if I don't get some goosebumps or some amazing nugget of wisdom from what I'm reading, then I don't really feel like I'm getting much out of it"? And this is why it's so important to remember that the Bible was written to transform us, and not just inform us.
The Apostle Paul wrote in a letter to his apprentice Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:16-17. These words. He says, "All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work". This is why we read the Bible, to learn what's true and to learn how we can do what's right. But that's not all. You see, God uses the Bible to teach us those things so that He can prepare us and He can equip us to do every good work that He has planned in advance for us to do. Stephen Covey, who is the author of the book, "7 Habits of Highly Effective People," which is an incredible book, by the way, says that, "To learn and not do is to not learn at all, and to know and not do is to not know at all".
What he's communicating, and I think Paul is writing about, is this idea that information without application never leads to transformation. And the goal of reading the Bible isn't just to learn cool things but to be transformed. Later on in a different letter, the Apostle Paul in Romans 12:2 writes this, he says, "Don't copy the behaviors and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect". So what does that new person God wants to transform us into look like? Well, that new person looks like Jesus. You see, earlier in this same letter, in chapter 8, the Apostle Paul tells us this that, "God knew his people in advance, and he chose them," that means you and me, "to become like his Son," that's Jesus, "so that Jesus, his Son, would be the first born among many brothers and sisters".
This is what God wants for us, for us to become like Jesus. Because He is building a family, and He wants all of us to be a part of it. And it's a really special kind of family, a family defined by love, truth, grace, and forgiveness. And when we read the Bible, what we are doing is we are learning to see the world, ourselves, and others in a new way so that we can actually become like Jesus, so that we can live the life that He's called and created us to live. Now, it's important to remember that this process of being transformed to become more like Jesus isn't something that happens overnight. It comes through a lifetime of consistency. This transformational power that we are exposing ourselves to when we open up the Bible isn't this avalanche that comes barreling down the mountain all at once. It's like a small stream, trickling little by little, filling up this bucket that is our spiritual life.
So that over time, we can start to see others the way Jesus sees them. We can start to see ourselves the way that God sees us, as people made in His image. And this new way of thinking and seeing the world will transform the way that we live so that we can start to love others the same way that God has loved us. So when we read the Bible, that's how we're meant to read it. Not just as a book filled with facts that we're supposed to learn and memorize, but as a book written to help us become more like Jesus. And the good news is that this transformation isn't something that happens just because we start trying really hard. It's so much better than that. It happens through the power of God working in us. Now, you may find yourself thinking, "Okay, this sounds really good, but like, how do we actually do it"? Which brings us all the way back to the beginning of this Bible Nerds 101 series we've been going on. Because the Bible is a story that leads to Jesus, and it invites us to become like Jesus.
And if we want to read it wisely, we've gotta remember that Jesus is King and Context is Everything. And so we read it as God's Word for us, even though we understand it wasn't originally written to us. We read it literately and not just literally because we know that the Bible was written in different literary genres that are meant to speak to us in different ways so that we can have a fuller understanding of what God has been doing in history. And we read it in passages and not just pieces because the best way to misunderstand what the Bible is saying, by just picking and choosing the verses we like and ignoring everything around them. And when we read the Bible this way, by taking in all the lessons we've learned along this journey, then we're gonna experience isn't just us gaining information, but actually experiencing transformation because we'll become more like Jesus. We'll start to look more like Jesus. And we'll start to love others more like Jesus loves us.
So I'm gonna give you three suggestions on how to make the most out of this journey of becoming a Bible Nerd. Suggestion number one would be to subscribe to this channel for more Bible Nerds videos, where every week we're gonna apply these principles to different passages in the Bible and questions that you have to help you see how all of this works together to lead us to Jesus and help us become more like Him. Suggestion number two would be to check out the rest of our Bible Nerds 101 playlist. We've got all six of these videos and a playlist for you so you can go back if you're kind of joining in late, you can get caught up on all the things. Or if you just wanna review the things that we've talked about, you can find all of those videos right there. And then the third suggestion would be to start reading our How to Read the Bible 101 Bible plan.
So you can dive deeper into each of these ideas, so that, as you go on your own to read the Bible more and more, you can read it wisely to experience all that God has for you. Because when we commit to reading the Bible every day and we remember what we've learned throughout this series, then we're gonna read it in a new way. We're gonna read it in a way that actually transforms us to become more like Jesus and doesn't just inform us with a bunch of facts that don't really change much. So that's our hope for you, that you would read the Bible in a way that helps you know more of who Jesus is and allows you to learn how to live more like Him. So that being said, that's all I got for you today. Make sure to stick around 'cause we've got other videos that will hopefully help you in your journey of becoming a Bible Nerd. So take care, and stay nerdy.