Benefits of the Bible
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
Rom. 15:3b (Holman) On the contrary, as it is written, “The insults of those who insult You have fallen on Me.”
This quote is from Psalm 69:9b. Psalm 69 is extraordinary. Seven of its verses are quoted in the New Testament. The Psalm is Messianic. This means it has references in it to the coming Messiah.
The verse quoted here originally applied to insults heaped on Godly people because of their devotion. Paul saw in this a reference to Christ’s suffering.
Whatever dishonor was done against God the Father also troubled the Lord Jesus. Every sin reproached God, and Jesus was sensitive to His Father’s honor.
Jesus grieved over the hardness of people’s hearts. He hurt over their sin and came to pay the debt they owed His Father. Jesus bore the full guilt and curse of sin, whereas we are only called on to be patient with one another.
This quote from Scripture caused Paul to digress a moment and take time to mention several benefits derived from God’s Word. His digression links the Old Testament with the New, and provides a beautiful analysis of the Scriptures.
Rom. 15:14a For whatever was written in the past was written for our instruction, . . .
The following passages reveal benefits administered to us by Scripture. The Scriptures teach us. Holy Writ is God’s gift of light to a dark world that has lost its way and is groping like a blind person for the door.
Never doubt that the Bible helps us live. When studying the Book, keep our thoughts primarily on practical observations rather than on critically analyzing the text. Read Scripture desiring to hear in it God’s voice. Come with a humble, teachable spirit.
Study the Scriptures. Learn from them. Read from the Word every day. Read all of it every year. Keep a Bible in our kitchen and living room so we can take a moment occasionally to read from it. Keep a Bible in our work area. Scan it at lunch and on breaks. Keep a small New Testament in the glove compartment of your car. Always have a Bible nearby. Have a good Bible app on our cell phones.
The Bible is a rare treasure. It is a jewel to be used, not merely looked at. The Holy Spirit inspired men to write Scripture in order that we might learn from it. If we ignore the Bible we reproach the Holy Spirit Himself. We act as if we do not need to know the things He thinks we need to know.
It behooves us to have a high appreciation of the Bible’s worth. We need the spirit of the Psalmist, who wrote, “I rejoice at Thy Word as one that finds great spoil” (Psalm 119:162).
Without “The” Book, people would be floundering. The Fall of our race was so complete that people on their own could have never known the true God or how to live aright. All we can know of Him and of righteousness is what He Himself has chosen to reveal in His book. Otherwise, people are at a loss.
It is no coincidence the Dark Ages descended on us at a time when reading Scripture was suppressed; it is also no coincidence the Renaissance coincided with the rediscovery of Bible reading. Abraham Lincoln once said the Scriptures were God’s greatest gift to the world.
Don’t waste Holy Writ, friend. Read from it. Learn. Jesus was always assuming His listeners read Scripture. He often asked, “Have ye not read?” or “Have ye never read?” In Acts, the people of Berea were bragged on because they were diligent students of Scripture (Acts 17:10-11).
Paul charged the Thessalonians “by the Lord, that this Epistle be read unto all the holy brethren” (1 Thess. 5:27). He told the Colossians (4:26), “When this letter is read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and you, for your part read my letter that is coming from Laodicea.” Revelation (1:3) begins, “Blessed is he who reads, and those who hear, the words of this prophecy.”
A further note on this subject is in order due to the controversy that presently besets our nation. The Holy Spirit knew His sacred writings would ever come under attack. The Devil has always assaulted God’s Word, beginning as early as the Garden of Eden.
To confirm many of His own previous writings, the Holy Spirit led Jesus to speak of them. He who is truth incarnate spoke of Old Testament truths as if it were obvious to all that they were true. People who deny the authenticity of the Old Testament must admit Jesus was either a liar or ignorant.
Some of the very parts of the Old Testament most under attack today were discussed by our Lord. Critics scoff at rejection of evolutionary theory, and acceptance of creation, but Jesus spoke of the time God made them male and female as the beginning of creation (Mark 10:16).
Unbelievers sneer at the possibility of a flood; Jesus said Noah entered the Ark while the flood came and swept them all away (Matt. 24:37-39). The miracles of Moses are often written off as fantasy; Jesus spoke of Moses at the burning bush (Luke 20:37), the manna from Heaven (John 6:32), and the brass serpent in the wilderness (John 3:14).
Skeptics describe the book of Jonah as a parable, an allegory. Jesus said Jonah was three days and nights in the belly of the whale (Matt. 12:39-40).
Detractors downplay the book of Daniel; Jesus obviously believed it. He told His disciples to look for the abomination of desolation Daniel spoke of. Jesus quoted from Genesis. Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Psalms, Isaiah, Joel, Malachi, etc.
We can trust the One who died for us. He obviously trusted Scripture. Therefore, we should, too. We can trust a book Jesus had confidence in.
Rom. 15:4b “. . .so that we may have hope through endurance”
The Scriptures not only teach us; they strengthen us. The Bible provides our source of perseverance. It helps us remain faithful to our duty. When the Devil assaulted Jesus, our Master braced Himself by quoting Scripture (Matthew 4).
The fact Scripture helps us show endurance implies we will have sorrows and troubles. Expect hard times; at the same time, take heart. In Scripture we read of others who struggled, yet remained true to God.
Joseph undeservedly went to prison, but never doubted God. David was cast away as an outlaw, but stayed faithful to God. Jeremiah was dropped in a miry pit, but refused to change. The three Hebrew children went to a fiery furnace undaunted. Job lost everything, but refused to curse God. These stories should make us want to remain true, too.
Scripture contains much history. In reading stories of God at work, we are immeasurably helped. We are helped as much by stories as by detailed exhortations.
Life is rocky at times, but we learn in Scripture that others have travelled this same rough road. They were sustained and remained faithful. In examining them we find inspiration to take another step and continue our pilgrimage.
When someone scoffs at our beliefs, whisper, “Jeremiah was here, but carried on.” When we fall into sin, we can remind ourselves, “David was here, but carried on.” When we feel alone, we can say, “Abraham was here, but carried on.”
When depressed, recall, “Peter was here, but carried on.” When we want to quit, and go hide under a juniper tree, remember “Elijah was here, but carried on.” When death robs us, recall, “Mary and Martha were here, but carried on.”
When we feel unappreciated, a voice says, “Moses was here, but carried on.” When we feel tired, something stirs inside, “Paul was here, but carried on.” And once we finally enter the valley of the shadow of our death, we will be able to say “Jesus was here, and is here to help us carry on into glory.”