The title I have chosen, “Why I Teach the Bible” could just as easily read, “Why I Study the Bible,” or “Why I Share the Bible,” or “Why I Speak of the Bible (to my neighbors, my friends, my family and children, my brothers and sisters in Christ).” The underlying reason behind this title is as relevant for you as a Christian as it is for me as a Bible teacher and fellow disciple.
The simple but profound impetus behind the caption, “Why I Teach the Bible” is this: I work in the confidence that the Bible transforms people. The word proclaimed and understood is the medium through which God saves unbelievers, and it is the means by which He transforms you and I into the image of the Lord Jesus.
That straightforward reality is what led me to establish Walking In The Promises, and it has been a key motivation to persevere in this teaching ministry for the last twenty years. There is tremendous joy, satisfaction, and peace knowing that if I simply tell people what the words of the Bible mean, God will use those words to accomplish His eternal purposes (Acts 13:46, Acts 16:14, 1 Thessalonians 2:13).
God uses His word to save people!
First of all then, God brings the purging power of salvation to men and women through the Bible. How wondrous is it that the God of heaven has entrusted to us His words of life (Philippians 2:16)! He has given to us His eternal, imperishable word that He uses to germinate eternal life in the hearts of dead sinners!
The apostle Peter teaches us this very thing in 1 Peter 1:23-25, “for you have been born again,” Peter says, “not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God. For, ‘all flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of the grass. The grass withers and the flower falls off, but the word of the Lord endures forever.’ And this is the word which was preached to you.”
In other words, God’s eternal word brings eternal life to a dead soul. This is why when we share the gospel with people it is so important that we frame what we say with scripture because it is that eternal truth that God’s Spirit uses to bring new and divine spiritual life to men and women.
Personal testimonies are great, stories can be wonderful, anecdotes helpful, but ultimately God’s word changes a life. It is that powerful word that rescues a sinner “from the domain of darkness (the dominant grip of Satan through unbelief), and transfers us to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (the realm where Christ rules, the sphere of spiritual light and life He gives, Colossians 1:13).
God uses the truth of the Bible in what we say, and He does the heavy lifting, i.e., the eternal saving work. As Paul did in Philippi, we must be faithful to share the gospel, God’s word, and then rest in His power to do what we could never do, open a heart to salvation. “A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul” (Acts 16:14).
God uses His word to transform believers
As powerful as the word of God is to justify (save) us, it is just as powerful to continue that work of transformation, growth, or sanctification (becoming more like Jesus). This is precisely why Peter continues his discussion in 1 Peter with the word “Therefore” (1 Peter 2:1). This conjunction ties the idea of the previous paragraph (1:22-25), i.e., the power of the word to save, to the paragraph that follows (2:1-3) and the power of the word to change us. The chief injunction of this second paragraph (2:1-3) is the command “long” (the central verb of verses one and two), Peter writes “like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation” (1 Peter 2:2).
Here is what Peter is telling us, “The word of God was powerful to save you (1:22-25), ‘therefore’ you ought to remember its power in salvation and intensely desire that ongoing power of the word in your life, because it alone will make you grow.”
The word of God that gave us spiritual life can alone sustain and nurture that life. Based on this reality, then, Peter exhorts us to first put off our besetting sins. “Putting aside” (verse 1) is an imperative participle that carries the command tone of the verb in verse two and means “to cast off,” “to be done with,” “to throw off” – as in dirty clothes. The command is to throw off “all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander” (2:1). In other words, Peter calls us to lay aside the sin that corrupts our appetite for God’s word and therefore deprives us of its life changing power.
Secondly, because the word that saves us is powerful to transform us, Peter commands us to nurture a strong appetite for the Bible. “Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation” (verse 2).
Babies are born into this world with an intense and singular desire for their mother’s milk. God has wired little ones to crave one source of nutrition from the very moment they exit their mother’s womb and enter the world. They intensely desire one thing to eat, their mother’s milk, and in that wonderful nutrition their little bodies receive all the building blocks they need to grow, as well as all the antibodies they need to fight off disease. No other food will do! Just try to feed a baby a hot dog and a coke. It doesn’t work! They won’t take it! Why? The answer is as simple as it is amazing; only the pure nutrition of their mother’s milk will enable them to grow in health; and so, they long for it in a rather serious way.
In like manner, Peter reminds us that only the pure nourishment of the word of God, (“the pure milk of the word”), which gave us spiritual life, (“you have been born again … “through the living and enduring word of God”), can nurture that life (“so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation”). Do you desire to grow in Jesus? Then you must remember that only the word – which brought God’s salvation to bear on your soul – can continue the transformation that will render you a strong and stalwart disciple of Christ.
“For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13).
My dear friends, this is one key reason why I teach the Bible; it transforms people from the first step of belief all the way into the entrance of heaven. My job is to present the truth and trust the Lord to supernaturally change men and women for His glory. My encouragement to you is to remember the simple lesson of Peter’s text: the word that gave you eternal life and can continue its powerful work of sanctification, so I encourage you put off the sins that diminish our desire for scripture and “like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.”