“All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3.16 NIV
Our personal devotion time is a precious thing. But there are many times where we sit down to refresh ourselves with the Well of Life and something interrupts us or demands our attention. It could be our family, our jobs or even church related activities. There are times where everyone and everything seems to interfere with our alone time with God. That means that when we do make time for it, when we aren’t interrupted, we need to make the most of it. We need to glean as much as we can. How do we do that? What is the best method for feeding ourselves spiritual meat, as the Apostle Paul puts it?
There are some people that would argue that in your personal devotion time you should be reading other books. Whether it is a devotional book, or a commentary to read alongside your Bible, there are people that would argue that you shouldn’t read the Bible all by itself. You can read some arguments for this here. But we cannot ignore the arguments for reading “sola scripture”, by Scripture alone, for our devotion.
Here are 3 reasons why doing personal devotions by Scripture alone is a great idea.
1. You will receive truth directly from God
“All Scripture is God breathed.”
This cannot be said about any other book. Regardless of how great the book may be, regardless of how spiritual the author is, nothing will compare to the written word of God. It may be a commentary on the Bible, it may be expounding and putting simpler words to the truths of the Bible, but that doesn’t make it the Divine Word of God. That can only be said of the Bible. And why would you settle for second best when you can just as easily have the best? Why go to a second hand account of the Bible and it’s teachings, when you can go right to the Bible?
Using only the Bible as your only personal devotion material puts you in a place where the only one that is speaking to you is God. The Bible is not then filtered through another person’s mind or words. You are receiving directly from God without any interference. The truth, the edification, the rebuke, all that comes from God and no one else. This cannot be said when you are using another book or sermon or any other material to help aid in your devotion. When you use the Bible all by itself, you are free to hear from God, without interruption or interference. This is something all Christians should be striving for.
2. You will not be swayed by unbiblical doctrines.
If you are reading the Bible alone for your personal devotions, it puts you in a very safe place. What I mean by that is, you will not be easily swayed away from orthodox teachings, or “right” teachings. Just because someone says they are Christian, or they publish a book under a Christian label, it does not mean that what they are teaching is consistent with the Bible. A quick and prominent example of this is the Health and Wealth Gospel. If you are unfamiliar with it, check out this article here about why, at Christian Thought Sandbox, we refuse this “gospel”. Because they string together verses from all over the Bible, it does not mean that it is actually what the Bible says. Any verse can be taken out of context, take out of one discussion and made to fit into another. A verse about God’s people turning from war to peace can, and has been, twisted to make it appear that the Bible is pro-war. Upon reading the Bible, reading it in its entirety, you will see where such false gospels as the Health and Wealth gospel and a pro-war gospel come from. And as well, you will see why they are false gospels. Reading the entire Bible will give you a whole view of what God has to say to humanity, not selected snippets by a human author.
Reading only the Bible, not someone else’s commentary or opinion on it, will keep you from being pulled into unbiblical ideas. Sticking to the written word of God keeps you from straying off into unorthodox thinking and living. That is the kind of safety and security that we should all pursue.
3. You will be edified by God and not by man.
You will face trials and temptations in this life. Jesus said as much, “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33). You will struggle, find yourself lacking, realize time and again that you are in need of deep, spiritual improvement.
As many people do, you can turn to professionals. Self help books are plentiful. There are counsellors and other individuals that are qualified to aid you through the difficulties of life. I am in no way diminishing their power or effectiveness. What I am trying to say is that the aid of man, in whatever situation you find yourself in, will compare to nothing if you have the aid of God.
Numerous times in Scripture God speaks of never leaving us, nor abandoning us. That alone, the assurance that we have a hand to hold onto in the midst of the struggle, can change how we go through our trials. That knowledge can uplift us, encourage us, even empower us to keep going when we would otherwise quit. This is not to discount the encouragement of those around us. But God’s word comes with an unmatched power and authority. It is something that is unfathomable, the way His words reach down into the core of our souls and change us, our outlooks, and actions in the most profound ways.
If that is not encouraging or edifying enough, listen to what He said through one of the Prophets.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10
No one else can say something like that with absolute certainty, absolute power, like God can. He alone has the authority and might to speak true words of life. His words are the words of eternal life (John 6.68). With these words, we will be made whole. With the words of God edifying and encouraging us, we know the truth and the truth will set us free and lead us through all trials and temptations. Nothing should ever replace the Bible and its place in our devotional lives. It is truly an invaluable book, something we should always treasure, and always make time for.
Be sure to check out the second half of this discussion,
All Scripture references provided by Biblegateway.com
Be sure to check them out if you are looking for a verse, some commentaries to help you understand a passage, or a devotional to keep you in the Written Word every day. Or for those on the go, check out their app, available at the App Store, Google Play, and Amazon Fire.
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