Why we read the Bible: protection from sin
We should study the Bible because it guards us from sin. A pure lifestyle is consistent with His word (Ps 119:9), and treasuring the word of God in our hearts keeps us from disobeying Him.
This notion echoes throughout the Bible: the word of God guides the people of God in the ways of God to the glory of God:
- Jesus tells his disciples that his words have cleansed them, setting them apart from the world (Jn 15:3).
- Scripture gives people the wisdom they need to be saved through faith in Jesus. All Scripture is useful for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness (2 Ti 3:14–17).
- Scripture encourages and instruct us, so that we Christians can be of the same mind, which is Christ’s will (Ro 15:4–5).
- Christ sets the church apart by the “washing of water with the word” (Eph 5:25–27).
The next important question is, “how do we study the Bible so that this happens?” Let’s look at the words the psalmist uses to describe how he studies the word.
Treasuring the Word in our hearts
The word for “treasured” in Ps 119:9 means to hide something of very great value. It’s the same word used for how Moses’ mother hid the baby Moses from Pharaoh. She cared far too much for Moses to let the Egyptians kill him, so she kept him close and hidden. She treasured Moses.
We should think of the Bible the same way. We should treasure it. We should hold it close. We should stockpile it and cherish it in our hearts.
Meditating on the Word
The Hebrew word translated “meditate” in Psalm 119:15 is used several ways throughout Scripture. It’s used for singing (Jgd 5:10; 16:9), speaking (Job 12:8), or even complaining (Job 7:11; Ps 55:17).
Meditation here isn’t just internal: it’s reflecting on God’s word and then speaking about it. While we are to keep it close and treasured, we are also to share it freely (Ps 119:13).
Regarding God’s ways
The word for “regard” in Psalm 119:15 means “to look,” or “to gaze.” The psalmist looks intently at God’s word—he pays very close attention to what the Lord says.
Fun fact: the word for “regard” here is the same word God uses to describe how the eagle hunts food from high up (Job 39:29).
These are just a few ways we can approach the Bible. It’s interesting how paradoxical some of these approaches are.
When it comes to the Bible, we’re encouraged to stockpile it like Smaug yet share it like Robin Hood.
It’s an invitation to get, get, get, and an invitation to share, share, share. And it protects us from evil, which is a fantastic reason to read, study, regard, treasure, and meditate on the word.