As the conclusion and telos of the Bible, the book of Revelation is a book of divine blessing to believers.
Blessed is he who reads… –Revelation 1:3
The first blessing mentioned in Revelation is bestowed on readers. Blessing begins with reading. In light of the following apocalyptic blessings, I think it’s appropriate to say that overcoming also begins with reading. The word ‘blessed’ appears seven times in the book of Revelation, and every instance seems to apply to the overcomers (Rev. 1:3; 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7; 22:14).
To read the Bible is a great blessing because the word of God reveals and imparts God for our apprehension of God as truth and enjoyment of God as grace.
In one sense, the Bible is God’s seminal blessing to humanity, for without it we would have no record of or access to the person and work of Christ, God’s eternal economy, or the destiny and meaning of the universe. As a record, the Bible is an enduring monument to the history of God with man (Old Testament) and then in man (New Testament). BUT, the Bible is not merely a static record of history. There is a dynamic interaction between the written word of God and the personal Word of God. In this way, the Bible becomes an access point to the still living Christ. God is the Word (John 1:1) and the Spirit is the word (Eph. 6:17). Thus the entire divine Trinity is embodied and communicated through the word of God.
How striking that God has revealed Himself to be linguistic–shall we say textual–in His eternal being!
–Kerry S. Robichaux
Have you not read?
Realizing the centrality of the word of God to God’s purpose, Jesus repeatedly (6x) and emphatically asks the same question to different people throughout the gospel of Matthew—”have you not read?” The question, coming again and again, is an incredulous confrontation to religious presumption.
But He said to them, Have you not read what David did when he became hungry, and those who were with him? –Matt. 12:3
Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless? –Matt. 12:5
And He answered and said, Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female? –Matt. 19:4
And they said to Him, Do you hear what these are saying? And Jesus said to them, Yes. Have you never read, “Out of the mouth of infants and sucklings You have perfected praise”? –Matt. 21:16
Jesus said to them, Have you never read in the Scriptures, “The stone which the builders rejected, this has become the head of the corner. This was from the Lord, and it is marvelous in our eyes”? –Matt. 21:42
But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read that which was spoken to you by God? –Matt. 22:31
In repeatedly asking this question, the Lord ends up referencing 1 Samuel, Numbers, Genesis, Psalms, and Exodus. According to the Jewish structuring of the Old Testament, this list includes “all the Scriptures” (Luke 24:27, 44) – the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms (or writings).
The Law – Genesis, Exodus, and Numbers
The Prophets – 1 Samuel
The Writings – Psalms
These cases lead us to a conclusion: when God meets us, He expects us to have read “all the Scriptures.”
In his Messages for Building up New Believers, Watchman Nee lists 5 basic points on the importance of reading the Bible.
The Importance of Reading the Bible
- To know the riches and vastness of God’s provision for us.
- To see God’s step-by-step guidance for men.
- If a person does not know what God has spoken in the past, it is difficult for him to receive His revelation in the present because he lacks the basis for God’s speaking.
- If we do not know what God has said in the past, He cannot speak through us to others, and we are useless His eyes.
- To know God.
- God’s Works, our Words (lifeandbuilding.com)
- Working with God by Speaking (lifeandbuilding.com)
- How Does God Move? (lifeandbuilding.com)
The Bible reveals God and His works; it also reveals our human nature–the same as afflicted the saints of old–and how it leads us astray. It shows us the far-reaching consequences of sin.
Very true. At just over 31,000 verses, sometimes the overall message of the Bible is hard to distill. I would say the Bible overall reveals the interactions and relationships of 7 persons: God, Christ, the Spirit, mankind, the church, the kingdom, and the New Jerusalem. You identified all 7 in you comment! God is triune. His works culminate in the church, the kingdom, and the New Jerusalem. Mankind stands in between these two ends as the focus and fulcrum. Man’s sin profoundly effects this relationship and God’s salvation profoundly restores this relationship.
To be fair, I value the Bible because of the ministry in the Lord’s recovery. Before, it was dead knowledge, but today is the enjoyment of Christ! Even in reading this post, I love the Lord much more and value His speaking through the members of His Body!
Well I’m happy to hear that you have discovered the enjoyment of God in the Bible!
Great post. I like beginning with Rev 1:3. We need to be enlightened and supplied by the word but the first step is to read. I also like your compilation of “have you not read.” I am familiar with the phrase but did not realize how many times it is in Matthew nor how the quotations cover the whole OT.
Thanks Don. I had never realized how frequently Jesus asked this question either, until I got into it recently before sharing a short message on the importance of reading the Bible. We may have grand aspirations as Christians but if we’re not reading the Bible something is fundamentally wrong. These days, time for reading seems to be constantly diminishing. I find myself having to deliberately make the time for it. Without the deliberation I sometimes find that the whole day is gone and didn’t get a chance to read as much as I wanted (of course, much more than just the Bible).
Reblogged this on Doctrine On Tap and commented:
My friend, Kyle Barton, on reading the Bible