“But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me.” (2 Timothy 1:12)
Over the years I have from time to time leant over the pulpit and urged you to go home and pick up your Bible. And then read it. I’m conscious that I might have come across as a nagging school teacher with a fondness for homework, but that hasn’t deterred me. Once more I urge you: pick up and read!
Like any schoolchild presented with homework, I’m sure the question “why?” is begging to surface in your minds. Why should you read the Bible? After all, you might think, surely that’s why you employ a vicar, someone to read the Bible for you and then give out the best bits in a sermon. A sort of spiritual Readers Digest.
Well, the reason I keep banging on about this is not simply to improve your knowledge of the great tales of the Old and New Testaments. If you look again at the quote from the Apostle Paul at the top, you will see that the confidence he has comes from his knowledge of God: “I known whom I have believed”. It is this knowledge which gave him the confidence and the tenacity he needed to travel around the Roman Empire, preaching Christ. It was this which saw him through innumerable hardships. “I know whom I have believed”.
Ultimately we read the Bible to grow in our knowledge of God himself. The great stories of the Bible are interesting enough, but they gain their true depth when we are able to trace the handiwork of God in all that occurred. It is in the Bible that we can discover the character of God, and his great purposes. To read the Bible is to come face to face with God. And then draw strength from what you discover. It is to be able to say that you know God, and not simply know about God. That is why I urge you to look to your Bibles.
So go! Pick up and read.