How To Read Scripture According To Scripture

How To Read Scripture According To Scripture

Look For Purpose Statements

  • Since we are reading John this week, I’ll start with a verse from the end of John’s Gospel, this is John 20:30-31
    • And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.
      • So here we have a purpose statement for John’s gospel, and you should really try to look for these in each book. Does the author anywhere tell us why they are writing?
      • In Luke’s gospel for example, He begins with his purpose statement: Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed. (Luke 4:1-4)
      • In 1 Timothy 3:15, Paul says he has wrote that letter so that, “If I am delayed, I write so that you may know you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God…”
      • So we should look for these as we read, asking ourselves, “what is the author trying to do with this book?”

God Is The Ultimate Author

  • Now when it comes to authorship, we must acknowledge that God is the ultimate author, this is His Word given by His spirit.
    • 2 Tim. 3:16, says that all scripture is given by inspiration of God…it is God breathed.
    • And then 2 Peter 1:20-21 says, no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
  • This means that both Old and New Testaments did not originate with the thoughts of Moses, or Isaiah, or Ezra, or whoever spoke them. There is not a single verse in the entire Bible that come by the will of man. But holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
  • This is a remarkable verse in an age that wants to emphasize human authorship, and what was going on in Paul’s mind, or John’s mind as they wrote.
  • Now there are many interesting questions as to how God used the natural abilities, experiences, and vocabulary of these men in writing the Scriptures, but of far greater importance, and of interest to us should be, what did God intend, purpose, and mean when he inspired what we are reading?

Receive Scripture As From God Himself

  • So as you read John, or Luke, or Matthew, or Paul, whichever earthly author wrote it, remember, it is all of Divine origin and not from the will of man. Receive it as from the mouth of God himself! And if you want more proof that this is how you are to read Scripture, listen to this verse in 1 Thess. 2:13: “For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.”
    • Many heresies and false teaching begin by trying to undermine people’s confidence in Scripture. It is just like when the serpent asked Eve, “hath God really said…”
    • So there are always going to be attacks on God’s word, and so for you, as you read, do not be deceived by clever scholars, or feminists, or PHD touting professors who make a big deal about what Paul intended, or what the human author intended, because that is the opposite of what Paul commends the Thessalonians to do, “receive God’s word, not as from men, but as it is in truth, the word of God.”
    • This means we should pay close attention to it, we should reverence it, we should treat it as holy because it is holy. Of all the infinite words God could have spoken and written and preserved for you to be reading in the summer of 2021 year of our Lord, this is what He has chosen to give us. These 66 books, these holy oracles, which have the power to save and will eventually recreate the whole world!
    • Just as in the beginning God said “Light” and there was Light, so now as you read Scripture, God is turning the lights on in your soul. We are the new creation, being remade into the likeness of God, and all by the power of His Word.
    • So when you read, read expecting God to speak, and read praying that God will change you. Read hungry to obey, looking for how you can grow in love for God, your family, your church, your neighbor. We should read with the goal of transformation, otherwise, it is just an exercise in checking off a box.

Read With Faith

  • I will close with one final verse the tells us how to read Scripture (Hebrews 4:1-2): “Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.”
    • Notice that in order for you to profit from reading the Bible, it needs to be mixed with faith. Without faith, reading Scripture is a dead exercise. Now here’s a paradox: how does someone get faith? Well Romans 10:17 says, “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” So we have kind of a chicken-egg scenario, which comes first?Well the answer is, it doesn’t really matter which comes first, what matters is that you are fed. I eat chicken, I eat eggs, both give me protein!
    • So when it comes to Scripture, I know that faith is ultimately a gift (Eph. 2:8), but it is a gift that God gives in a specific place, namely in the hearing of His Word, of His Voice. So let’s say I wake up one morning, and I feel empty, no faith. What should I do, go to the place where God feeds me, where He gives me new faith, new mercy, new grace everyday, His Word.
    • And the amazing thing is that very act of opening your Bible in expectation of hearing the voice of God, is an act of faith, it is the mystery of Phil 2:12-13, which says “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in You both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” God is giving you faith to open His Word, and He is giving you faith as you read His Word, and yet it is your responsibility to exercise that faith that he gives. This is the mystery of sanctification, it is the mystery of reading Scripture by faith, and thought it is a mystery how it all harmonizes, by faith we know that it it does.


So how then shall we read scripture?

  1. Read it as from God himself, not as from the will of men (1 Thess. 2:13)
  2. Read it with faith, as a child does not doubt when His Father is speaking to Him.
  3. Read for transformation, read prayerfully, read looking to apply and obey all that God says to you. And if you do this, God promises that you will profit, you will benefit from it. And Amen. Until next time, keep on reading!