Jesus teaches us that man shall not live on bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4). The Bible – the God-breathed living Word – is to be as vital to as food. It has everything we need for teaching, correcting, rebuking and growing in godliness. Yet often we neglect it. Or rather, we prioritise other things over it.
We go to secondary sources to get fed rather than going directly to the Word. We listen to sermon podcasts to get second-hand revelation from mega-star preachers. We read books that explain the Bible to us, rather than reading the Bible and letting the Spirit teach us from it. We turn to our pastors to give us the answers to all our questions and do the hard work of studying for us. Essentially we chose ready-meals over doing the work to make dinner for ourselves.
We are the instant generation. We have access to unlimited resources at the click of a button, and it is much easier to ask google rather than to do the Bible study and discover for ourselves what the Word says on a topic that interests us.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with making use of the resources we have been blessed with. We are fortunate to live in a time when it is so simple and cheap to access such a vast range of solid Biblical teaching. But God doesn’t intend for us to just rely on what others have taught us. He wants us to yearn to know Him personally and intimately, to hunger after more of Him and to spend time ourselves seeking him. He wants us to come to the source of Living Water rather than get it pre-bottled from someone else.
Ready meals can be tasty, but nothing beats the satisfaction of cooking a meal for yourself from scratch. The Word is a rich feast for us to enjoy. It is a book for us to personally wrestle with and through the pages of it grow in our understanding of the God who stepped into the story and died in our place that we may know grace. Jesus doesn’t want us to know Him through other people’s relationship with Him – He wants each of us to have a personal relationship with Him. And that means not just leaning on the insight of others, but asking the Holy Spirit to give us insight and wisdom as we read the Bible for ourselves, going back to the source.
When we don’t know the source then we won’t know when the teaching we are relying on is going astray. Without digging deep into the Word it doesn’t get ingrained into our hearts to sustain us when the hard times come. When we are constantly depending on the teaching of others we become followers of them rather than followers of Christ.