ANSWER. All men are not only permitted, but commanded and exhorted, to read, hear, and understand the Scriptures. (John 5:39; Luke 16:29; Acts 8:28-30; 17:11)
I. ALL MEN ARE NOT ONLY PERMITTED
We are permitted to make use of the Scriptures. In fact, Jesus expects us to!
Matthew 12:3 He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him:
Matthew 12:5 Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless?
Matthew 19:4 He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female,
Matthew 22:31 And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God:
Mark 12:10 Have you not read this Scripture: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;
Mark 12:26 And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’?
Luke 6:3 And Jesus answered them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him:
My question to you is this: Have you read?
II. BUT COMMANDED AND EXHORTED
We are commanded and exhorted explicitly:
Isaiah 8:20 “To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn.”
2 Peter 1:19 “we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place.”
Luke 16:29 “But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’”
We are commanded and exhorted by example:
Mark 12:24 “Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God?”
Acts 17:11-12 “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men.”
III. READ, HEAR, AND UNDERSTAND THE SCRIPTURES
97 Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day. 98 Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is ever with me. 99 I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation. 100 I understand more than the aged, for I keep your precepts. 101 I hold back my feet from every evil way, in order to keep your word. 102 I do not turn aside from your rules, for you have taught me. 103 How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! 104 Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way. 105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
NOTICE THE MANY WAYS GOD COMMUNICATES TO US IN HIS WORD.
Look at Psalm 119:97-105 and see the variety of words he uses to describe what we simply call “The Bible.
Your Law (v.97)
Your Commandment (v.98)
Your Testimonies (v.99)
Your Precepts (v.100)
Your Word (v.101)
Your Rules (v.102)
Your Words (v.103)
Your Precepts, again (v.104)
Your Word, again (v.105)
WHAT MUST WE DO WITH GOD’S WORD?
I) Read / Study (implied in every verse)
II) Meditate / Reflect / Think (v.97, 99)
III) Memorize (v.98 “for they are ever with me”)
Jesus modeled this for us perfectly in his earthly ministry. Almost every time there is a problem or someone has a question Jesus would say either, “Have you not read?” or “Gegrapeti!” which means “It is written.”
IV) Keep/Obey (v.100-102)
Jesus himself says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” To Keep Gods Word is also part of our Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). Jesus also commands us through his earthly brother James, “Do not be hearers of the Word only, but doers!” What must we do with God’s Word? We must be readers, meditators, memorizers, and keepers.
WHAT DOES GOD DO TO US THROUGH HIS WORD?
His Teaching (102)
Holiness and Hatred of sin (v.101-102, 104-105)
Jeremiah the Prophet says it like this: “Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O Lord, God of hosts.” – Jeremiah 15:16
Why joy? Because the main thing God is communicating to us in His word is Jesus.
THE WHOLE BIBLE IS ABOUT JESUS.
In Genesis, Jesus is the Seed of the woman who will crush the head of the serpent.
In Exodus, Jesus is the Passover Lamb, slain so the LORD’s people can be spared justice.
In Leviticus, Jesus is our true High Priest offering a better sacrifice than the others.
In Numbers, Jesus is the Pillar of cloud by day and the Pillar of fire by night, leading His people to the Promised Land.
In Deuteronomy, Jesus is the Prophet like Moses whom we must listen to or perish.
In Joshua, Jesus is the Captain of the LORD’s army, making war on His enemies.
In Judges, Jesus is the Judge we long for to correct our rebellious hearts.
In Ruth, Jesus is our Kinsman Redeemer.
In 1st and 2nd Samuel, Jesus is our trusted Prophet, revealing God perfectly to us.
In Kings and Chronicles, Jesus is the King we long for who will rule righteously forever.
In Ezra, Jesus is the Rebuilder of the broken down walls of the city of God.
In Esther, Jesus is the one who doesn’t simply RISK his life, but GIVES his life to save his people.
In Job, Jesus is our ever-living Redeemer.
In Psalms, Jesus is the Son we must Kiss and our Good Shepherd.
In Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, Jesus is the very embodiment of wisdom.
In the Song of Solomon, Jesus is the Church’s Loving Bridegroom.
In Isaiah, Jesus is the Prince of Peace, the Gospel Preacher, and the Suffering Servant.
In Jeremiah, Jesus is the Righteous Branch.
In Lamentations, Jesus is the better Weeping Prophet—who doesn’t simply weep for sin but kills sin by letting himself be killed in the place of sinners.
In Ezekiel, Jesus is the wonderful Four-Faced man.
In Daniel, Jesus is the fourth Man in the fiery furnace with Shadrach Meshach and Abednego, he’s the One who closes the lion’s mouths for Daniel, and He is the Son of Man given an eternal Kingdom after His ascension.
In Hosea, Jesus is the Faithful Husband, forever married to the backslider.
In Joel, Jesus is the baptizer with the Holy Spirit.
In Amos, Jesus is our true Burden-Bearer.
In Obadiah, Jesus is the One Mighty to Save.
In Jonah, Jesus is the better one that was thrown into the sea of God’s wrath so those on board would be spared.
In Micah, Jesus is the Messenger with beautiful feet.
In Nahum, Jesus is the Avenger of God’s elect.
In Habakkuk, Jesus is God’s evangelist.
In Zephaniah, Jesus is our Saviour.
In Haggai, Jesus is the restorer of God’s lost heritage.
In Zechariah, Jesus is the fountain opened up in the house of David for sin and uncleanness.
In Malachi, Jesus is the Sun of Righteousness, rising with healing in His wings.
In the Gospel Accounts, Jesus is the God-Man come to save sinners by grace.
In Acts, we see what Jesus continued to do the first 30 years after He ascended to Heaven.
All the Letters of the New Testament clarify who He is, what His gospel means, how we should live for Him, and to watch out for those who teach contrary to His Prophets and Apostles.
In Revelation, Jesus is our coming King—He will slay men who refuse to come to Him and remain in their sin; He will perfect His people who trust Him by faith and He will perfect the entire world. Those who refuse to repent and believe on Jesus and His gospel will be thrown in the fiery pit of hell to be punished for their sin for all eternity. Those who belong to Jesus in this life will belong to Him forever in the perfect life to come, where we will enjoy Him forever for His glory and our gladness!