Let’s be a Bible Reading People
January 3, 2021
Pastor Craig Ledbetter
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland
Introduction (2Timothy 3:15)
“And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
I need to talk to you about something we take for granted as Christians...
Listen to how important hearing and understanding the Bible is… (Romans 10:13-17)
10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
10:15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
10:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
In John 6:63, Jesus said,
It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
Matthew 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every wordthat proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
John 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
John 20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
Sounds like these words in the Bible are super important to have and hear!
The truth is… You cannot get saved without a Bible! Any old faith will NOT do you on judgment day! You have to do things GOD’S way, or there is no way!
You will not ever grow and become mature until this Book becomes the source for your confidence and joy!
You will never get victory over your core sins (pride, bitterness, wrath, lust), until you saturate your thoughts and feelings with these words!
And you will never accomplish anything of value with your life until your life lines up with what God says is right and good and true.
You wouldn’t think it to be possible, but in the 21st century, more people are actually illiterate about the Bible than ever before!
People are ignorant of both God and His word, the Bible
A few years ago, a test of Bible knowledge was given to five classes of unsuspecting secondary school seniors. Most of them failed the exam completely! Some were so confused that they thought Sodom and Gomorrah were lovers, or that the gospels were written by Matthew, Mark, Luther, and John. Others said that Eve was created from an apple, and that the stories Jesus used in teaching were called parodies and not parables. More than 80 percent of the pupils could not complete such familiar quotations as “Many are called but few are (chosen)”; or “a soft answer turneth away (wrath).” — Our Daily Bread
If I asked your teenaged son or daughter…
· How many books are in the Bible? Would they know? Do you know?
· Why did God judge Sodom and Gomorrah? Would they know? Do you know?
· How could Noah carry all the animals on the Ark? Would they know? Do you know?
· Why did Cain murder his brother in Genesis 4?
· What does the name Jesus mean?
· Where do we find the Ten Commandments in the Bible?
· Could you or anyone in your family point on a map to where the nation of Israel even is? Where Egypt is?
· Maybe some of you could, but the majority of Christians today in Europe are ignorant of the contents of this Book.
Poem - “I thought I knew my Bible”
I supposed I knew my Bible,
Reading piecemeal, hit or miss,
Now a bit of John or Matthew,
Now a snatch of Genesis,
Certain chapters of Isaiah,
Certain Psalms (the twenty-third),
Twelfth of Romans, first of Proverbs,
Yes, I thought I knew the Word!
But I found that thorough reading
Was a different thing to do,
And the way was unfamiliar
When I read the Bible through.
You who like to play at Bible,
Dip, dabble, here and there,
Just before you kneel, aweary,
And yawn out a hurried prayer;
You who treat the Crown of Writings
As you treat no other book—
Just a paragraph disjointed,
Just a crude, impatient look.
Try a worthier procedure,
Try a broad and steady view;
You will kneel in very rapture
When you read the Bible through.
—Amos R. Wells
Could it be that all our time has been stolen from us?
Last year, in 2020 alone, 3.8 billion people regularly used some form of social media (FB, twitter, TikTok, etc) That is more than half the entire world's population
Every second, 11 people use social media for the first time.
On average, people around the world spend 144 minutes every day on social media
· North America, 126 minutes (that’s 2 hours 6 mins every day)
· South America, 204 minutes (3 hrs 24 mins)
· Africa, 190 minutes (3 hrs 10 mins)
· Europe, 75 minutes (1hr 15mins every day)
· Asia/Oceania, 136 minutes (2 hrs 16 mins)
The World Health Organisation estimates that if people live to be around 72 years of age, they will have spent nearly 7 years none stop online on social media!
And that doesn’t include all the time watching the news, movies, etc.
Could it be we are too busy?
I know you are busy. But can you not admit that, you are too busy?
Poem – “Too Busy To Read Bible”
Too busy to read the Bible,
Too busy to wait and pray,
Too busy to speak out kindly
To someone by the way!
Too busy to care and struggle,
To think of the life to come
Too busy building mansions,
To plan for the heavenly home.
Too busy to help a brother
Who faces, the winter blast.
Too busy to share his burden,
When self in the balance is cast.
Too busy for all that is holy
On earth beneath the sky;
Too busy to serve the Master,
But not too busy to die.
--The Sawdust Trail
God designed us to interact with PEOPLE; to talk, listen and learn from one another. The internet has been helpful at times… But the Bible is missing from too many schedules. It is not a habit for Christians in general to read their Bible at all, except for the time we may come to church on a Sunday or a Wednesday. This Book is certainly not part of our education anymore:
Up until the 1960’s the Book of Romans was taught in every major university as a pattern of logic and reason
It was Martin Luther at the start of the Reformation who loudly declared, “Education without the Scriptures will result in certain damnation!” And he was right!
Could it be that the Bible is just out of date?
If you believe that then you need to…
Read Revelation, and tell me the Bible is not the most up to date book ever written! It reads like tomorrow’s newspaper!
· Worldwide pestilences (diseases that cripple every nation)
· No more cash, just buying and selling using numbers
· The coming together of a one world religion
· A mark and number being placed INSIDE people’s hands so that they can buy and sell
· Every one of those were from just ONE chapter in Revelation
Read the Book of Job, located just before Psalms
You will never find a better book on exploring the depths of human sorrow and the struggle with trusting God, than in the Book of Job
Study all the advanced science described in Job chapters 38-39
They will blow your mind – like using lightning to talk (fibre-optics)
There are no wiser words than Solomon’s about life and love and death and money and the mouth and the heart, than in Proverbs!
People pay good money for courses and classes and seminars and conferences, to learn what God has put in a single book you can hold with one hand – the Bible!
None of those things are true. We have been robbed of our time, and we let it happen!
Let’s make 2021 the year of the Bible! Let’s make the Bible THE foundation of our church, our homes, our marriage and attitudes! Let’s get the Bible into every home in Ballincollig somehow some way
And we will start by studying just one Scripture this morning, our memory verse (2Timothy 3:15)
In this one Scripture, Paul writes to Timothy some important facts about the Book that he held in his hands…
Fact 1 - Timothy “Knew” the Scriptures
‘Known’ is a very cool word
Genesis 4:1 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.
Jeremiah 9:23,24 Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.
So, Timothy DIDN’T just know about them, but knew what the Bible said from cover to back!
It means, He knew them like you knew your neighbourhood as a child – every alleyway, every tree, every open window, every dog, every cat, every friendly neighbour and every grumpy one!
It means He read and ponderd the pages of Scripture all his life
And by the way, Paul commanded Timothy to keep studying them (2Timothy 2:15) – never think you have learned everything in it!
Timothy explored and discovered the literal words of Scripture
He knew all the writers (Moses, David, Solomon, Ezra, Nehemiah, Job…)
He knew all the places (Jerusalem, Samaria, Judah, Bethlehem, Philistia, Babylon, Assyria, Rome)
He knew all the prophets
He knew every word was the word of God
The Scriptures were never just for preachers, but for common men, and especially for KINGS and all in authority to know this Book
Listen carefully to Deuteronomy 17:18,19
And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he
shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: [HAVE HIS OWN PERSONAL COPY]
And it shall be with him, [CARRY IT WITH HIM EVERYWHERE]
and he shall read therein all the days of his life:
that he may learn to fear the LORD his God,
to keep all the words of this law and these statutes,
to do them.
Just like James 1:22 says! “Be ye doers of the word…”
It is NOT hard for kids to get to know the Scriptures – they pick up and learn languages, and abstract concepts like a sponge
3 year olds can learn to read
3 year olds can learn the piano and violin
6 year olds can learn two and three languages at the same time when they are spoken around them at home and school
That’s why the Bible here reveals Timothy knew the Scriptures from childhood!
By the way, both GOD and the world expect us Christians to know what is in this Book, and to believe every word of it!
If you don’t believe the words in this Book then why call yourself a Christian?
Jesus believed EVERY word
And if you say you believe every word, have you READ every word?
It is a sin to be ignorant of the Scriptures
Mark 12:24 And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?
Fact 2 - Timothy HAD the Scriptures
Somehow, some way, his mother and grandmother had made sure Timothy got to read the Scriptures for himself
Not fairy tales like Tir na Nog, or Evolution or Harry Potter!
Didn’t just have bits and pieces of the Old Testament
The entire Old Testament was available down at the local Jewish Synagogue
That was one of the jobs of the synagogue – making the Scriptures available to anyone who wanted to read them.
At that very time the New Testament was being written, Book by Book
So, copies of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, along with and copies of Matthew, and Mark and Luke were finding their way into every city and village and town and home where Christians were!
Timothy had the word of God in his hands (2Timothy 3:15,16)
Not only he, but the Thessalonian Christians had the word of God (1Thessalonians 2:13) For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.
As did the Bereans, and the Corinthians, and the Philadelphians, and so on!
They all didn’t just have copies that might have had errors
No, Paul reminded Timothy that he held the very words of God Almighty!
Look at the next verse, 2Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
All the Scripture Timothy had were the perfect, holy, inspired words of the living God
The same is true for you dear Christian!
We have an inspired Book that God gave to the world in Hebrew and Greek, and has preserved into the English language in the King James Bible
Do YOU have a copy of a King James Bible for yourself?
Do you read it? Can anybody tell you have read it?
Is your name in it?
Do you know how many times people leave their Bibles behind them at church, and I open them up to find no name?
How could you not want to have and own your own copy of the words of God?
How can you treat the Bible like it doesn’t really matter?
Fact 3 - Timothy learned the Scriptures from a young age
Raised by a single parent Eunice and his godly grandmother named Lois (2Timothy 1:5), yet it was important to them for Timothy to learn this Book!
2 Timothy 1:5 When I call to remembrance the unfeigned [REAL] faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.
Learning a trade, and going to school, and getting an education were vital to live and survive in THIS world
But learning this Book is vital to out-living this world!
The most important effort a Christian parent should do is teach their children to read!
Why? So that every child can read the Bible for themselves!
Deuteronomy 31:12 Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to do all the words of this law:
Psalm 34:11 Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
Matthew 19:13-15 Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence.
Remember, Biblical ignorance is a sin!
The reason why schools and universities were started all over Europe in the 1500’s was so that people could learn to read the Bible!
This Book was written to ALL ages and all races and all cultures!
Who are these Scriptures written to? (Ephesians 6:1-3)
6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
6:2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)
6:3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
And who is this written to? (Ephesians 6:4)
Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Did you know Shakespeare used over 20,000 words, with almost 500 being brand new words!
‘To be, or not to be: that is the question’
‘The lady doth protest too much, methinks‘
‘Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind; and therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.’
‘Full fathom five thy father lies, of his bones are coral made. Those are pearls that were his eyes. Nothing of him that doth fade, but doth suffer a sea-change into something rich and strange.’
Yet the word of God has only 6,000 different words in it
That is an amazing feat!
Most are one and two syllable words (quote John 3:16) “For… God… so… loved… the… world… that… he… gave… his… only… begotteon… Son…)
The King James Bible is NOT too hard to read.
It is just hard for lazy people!
Fact 4 - The Scriptures are HOLY
The Bible is different than every other book ever written!
‘Holy’ means perfect, complete, pure, clean, separate, different, unique.
That is why the constant dumbing down of the Bible is satanic – people do NOT want to read a Bible that reads like the RTE Guide!
The Message Bible
Genesis 1:1-2 — “First this: God created the Heavens and Earth—all you see, all you don't see. Earth was a soup of nothingness, a bottomless emptiness, an inky blackness. God's Spirit brooded like a bird above the watery abyss.”
John 3:16 — “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.”
The Living Bible
1Samuel 20:30 Saul boiled with rage. “You fool!” he yelled at him. “Do you think I don’t know that you want this son of a nobody* to be king in your place, shaming yourself and your mother?
Then it points you to a footnote that says, … the modern equivalent of the son of a nobody is “you son of a b****.”
Is that really the kind of bible you want? That you want your kids to read?
This one book in my hand is HOLY, perfect, complete, and all you and I need to know God, to love God and enjoy God forever!
It is more than that too – it enables you and I to live peaceably with all men, and make just and godly societies – IF we would live by it.
So, Take good care of this Bible
Forget “holy water” – it doesn’t exist
Forget “holy fathers” – they are a lie
Forget holy pilgrimages – they are a waste of money and time!
Treat this Book like it is the cleanest, purest, most precious thing in this word! Because it is holy! It is pure! It is clean! It is priceless!
Fact 5 - The Scriptures Change Lives
Look what the Scriptures did to Timothy…
It Saved his soul - Made him a new person
John 6:67,68 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
Psalm 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
1Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
It made him wiser than all his teachers (Psalm 119:98-100)
119:98 Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me.
119:99 I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.
119:100 I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.
It changed his entire life
And made him a preacher of the Gospel – the hardest work and also the greatest work any man could do!
Timothy had become the pastor of the massive church in Ephesus
And for the rest of his life (the next 30 odd years) until around 97 AD, Timothy pastored that city-wide church and faithfully preached and taught everyone the very same Bible that had saved and changed him!
So, Here is the best reason to read the Bible every day of our lives…
Because it changes us as we read it!
2Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
This book is not just information, and history and science and wisdom…
It is life-giving! Eternal life-giving!
The world doesn’t WANT to be changed - only to be accepted
But this Book transforms anyone who will read and believe it…
· From sinner to saint
· From lost to found
· From filthy and wicked, to fresh and wholesome
· It will make a faithful man out of a liar and a sluggard and a scorner
· It will make a godly lady out of a harlot and a loud angry woman!
· Isaiah 55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
So what are we do to with this Book?
Get It! Start with getting a physical copy of a Bible in your hand!
Read it – we start with reading it!
You may say, But I don’t understand it! Doesn’t matter. Just read it – it only works as you read it!
Read it Out-loud. Hear the words as if they were spoken to you!
Read it Daily! It HAS to become a priority habit, just like
Eating is a priority habit isn’t it?
Sleeping is a priority habit isn’t it?
Make reading this Book a priority habit, a life-long habit!
When General Douglas MacArthur was asked what books he liked to read said, “Believe me, sir, never a night goes by, be I ever so tired, but I read the Word of God before I go to bed.”
Your grandparents knew more Bible than your children do I am afraid!
Be Hungry when you open it
The Bible is not just words on a page
It is food for the soul
So many Christians are STARVING
Not because there is no food for their soul
But because of laziness!
How long would you survive if you just sat on your couch and never got up and fixed a proper dinner?
Read it with the goal of finishing in one year (3-4 chapters every day, preferably in the early morning)
Read it to know what is right and wrong – God’s laws have not changed
Sin is still sin - Right is still right
I imagine that many Christians really don’t know what is right or wrong anymore
A man and a woman living together is still wicked and wrong and God will judge them for not getting married!
And don’t you get upset at me – that is BIBLE!
Hebrews 13:4 Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.
And most of all, read it to know its Author
It is up to you!
I can’t read it for you
It is something YOU yourself have to do.
And if you won’t read it, there is no helping you, because only those that read and hear it, can be saved and changed, and fit for heaven!
Neglecting this Book, will cause you to miss everything that God has for you!
If you haven’t already started, Start in Matthew today!
Believe every word! And ask God to change you from the inside out, making you a new creature in Christ, born again by just believing the words of the living God!
This year, I am going to teach you…
How to enjoy learning this Book
How to live by it, instead of faking it
How to test what you hear, and how to find absolute TRUTH and hold to it instead of to every conspiracy theory and every cultish idea out there!
How to rebuild your heart and home using Scripture instead of guesswork!
How we got the Bible
Why the King James Bible is better than absolutely every other translation
And so much more throughout this year!
It is going to be a great year walking through the word together!