“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip His people to do every good work.”” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NLT)
The opening words of the first Psalm say: “Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.”
Billionaire Dan Pena said: “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.” He also said: “You really are the average of the 5 people, or 10 people that you’re surrounded by.” He likely has reference to a person’s potential for wealth, but the same principle applies to those of us who are following Jesus. Making honey is the collective effort of hundreds of bees. What’s my point?
As a believer in Jesus, we are, by virtue of our oneness with Jesus, a member of His collective Body on earth, commonly referred to as the Church. It astounds me when I hear someone profess faith in Jesus who has no affiliation with a local body of believers. To become a believer in Jesus and not have a fellowship of godly people to surround you and help you grow is like putting a newborn baby out on the curb, hoping someone really nice picks them up.
Ministry and mission are designed by God to be carried out in the context of a fellowship of like-minded people who love Jesus and each other. Jesus commissioned us to “make disciples,” not let them flounder alone trying to find their way to maturity. We can’t “make ourselves” grow spiritually anymore than we can feed and clothe ourselves as infants.
Another vital factor in growing in Christ is learning how to read and study God’s Word, the Bible. Just because you know how to read doesn’t necessarily, in and of itself, mean you can understand the Bible. Yes, of course, you can recognize most of the words and maybe even pronounce them correctly but reading words and understanding meaning are two very different things.
You need some basic tools, such as a Bible dictionary, Concordance, and a multi-translation Bible. But there’s no substitute for having someone to walk with you as you learn. Someone who is more mature spiritually and who has some years of experience in reading, studying, and applying the truths of Scripture. But you also need to develop some godly disciplines related to your reading and study of God’s Word.
Bruce Waltke wrote: “Reading Scripture is like collecting pollen. Meditating on it is like making honey.” Reading is generally a solitary process, and even meditation is something best done alone. But the things upon which you meditate and the insights you gain from your thoughtful consideration of verses is something valuable to share with others. Pollen makes me sneeze, but honey is sweet and enjoyable.
Similarly, while an insight into a truth you’ve learned in Scripture is helpful to you, sharing it with others gives the benefit of letting it bless and help them as well. Reading and studying the Bible isn’t simply for the purpose of gaining information. Ultimately, when our knowledge is infused with the power of God’s Spirit, it becomes the stimulus for our transformation into the new creation about which Paul speaks in 2 Corinthian 5:17. Don’t be content to collect “pollen.” Make “honey.”
Blessings, Ed 😊