In your personal devotions and Scripture readings, have you ever found yourself continually reading through the same types or genres of books and (possibly unintentionally) ignoring others all together? Maybe you have that “go-to” book that you default to whenever you don’t know which book to read through next, but (more often than not) some books just seem really boring or useless for the twenty-first century.
Currenly I’m reading through Leviticus. Leviticus doesn’t seem to be one of those most popular books, and – to be honest – I wasn’t overly excited to get into it. It’s one of those Old Testament books that doesn’t have very many exciting stories but is instead filled with all sorts of rules and regulations of how to worship God and live holy lives. It’s just a lot about how the Israelities were suppose to live three to four thousand years ago. Why bother reading it? What could I personally get out of this book as a regular Christian young adult in our modern age?
Reading through Leviticus has been teaching me the truth which Paul told Timothy:
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” – 2 Timothy 3:16-17
All Scripture is God-Ordained
Maybe a book like Leviticus doesn’t sound important. But when you are saying (or thinking) this, what are you really communicating?
The Bible is God’s spoken word to us. Every word in the Scripture God gave us because He wanted us to hear and know it. Although at first glance it may be hard to pick up on, God has a reason for why He included those “pointless” books in the canon of scripture.
I can look at a book like Leviticus and argue all the reasons why I don’t feel like reading it, but what we are really doing is refusing to read God’s Word – that He gave us. Simply the fact that these books comes from God and He ordained for those books to be in the scriptures is reason enough alone to read them.
All Scripture is Profitable
God didn’t randomly choose a bunch of books to smash together and call His Holy Word. He allowed them there because He wanted us to read, study, and learn from them. In some books like Romans or Matthew or Proverbs, recognizing the usefulness of the book is easy. Other books like Habakkuk or Numbers? Not so much.
Instead of simply trudging through a text and wondering why it’s there, dig deeper.
Every book of the Bible has an important message for us.*** Some texts may teach us about Gospel truths: who God is; who we are; why Christ came, died, and rose again; why we need a Redeemer; and what the Gospel changes in the lives of Christians. Other texts are messages of reproof and correction – convicting us of our sin and commanding us how to repent and turn away from rebellion to submission. Throughout the scriptures, we are called and trained how to live righteous and holy lives.
Leviticus has been amazingly insightful. The book literally jumps right into all the laws for the various offerings – for seven whole chapters. At first glance, I thought, ‘Seven chapters of painful reading.‘ When I read through these first chapters with a desire to learn from these texts however, my perspective changed.
I realized how complicated the laws for the sacrifices were. I can only imagine the anticipation, concern, and almost dread the priests and people alike experienced as they careful performed the sacrifices. All these sacrifices, offerings, and rituals were performed for Israel’s substitutionary atonement – so complicated and rigorous. Yet, here we are as Christians in the second millennium, and we have complete atonement for sin through faith in Christ, with no need of animal sacrifice – because Christ paid the ultimate sacrifice at Calvary. We have direct access to God – access now made simple, but at an immeasurable price.
With my mind focused on how this book points back to Christ and the Gospel, I’m excited to continue reading. The book of Leviticus contains a message about God, a message He has for me about who He is: a God of righteousness and purity – a God of love, but also of holiness.
All Scripture is Necessary
Not only did God Himself give us these books, and not only are they practical – God gave us the Scriptures because they are necessary.
Without God’s Word, we can’t grow. Didn’t God communicate this to us when He says that all of Scripture is given to us “that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:17).
We need the passages that explain our need for a Saviour. We need to understand God’s holiness so we can understand our separation from God due to our sin. We need to know the gravity of our total depravity and hopelessness so that we can wholeheartedly rejoice with tears of thankfulness for Christ’s precious gift of salvation.
When we do not read all of the Bible, we deprive ourselves from knowing more about God, from becoming more richly sanctified, and from being more fully prepared for an eternity of worshiping and serving God.
Why would we choose to limit how much we could know about God? Why would we choose to stunt our spiritual growth? Why would we, as Christians, not do whatever we can to better worship and serve God, for now and eternity?
As Christians and Jesus-followers, we love God. We want to know who God is, grow in Him, and spend forever praising Him for all that He is. Don’t stunt your ability to worship God by limiting your knowledge of Him.
Read all of the Scriptures – and praise for Him for every word of it.
***I read a article by Garrett Kell on The Gospel Coalition this week called “Every Book of the Bible in One Word” . It was excellent in drawing attention to a key message in each book of the Bible -definitely worth the read.