Nehemiah 7-8 Importance of God’s Word for the Believer

Meditation for Preparation

“Ignorance of God – ignorance of both His ways and of the practice of communion with Him- lies at the root of the church’s weakness today.” That’s how J. I. Packer began the 1973 preface to his classic volume Knowing God. Packer reasoned that one trend producing such ignorance of God and weakness in the church was “that Christian minds have been conformed to the modern spirit; the spirit, that is, that spawns great thoughts of man and leaves room for only small thoughts of God.”

Sadly, Packer’s observation rings true more than three decades later. Ignorance of the ways of God and of communion with him is rampant in too many instances. Members of Christian churches continue to think small thoughts of God and great thoughts of man. This state of affairs reveals that too many Christians have neglected their first great calling: to know their God. Every Christian is meant to be a theologian in the best and most intimate sense of the word. If churches are to prosper in health, church members must be committed to being biblical theologians in whatever capacity they can.

Practicing biblical theology helps us grow in our reverence for God. As we encounter the God of Scripture, we see something of God’s majesty…. When we see that God is, always has been, and always will be the same creating, faithful, loving, and sovereign God for us that he has been for others, we are stirred to faith and awe in God.

Practicing biblical theology is necessary to fulfilling the Great Commission. God commands us to teach all believers to observe all that he commands (Matt 28:19-20). Without a well-formed theology, including an accurate understanding of how God’s commands are to be understood in their historical development and context, it is difficult indeed to obey the Lord’s command to teach others to obey. What shall we teach? What shall we obey? How shall we know what to apply to our lives?

But perhaps the most compelling benefit for doing biblical theology is that it deepens our understanding of and facility with the gospel…. The biblical theologian follows in the steps of Jesus and the apostles by mastering unity of Scripture, seeing Christ and the gospel throughout.

Knowing God starts with knowing about him, about his character. It also involves giving yourself to God based upon his promise to be your God through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, his Son.
Consequently, knowing God means following Jesus as a disciple. And, ultimately, knowing God means being “ more than a conqueror” by exalting the adequacy of God in all things. Such knowledge of the God comes only from drinking deeply from the message of the Bible with all of its rich themes. And such knowledge of God belongs especially to those Christian church members who commit to being biblical theologians.

Thabiti Anyabwile

Heart Preparation
Read Nehemiah 7-8. Consider the impact the reading of word of God upon the people of Israel. If the Word of God is valuable and so powerful, what is happening in your heart that prevents you from being a better student of the Word?

Posted on: February 14, 2013 - 8:30PM

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