However, I have been reminded of the value in reading this way. The NT informs us:
For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (Romans 15:4)
We have hope as we persevere and find encouragement through the instructions of the scriptures. Hope is the faith in the truth of God that speaks about the future. Much of the OT is intended to cause people to look beyond their contemporary situation to what God has for planned for the future. The OT tells us that because of their sin God's wrath came upon Israel . . . but in the future . . . blessings beyond comprehension. The message is often repent, walk in faith, because there are good things coming if you are faithful. This is a timely message for us to be encouraged by and to find hope.
Another NT text that reminds us of the value of the OT is found in 1 Corinthians.
Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved. . . . Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. (1 Corinthians 10:6,11-12)
We need to be careful. If you are like me you are often amazed at how, even though God is marvelously visible and unquestionably displays His presence and power, the people still do not believe and act in foolish disobedience. As soon as that thought crosses my mind a second thought usually follows, “I am not so different!” It is humbling. It is a warning. Reading about how those with great spiritual benefit slipped and strayed away . . . think David, Solomon, Hezekiah . . . we are cautioned to take heed lest we too become casual and complacent and disobedient. It is easy for us to become proud and then comes the fall. By reading the OT we get a daily dose of humility to cause us to draw near to the Lord. I need this. I suspect you do too.
A third text that comes to mind is familiar to many:
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
We need to be equipped. Like the texts mention above, this paragraph says something about the nature and value of the Word of God and also the benefit it provides to us. Through the scriptures we become adequate to do the work God has for us to do. Through the scriptures we become equipped for every good work.
It is because of the nature of the Bible and the value we have in it that we at Canaan Church put so much emphasis on knowing, understanding, and putting into practice the truths in the Bible. We do this to encourage one another to love and good works.
Although our opportunities to interact face to face may be limited, all of us have Bibles. We need instruction. We need reminders. We need encouragement. We need equipping. God's Word provides us with these things.
Thus, I encourage you all the more to make sure you are frequently reading and studying your Bible. In this way God will meet your needs. In this way God will turn your thoughts to how you might help others also.
May God bless you abundantly!
Serving with joy,