Aren’t books great! Most of us have a shelf or shelves full of them. Christians should be well read and widely read. Christians of the past were, and given the complexity and absurdity of the issues in our day we should be as well.
At the same time, we have one book in particular that is to be read continually. A book whose words are living and active. A book that changes lives. Compared to all other books, this one is supreme, and there is a man who thought so much so, that it was supposedly the only book he ever read!
Again, I think all Christians of all ages should be reading and learning and enjoying books. This is a good thing. But when one considers the Bible, this question arises:
If this book contains the very words of God, the good news of the Gospel and who God is, tells us who we are, and tells us what is reality and what we are to be doing, encourages us, etc., etc., why are we not devouring it constantly? Surely its worth is far above all books.
I recently read a biography on Smith Wigglesworth, one of the pioneers of modern Pentecostalism. Now regardless of your theological stance, or your opinion of this “faith-healer” or Pentecostalism in general, one cannot read his words or evaluate his odd, yet bold life and deny that this man had massive faith. He was constantly and earnestly seeking God and believing his word. He never questioned it. He never explained hard verses away theologically. He took what God said and boldly proclaimed and practiced it everywhere.
As I was reading the book, I came across this statement:
He frequently said, “I have never read any book but the Bible.”
Sure, he went many years without being able to read. Sure, he was a plumber for half of his life before God called him to full time evangelism. But how could such a well-known preacher with a successful global ministry not read other books? The answer, I presume, is that he was so consumed with God’s words, and busy in the rigorous demands that God has placed before him, that he had no desire to read anything else.
Again, this is not my recommendation for Christians, but it stands as a powerful testimony, and it causes one to wonder about how meaningful and powerful the Word of God is to us.
Here are some of his words:
“Never compare this Book with other books. Comparisons are dangerous. Other books are of earth; this is of heaven. Never say that this Book contains the Word of God. It is the Word of God. Eternal in duration ; incomprehensible in power; infinite in scope; human in penmanship; present in application. Read it through; Write it down; Pray it in! Work it out! Pass it on!”
“Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God’ not by reading commentaries. Faith is the principle of the Word of God. The Holy Spirit, who inspired the Word, is called the Spirit of truth; and as we receive with meekness the engrafted Word, faith springs up in our hearts; faith in the sacrifice of Calvary; faith in the shed blood of Jesus; faith in the fact that He took our weaknesses upon himself, that He has borne our sicknesses and carried our pains, and that he is our life today. The Word of God is living and powerful, and in its treasure you will find eternal life. If you will dare to trust this wonderful Lord of life, you will find in Him everything you need.”
His constant advice to young people was,
“Fill your head and your heart with the Scriptures. Memorize passages from the Word, with the name of the book, the chapter, and the verse, so that you can quote the Scripture correctly in addresses or in open-air meetings. As you do this, you are sowing in your heart seeds which the Spirit of God can germinate. He can bring to your remembrance from time to time that which you have once memorized. You must be so soaked with the Word of God, you must be so filled with it, that you yourself are a living epistle, known and read of all men. Believers are strong only as the Word of God abides in them. The Word of God is spirit and life to those who receive it in simple faith, and it is a vivifier of all who own its sway. Know your Book, live it, believe it, and obey it. Hide God’s Word in your heart. It will save your soul, quicken your body, and illumine your mind. The Word of God is full and final, infallible, reliable, and up-to-date, and our attitude towards it must be one of unquestioned obedience. If a thing is in the Bible it is so; it is not even to be prayed about; it is to be received and acted upon. Inactivity of faith is a robber which steals blessing. Increase comes by action, by using what we have and what we know. Your life must be one of going from faith to faith.”
His son-in-law James Salter stated:
“He was essentially a man of the Bible, and he never considered himself fully dressed without a copy of the Word of God in his pocket. He not only carried it, but he used it continually. While others might read novels or newspapers in railway cars, he read his Bible. On board various ships as he traveled, at the seaside where occasionally he went for relaxation, or sitting in his favorite place in the park near his home, his New Testament was constantly in his hand. He never left a friend’s table without reading ‘a bit from the Book,’ and usually his comments on it were choicer than any course in the meal.”
So maybe you only give 10 minutes a day to do your “devotionals.” Maybe you don’t have any scripture memorized. Maybe you read books about the Bible more than the Bible itself. Well, today is a new day. Go and consume your Bible! Believe it and act on it!
Let Wigglesworth’s words serve as an encouragement.
Be able to say, “I read the Bible more than any other book!”