THE WORD OF GOD – FOR US AND OUR FAMILIES (DEUT 6:6, 7)
Dear Members in Christ,
The Word of God – for us and our families (Deut 6:6, 7)
The Bible is God’s word, delivered by God’s servants His prophets, and His Apostles to reveal God’s plan of salvation and His will. The Bible contains testimonies to teach God’s people how they may relate to the eternal, omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent God. The Bible reveals to us how man and the whole creation were created perfect or “very good” as God expresses it in Genesis 1:31. The word of God tells us of how mankind fell into sin, and there, in the beginning, the first gospel was preached to mankind. It tells of how God will provide the seed of the woman (the Messiah) who will bruise the head of the serpent (Genesis 3:15). The rest of God’s plan of salvation is revealed in greater clarity in the books of the Bible in the Books of History, in the books of Poetry, and the Gospels and the Epistles.
We know that the Bible comprises in toto of 66 books, amounting to 1,189 chapters. Given the volume of the scriptures, is there a biblical way to approach the study of God’s word? Or an even more basic question is – do we really have to study God’s word? Or should we leave it to preachers and pastors to do the learning of scriptures? Is not a weekly dose of a sermon and scripture on the Lord’s Day morning sufficient for our sustenance? Let us examine God’s word for guidance on this matter.
God’s people were commanded to teach (and learn) God’s word
The command to learn God’s word is given in the Bible from the very beginning, in the writings of Moses, the servant of God. At the verge of crossing the Jordan River, Moses gathered the people and re-iterated the law that God had commanded them. And there, Moses said these words to the people, and he began with,
“Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it.” Deuteronomy 6:1
And as Moses began to read the law to them, he emphasized once again, “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart.” Deuteronomy 6:6.
We notice from this reading that the law given to the people was to be taught to them (verse 1), that God had commanded Moses to teach them. The desired result is that they “do them in the land whither ye go to possess it.” It begins with the teaching of God’s word. God had also instituted the Levites to teach the word of God as we read in Deuteronomy 33:10 about the Levites that “they shall teach Jacob thy judgments, and Israel thy law.”
Obedience is the objective for teaching (and learning) God’s word
The command to teach the people also comes with a corollary, and that is the command for the people to keep the laws and commandments of God “in thine heart.” In ancient times, this means learning, reciting, and memorizing the word of God. And the learning process includes action beyond the mere listening to the reading of God’s word. It is a command to learn and practise the law and commandments in their daily lives. The mere head knowledge does no spiritual good for the learner. Learning must be accompanied by a heart of obedience.
Brothers and sisters, it is a great blessing to learn God’s word. To dive deep into the knowledge of holy things. The way to learn is to hide God’s word in our hearts. Having done that, we examine and pray that the Holy Spirit will guide us to live our lives in accordance with His word. Let us also in obedience to God’s word be zealous in prayer, and be devoted to the service of our Lord Jesus.
Believers are to teach the word within their families
Moses taught the people that they are to learn and keep God’s word in their hearts. The word of God spoken by Moses also taught His people how His laws and commandments are to be propagated amongst His people. One may ask how about the little ones, the children, and those not yet literate? For this cause, the primary tool for teaching God’s word is the family. In Deuteronomy 6:7, Moses said to the people, “And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”
God’s way of teaching His word amongst children begins in the family. This is a call to all parents and in some cases grandparents as well. If you are a child of God, saved by grace, walking with the Lord Jesus, remember that it is your responsibility to teach these little ones.
The church does have a Sunday School ministry and we thank God for the service of the teachers and helpers. But the Sunday School is not a substitute for the teaching of Bible lessons to children at home. We pray, with hope and desire that parents (and in some cases, grandparents) will take up this burden of teaching. It should not be a daunting task. If you are not already having home devotions, begin right away. Pray with your child, and read a passage of the Bible (or a few select verses – depending on the age of the child). Take a few moments to explain the bible account to the child, and to answer any questions for their minds are still discovering and learning.
May God help us in our journey of learning God’s word. And may God give us the wisdom to impart these precious truths to our charges. May His name be glorified. Amen.
Dn. Lim Seh Beng