It’s critical that we teach Christians doctrinal truths and theological principles. But to create dynamic disciples, we need to do more than that. We need them to become passionate about God’s Word. If we want them to develop a lifelong relationship with Scripture, we can’t just tell them Scripture’s important; we need to help them fall in love with it.
But how do we do that?
Here are three tips for kindling an intense passion for the Bible:
1. Communicate what Scripture means to you
We tend to talk about God’s Word in fairly abstract ways. We share theoretical, philosophical, and conceptual ideas about the Bible, but we don’t give a lot of concrete elements for people to connect with.
Don’t just talk about what the Bible is or does-make sure you’re communicating what it means to you.
Make sure you’re conveying to them information like:
- How knowing the Bible has personally helped you
- How you’ve used your understanding of the Bible to help others
- When and why Scripture became a critical part of your life
These kinds of personal experiences enable others to make a tangible connection to Scripture’s importance in their own life.
2. Connect Scripture to significant events in church history
It’s important for Christians to have some understanding of church history if we want them to be grounded in a tradition with rich, historical roots. And helping people connect to church history is also an opportunity to see the impact the Bible’s had throughout the ages.
For instance, the Reformation was a pivotal moment in the church’s story, and Scripture plays a critical role. Because Martin Luther was convicted by Paul’s words in Romans 1:16-17, he felt empowered to challenge the church’s views on justification by faith. His scriptural conviction led him to make important decisions that had a dramatic effect on history.
When people see Scripture’s influence over noteworthy events, they’re more likely to see the Bible as the indomitable force that it is.
3. Show the sacrifices paid to bring Scripture to us
We can go into bookstores and purchase any number of specialized study Bibles, and the fact that the Bible is so readily available makes it easy to take for granted.
But a lot of people made tremendous sacrifices to ensure that we’d have access to Scripture. Considering what they endured so that we could have God’s Word available to us-in our language-can help people see its importance in a whole new light, and it gives people a sense of responsibility to Scripture.
For instance, William Tyndale is well known for translating the Bible into English, but he did so in defiance of Rome, knowing full well what the potential cost would be. Eventually he was caught, and he spent over a year confined to a dungeon before being executed.
This is one of thousands of stories (both classic and contemporary) about people so committed to Scripture that they were willing to put themselves in harm’s way to make it more readily available. Telling these stories promotes and continues this important legacy.
And while Tyndale may be best known producing the English translation, his benefactor – Humphrey Monmouth – sacrificed financially to bring this project to fruition. His patronage is a an example to us to invest financially in the spiritual formation of future generations too.
Helping disciples make the connection
People need to see Scripture as more than a textbook. When we communicate the Bible’s great historical significance and our personal experience with Scripture, we’re enabling them to make a deeper personal connection to God’s Word. And if they can make that connection, they’re more likely to become a lifelong student of Scripture.