Called to Follow the Word

Faith & Fellowship magazine recently interviewed Lutheran Brethren Seminary distance student Josh Graber, on-campus student Eric Reese, and graduate, missionary Claire Rose, about the importance of studying God’s Word.

How has the study of God’s Word affected your confidence and passion for sharing his Word with others?

Josh Graber: Where do I begin? Through reading and hearing God’s Word my faith in Christ was birthed and subsequently has increased (Rom. 10:17). The Word of God is the communicated essence of his being. Through the Word I am made aware of my depravity as a wretched sinner and find myself in desperate need of salvation (Rom. 3:23, 6:23). Through this same Word the Spirit of God works to transform me more and more into the image of Christ (Eph. 5:26). Then, through the Word I am commissioned to proclaim Good News with those who are perishing, so they too may taste and see that God is good (Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 1:8; Ps. 34:8).

Eric Reese: My confidence and passion for sharing God’s Word result directly from my study of his Word. My confidence is usually founded on my own ability to do something well. But when it comes to sharing the gospel with others, my confidence is grounded in the objective truth that God loves the world, and that he sent his Son so the world might be forgiven and live through him. As I continue to study God’s Word, I grow more deeply convinced that I am a sinner, and confident that Jesus came to save sinners like me. Comprehending the cost of my redemption, I stand in awe of the gospel and want others to personally experience it. Studying God’s Word has strengthened my confidence and sparked my passion for sharing this good news with others.

Claire Rose: Studying God’s Word has increased my confidence and fueled my passion for sharing his Word with others. The deeper I dig into the Word, the better I know my Heavenly Father (Jer. 29:13), and the more confident I am that the message of his Word must be shared. His Word is life-giving (John 5:24), restorative (Rev. 21:5), and corrective (2 Tim. 3:16). It is Truth (John 17:17). Sometimes the message the Lord shares with me is not what I want to hear, but it is always what I need to hear. The Word of God is alive and active (Heb. 4:12). The transformation of his Word overflows and manifests itself in every aspect of our lives. This Word is not mine, so I can have confidence God will use his Word as he wills (Isa. 55:11). If I share the Word, it is the Holy Spirit working through me (John 14:26), so my passion for sharing is fueled by him.

Why is it important that all believers study God’s Word to prepare them for sharing it with others?

Josh Graber: This raises two more questions… Why wouldn’t believers want to study the Word of the One who saved them from sin and death? Why wouldn’t believers want to share it with lost and broken people? The Apostle Paul wrote: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Why would God tell his Church to build a house yet fail to provide them with a hammer? No, our God equips those he has called through the reading, hearing, and internalizing of his Word.

Eric Reese: If I prepare a meal, I read and follow a recipe. If I prepare for an exam, I read and study the chapters to be covered. Reading is essential to preparing myself for the task ahead. However, studying God’s Word is unlike anything else we read. God’s Word is living and active. We do not read Scripture merely to pull information off the page and into our brains; we read Scripture because God comes to us there. He meets us in Scripture and proclaims the truth of his Word. God works on us, drawing us in so that we might cling to his goodness and grace. He gives us new hearts to trust in him and to care for our neighbor. This is why it is necessary that all Christians study God’s Word. Through Scripture, God reveals the gospel and prepares us to share it with others.

Claire Rose: “All Scripture is God-breathed” (2 Tim. 3:16). What amazing gifts he gives through his breath! God breathes life into us as we read his Word. Study of Scripture is necessary to equip us for the work God has called us to (2 Tim. 3:17), whatever that looks like, wherever that may be. In 2 Timothy 4:2, Paul exhorts, “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.” God equips us with his Word, and then calls us to go out and share that Word—both in season and out of season—all the time—with those whose paths he has us cross.  Wherever God has you right now, he calls you to share his message with those you encounter. May you breathe in deeply the life that God desires to give you every day in his Word, that you may share this Good News with others.

Pastor Josh Graber serves Zion Lutheran Church in Cooperstown, North Dakota.

Pastor Eric Reese serves as associate pastor at Stavanger Lutheran Church in Fergus Falls, Minnesota.

Claire Rose serves with her husband Dan as missionaries to the unreached peoples of Chad.

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