Bible Week continues today! After looking at the different things the Bible is useful for: teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness; today we’re going to focus a bit more on this idea of training in righteousness. The ways in which the Bible equips us to live well for God.
When we are training for a race or any sporting competition, we need several different things to help us get there: practice, people encouraging us, the right food. And it’s the same for training in righteousness. I have picked out four different elements that I feel the Bible gives us to train us to live righteously.
Now, I really hoped this would spell out a really snazzy, memorable word; but it just doesn’t… so we have TEAD: Truths, Encouragement, Advice and Directions.
Here we’re talking about truths the Bible tells us about ourselves. Truths about ourselves that are so important in empowering us to go out and live well. Psalm 139:13-14 says: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made”. God made each of us. He didn’t have to, he chose to. He chose each and every one of us. We know God has made some pretty awesome things, so we must be OK.
1 Corinthians 12:27 says: “Now, you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it”. Each of us is a part of one body, one giant family across the world.
And Romans 12:6-7: “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach” and it continues with other gifts: encouraging, leading, giving. We have gifts, a role to play in God’s plan.
Once we know these truths, we move on to Encouragements. There are so many encouraging stories in the Bible. God used so many different people, normal people, unlikely people even, to achieve great things.
David was the youngest of 8 sons, just a young shepherd boy, but it was David who defeated Goliath.
Abraham was over 100 years old when he had a son, and God used him to begin the nation of Israel. The nation that would one-day welcome Jesus into the world.
Gideon was terrified, weak, yet he led an army of just 300 men to victory despite a crazy disadvantage.
Matthew was a tax-collector, hated by pretty much everyone. Yet Jesus chose him to be one of his disciples, one of his closest friends.
And we can see in each of these people, the amazing things that they achieve with God. Because, as we read in Romans 8:28: “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him”.
For advice, we have three wisdom books in the Bible: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Job. The wisdom discussed in these books is known in Hebrew as Khokhmah, roughly meaning skill or applied knowledge, rather than just mental knowledge or cleverness.
Proverbs 3:3-4 says this: “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them round your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favour and a good name in the sight of God and man.” We’re given a piece of advice on how to live, followed by a consequence of this action, and this is similar throughout much of the book.
Proverbs 3, verses 5-6 say: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
If we move into Ecclesiastes, it pretty much just says that everything is meaningless, so that’s great. But there is some good advice to be found in here. Ecclesiastes 5:10: “whoever loves money never has enough, whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless”. And Ecclesiastes 7:14: “When times are good, be happy; when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other.”
Finally, we have directions. We see lots of directions and rules in the Old Testament, 613 to be precise. But when Jesus was challenged to say which was the most important, he said: “Love the Lord your God with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbour as yourself.” This is a direction that Jesus has given to us: Love God, and love others.
We also see directions in the letters or the epistles, written to different churches around the world. 1 John 2:6 says: “whoever claims to live in him [God] must live as Jesus did”. We must live like Jesus did, how to we find out how Jesus lived? Read the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, sorted.
But we also see directions given by Jesus to his disciples, so many of which still apply to us today. The Great Commission in Matthew 28 says: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”.
And each of these things we find in the Bible: truths, encouragement, advice and directions, they all work together to train us and equip us in living well for God.