Monday, June 5, 2023

Bible Reading: Day by Day by Day

Do you have a "test verse" you use to judge the accuracy of a new translation of the Bible into English? I have a couple of them. One is Rom. 8:3. What do they do with the phrase "in the likeness of sinful flesh"? Another is Tit. 2:13. Is Jesus explicitly referred to here as"God"? In the Greek, he is. In some versions of the Bible, he is not. But perhaps the verse I use more than any other nowadays is found in our Lord's Great Commission in Matt. 28:20. As I've pointed out on this blog numerous times, here Jesus doesn't simply promise to be with us "always." He promises us his presence "all the days" or "day after day" or "day by day by day." 

Now, Jesus does not explicitly tell us why he used that expression "all the days." I would venture to suggest it is because we Christians are called to live one day at a time, "day by day" if you will. We don't live only for yesterday. We don't live only for tomorrow. We don't even live only for today. We are people who live each day in the light of the past and in anticipation of the future. That is God's calling to all of us. We are to live by his daily grace -- "daily" because his mercies are new (and needed) every morning. Indeed, Paul states that though our outward man is decaying, our inner man is being renewed "day by day" (Greek "day and day") by the grace of God. Is this not reason to praise him every day? As the Psalmist says, "Bless his name; tell of his salvation day by day" (Psalm 96:2). We are even to take up our cross daily and follow Jesus. So you see just how "daily" the Christian life is. 

Now, this truth is also very relevant to how frequently we will want to be in God's word. I see this clearly in the book of Hebrews. Here we read not once, not twice, but three times, that we are to listen to the voice of God daily. "Today, when you hear his voice ...." (Heb. 3:7; 3:15; 4:7). How can we otherwise "hold fast our confession" without wavering? How can we otherwise have victory in the unremitting daily fight against the world, the flesh, and the devil? How can we otherwise cling to our Christian moorings and not drift away from the things we have heard? The best protection against backsliding is a daily focus on Christ. 

If we wish to be perpetually vigilant, we need to listen to the voice of God day by day by day. God has spoken (Heb. 1:1). But he is still speaking today. His is a living voice that speaks to us through the written text of Scripture. This Scripture is not a museum piece. It is the voice of the living God. I don't know about you, but I cannot live a single day without it.