The first detail we discover about the first century church is that “they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching” (Acts 2:42 ESV). This means that they were devoted to learning God’s Word. Remember, the infant church did not possess the Bible as we know it. They had access to the Old Testament but relied upon the Apostle’s teachings to supplement their scriptures with information pertaining to the new covenant. Thus, they were devoted to God’s Word, which was given to them orally by the Apostles.
But why should Christians be devoted to the Word? Consider Paul’s statement in 2 Timothy 3:16-17. He writes, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” Paul indicated that we should be devoted to the Word because of who authored it (i.e. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God”). God is the authority on life since He created it; therefore, His authorship alone is reason to be devoted to the Word. Additionally, Paul indicated that we should be devoted to the Word because of what it promises to accomplish (i.e. “the man of God may be complete”). Since He is the authority on life, God decided to provide us with instructions on how to live it according to His standards. The fact that the Word is our instruction manual, self-help guide, and road map is another reason we should be devoted to it.
But the real question is whether or not you truly are devoted to the Word. In fact, you may not even know what that looks like. Devotion to the Word means that you engrain it into your mind. The Israelites were instructed to “lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul” (Deuteronomy 11:18). That same text goes on to instruct them to “bind them as a sign on your hand,” to fix them “as frontlets between your eyes,” and to “write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 11:18-21). Binding God’s Word to your hand signifies that it controls your actions. Affixing God’s Word between your eyes signifies that it guides your life. Writing God’s Word on the entrance of your house signifies that it governs your home. These instructions were taken literally by Jews for millennium but they were intended to symbolize what it means to engrain the Word.
Devotion to the Word also means that you consistently engage it. The Jews in Berea demonstrated this expectation. After hearing Paul teach, Luke tells us that “they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so” (Acts 17:11). There are two important observations to be made from this text. First, these Jews did not accept what they heard at face value but spent time consulting God’s Word to find confirmation. They understood that a mortal could be wrong but the Words of the Immortal would always be correct. Second, they engaged in this exercise daily. They studied God’s Word not just on the day they gathered in the synagogue but every day of the week. The Berean Jews show us that devotion to the Word means that one is in the Word.
Are you devoted to God’s Word? Is it engrained in your life and are you engaging it daily? If not then can you truly claim to be devoted to God?