IMG_20161207_100234483“The way we treat the Bible is the way we treat Jesus, for He is the living Word and the theme of the written Word.”[1] Christ’s followers need no further motivation to become devoted to time in our Bibles.

Jesus said that we need the Word to live.[2] Of course, he was talking about spiritual life, not physical sustenance. But just like we must consume food for bodily health, we must take in God’s Word in order to flourish spiritually.

As we spend time in our Bibles, we experience greater

  • understanding, as the Holy Spirit opens our eyes to better know God and his purposes;
  • holiness, as God uses his Word and our submission to purify us, without which we would not be allowed to be with him in eternity;[3]
  • delight in God’s Word, as a result of our increased unity with God and realization of our need to be purified;[4] and
  • worship, as the ongoing cycle of delight and obedience draws us deeper into the heart of our Lord, teaching us to praise and glorify him in all that we do.[5]

So you’d think we professing Christians would be more zealous students of the Word. But rather than a delight, for many, Bible reading becomes tiresome. Instead of finding the lamp to light our paths,[6] we find disconnected stories told in unfamiliar ways. Instead of wanting to be purified, we fear being found out or we err in thinking of the Bible as an outdated book of rules that are not meant to be kept.

There are at least a couple of explanations for this disconnect between God’s desire for us all to seek him and our response to his Word. Foremost, as alluded to above, we’re unable to comprehend God’s truth except through revelation by the Holy Spirit.[7] In keeping with Jesus’s instructions to his disciples to not give their pearls to swine,[8] the Holy Spirit will not reveal truth to anyone but an earnest seeker of Christ.[9]

In addition, we tend to view the Bible as optional. But there’s a saying that you can’t hit what you don’t aim at. If we don’t see God through the Word, we’ll be quite limited in our ability to participate in God’s plan to conform us to the image of Christ.[10]

We need to view the Bible as required reading for a dangerous journey, an indispensable part of our preparation for this life and eternity. Imagine going on a safari without having arranged for a tour guide and adequate safety measures. No sane person would do that. So why do we choose not to invest ourselves in God’s Word?

We must spend time studying the Word on a regular basis, ideally each day. We need to interact with the Word by

  • reading and re-reading Scripture with the expectation of learning something more
  • studying Scripture to find themes and central truths
  • pondering[11] Scripture through prayer and study
  • recalling and talking about Scripture as we come and go[12]
  • memorizing Scripture
  • praying Scripture for ourselves and others
  • considering how God intends to use Spirit-revealed truth to change how we think, what we do, and who we are, and then
  • on the basis of this revealed truth, striving to think and act in a manner pleasing to God.[13]

Let me confess that I am not without challenges in this area. I’ve found a few things that help me overcome Satan’s obstacles.

  • Commitment to a set time for Bible study each day. In years past, I entered on my daily calendar “Time with God,” so that as I checked off what I had done, I’d be forced to decide whether to honor that commitment.
  • Prayer for understanding. I pray before I start to read the Scripture, asking God to give me understanding and to use his Word to nourish me for his purposes.
  • Prayer for focus. I often stop during reading to ask God to focus my thoughts. When I’m very distracted, I read out loud, repeating sections as needed.
  • Napkin notes. I jot down distractions to be addressed later, verses I want to remember, and questions that arise for further exploration.
  • Recently, I’ve started creating topical lists of favorite passages. Many of my napkin notes end up here. The categories are things I’m passionate about or things God seems to be pointing me toward for his work in or through me.

If you’re just starting, some great suggestions on how to study the Bible can be found here. As you persist in your commitment and with the help of the Holy Spirit, you’ll become more like the author of Psalm 119, who prioritized the Word over even water, food, sleep, and friends. If our relationship with God is our highest priority, we’ll be willing to sacrifice these things and more in order to invest time in his Word.[14]

Proverbs 4:20-23

My son, be attentive to my words;
incline your ear to my sayings.
 Let them not escape from your sight;
keep them within your heart.
 For they are life to those who find them,
and healing to all their flesh.
 Keep your heart with all vigilance,
for from it flow the springs of life.

REFLECTION

  • If you don’t enjoy spending time in God’s Word, ask him to show you why and to make you yearn for this time with him.
  • How can you alter your Bible study habits to give the Holy Spirit greater opportunity to reveal God to you?

PRAYER

 Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long. (Psalm 25:4-5)

EXCERPTS READY TO SHARE (copy and paste)

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The Bible is required reading for a dangerous journey, an indispensable part of our preparation for life & eternity.https://karenlindia.com/2016/12/07/seeking-jesus-through-the-word/

If you don’t enjoy spending time in God’s Word, ask him to show you why and to make you yearn for this time with him. https://karenlindia.com/2016/12/07/seeking-jesus-through-the-word/

How can you alter your Bible study habits to give the Holy Spirit greater opportunity to reveal God to you? https://karenlindia.com/2016/12/07/seeking-jesus-through-the-word/

FOOTNOTES

[1] Warren W. Wiersbe, Jesus in the Present Tense: The I AM Statements of Christ (Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2011), Kindle edition, 127.  See also John 1:1-5 and John 1:14.

[2] Matthew 4:4, in reference to spiritual life or eternal life. See also Deuteronomy 8:3 and James 1:21.

[3] Hebrews 12:14

[4] Jeremiah 15:16, Psalm 40:8

[5] John Piper, “All of Life as Worship,” sermon, November 30, 1997.

[6] Psalm 119:105

[7] 1 Corinthians 2:6-16, 1 John 2:27

[8] Matthew 7:6

[9] Jeremiah 29:13

[10] Romans 8:29

[11] Joshua 1:8

[12] Deuteronomy 6:4-9

[13] James 1:23-25

[14] Romans 12:1

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