A young lady was given a book as a gift. She found it rather dry and so discarded it on a bookshelf. However in time she was introduced to a charming young man at a social function by the name of H.W. Wood. She mentioned during the course of conversation that she had a book at home written by a ‘H.W. Wood’. The man responded that he had written it. The young lady upon returning home commenced reading this book and stayed up until midnight to finish it. As the author had captivated her attention, she found the book most interesting. Later she became Mrs H.W. Wood. Knowing the author made all the difference (author unknown). Many likewise find the Bible a dull book but read with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit it comes alive and draws us closer to Jesus. It’s His message of encouragement to our hearts. Is that your experience? It can be.
Psalm 119 gives multiple examples of how we benefit from reading the Word with an open heart. Can you spot the verses where these promises come from? We are blessed, receive a heart of praise, are empowered to live a pure life and receive delight. We are to read it with spiritually open eyes and it preserves our life, brings understanding, good judgment, and provides strength. It is full of promises, shows us His unfailing love, it is truth, brings freedom and deserving of our love. It brings comfort, hope, is trustworthy and wonderful, it lasts forever, it’s good for guidance, is a refuge and shield and brings peace! There is no other book like it!
- During my early days of ministry I admired a highly respected Senior Pastor moving strongly in the power and love of God. Often he would challenge me by asking, “What is the Lord saying to you Alan?” Initially it caught me by surprise and I felt intimidated until I realized that I too can hear from God primarily through His Word the Bible. What a delight!
- The results of a couple of surveys I have come across indicate that when school teachers and pastors study for higher education, then the generalization is that they become less effective in their practice. Don’t swap devotional reading of Scripture for what simply appeals to the intellect. We do need however, Bible scholars with a godly sanctified intellect and what a gift they are from God when it is used for drawing people to Jesus.
- The Jews were very strong on oral tradition and memorized whole chunks of Scripture. I’m so glad that as a child I too was taught to memorize Scripture. I often draw upon it for spiritual nourishment and for spiritual warfare.
- As mentioned in an earlier blog, George Muller that man of faith states, “The first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day is to have my soul happy in the Lord.” (Source unkown) He did that by reading the Bible and praying in faith. Develop that discipline before your tasks of the day take over and distract you.
- For those of us who disciple others we must live in the Word (Josh 1:8) and teach the Word at every opportunity. If we don’t do that then we are more into mentoring than discipleship.
- When Satan confronted Jesus, Jesus overcame by drawing upon Scripture. Matt 4: 4,7,10.
- For most of my life I have read the Word daily. I generally read one book at a time in any order and once I have read the book I mark it as having been read in the index at the front of the Bible. After a few years I have then read the Bible through from cover to cover. That way you get the whole counsel of God not just your pet themes. My wife likes to mull over a small section. I still subconsciously ask myself the following three questions:
- What is this passage saying?
- Is there anything I don’t understand?
- How does it apply to me? I then look for – a command to obey, an example to follow, a promise to claim, a sin to repent of, an action to take or a response of praise.
- Journaling is useful to clarify the lessons gained from the reading and for reflection and encouragement at a later stage. By writing down your thoughts it intensifies the lesson and is more likely to be retained to encourage others.
- If you have a variety of translations available then it can be useful to read other translations for fresh insights.
- Don’t get too ‘professional’ in sharing God’s Word with others. I like Henri Nouwen’s approach in living for Christ out of our weakness when he says, ‘They (people) are helped, not through our brilliant logic or persuasive speech, but through the sharing of our struggles, and how, with God’s help, we have overcome. It is a case of one beggar showing other beggars where to find bread.’ When we share God’s Word worked out in our own life it keeps us humble.
- Madam Guyon* also makes an important point. ‘reading Scripture is a way into prayer. Remember, too, that what you read may become prayer…. come before the Lord and begin to read. Stop reading just as soon as you feel yourself being drawn inwardly… Now, simply remain in stillness. Stay there for a while. Then, momentarily, proceed with your reading; but read only a little. Always cease reading each time you feel a divine attraction drawing you deeper within….’
- Psalm 1 promises us that if we meditate on God’s Word day and night then we will be fruitful!
‘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
Discovery Bible Studies (an extremely effective method for teaching people how to read the Word).
100 Days in the Secret Place by Gene Edwards *