Today and tomorrow I want to spend some time thinking through how we as believers should use the Bible, the Word of God. Some churches are able to teach their members how to read the Bible because in their context it tends to be easier for people to gather more than just at the Sunday gatherings whilst many churches find it more difficult to gather their people outside of the normal Sunday Worship times. This might be a cause for some of the beloved in Christ to use their Bible but not achieve the desired of maxim results to benefit the soul. It is with this in mind that I write this note today hoping it will be of benefit to some of the Body of Christ. We took the previous two Daily Notes to see what the Bible says of itself. Now let’s see how we ought to respond to it.
First, as God’s people we need to meditate over the Bible.
Ps 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.
A definition of meditation in the Bible is generally to “mutter or speak quietly”. Christian meditation is the act of filling one’s mind with Scripture, and dwelling on God and all that He offers to us through His Word. It can be summarized as to “mutter, speak and ponder” to oneself the words of Scripture so that we are constantly meditating on what God has spoken to us. This produces not only knowledge of the Bible, but also, heart transformation. Too often we tend to read a passage of the Bible and a devotion or commentary and neglect personal application. Meditating on the Word is personal application. It’s thinking through what the Bible passage says and how it applies to me personally in the age in which I live. (This could be different to the people who received that part of the Scriptures originally.) Psalm 1:2 is a good insight into meditation. When you “delight” in God’s Word you will want to make it your own so that it will grip your heart, influence your conscience, capture your will and change your behaviour causing deeper trust in God’s Word and Promise to you.
Second, as God’s people we need to pray over the Bible. Next to meditation, praying over the passages of the Bible you read does good to your soul. There are many verses in the Psalms to read … but take the following as examples.
Ps 119:12 Praise be to you, O LORD, teach me your decrees.
Here the Psalmist pleads with God to teach him His Word. You can hear the Word, you can read the Word and you can discuss the Word … But God the Spirit needs to teach you God’s Word so that you know it experimentally! Consider:
Ps 25:4 Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; 5 guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.
Ps 86:11 Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.
Ps 143:10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.
Each one of these verses show us that the Psalmist is praying to God to “show, teach, guide and give” him God’s “ways, paths, truth and will” which are other ways of expressing a desire to follow God faithfully according to Hs Word. Such praying changes the heart to be intentional (undivided) so that you will revere God’s holy name in all areas and aspects of life. Praying this way coupled to meditation grabs God Word and lodges it in the heart so that when wisdom and guidance are needed and decisions made … the Word, already in the heart directs a Biblical response to whatever confronts you.
Third, as God’s people we need to treasure the Bible. Job went from being the “wealth magnet” … the world’s richest man, who lived in luxury, to living in total poverty and sickness with friends whose counsel was wrong. Yet he would say:
Job 23:12 “I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.”
He is saying the volume of his loss cannot be compared to the true wealth of God’s Word. He treasured … prized God’s Word. Jesus tells us something counter revolutionary compared to our materialistic and secular society.
Mt 6:19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Where are our real treasures? Heaven. Where do we learn about heaven, how to get there and what is heaven all about? The Bible teaches us this … therefore we need to treasure the Bible. Did you know that the Word of God is eternal? We will always have it as believers!
1Pe 1:25 the word of the Lord stands forever.
Isa 40:8 The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.
If the heart is filled with the “treasure” of God’s Word, we will more and more desire to be in the place of eternal treasure.
In every discipline there is a need to put into practice or action to achieve the desired result. Take a long distance runner as an example. You can have the best Nike Running Shoes; the coziest socks, shorts and running top. You can take all the additives to help with muscle strength and endurance … but unless you actually get out on the road and run you will not achieve the required intention of the running code. Similarly, you can have the Bible and commentaries explaining the Bible. You can have a quiet place and a note book and pen … but unless you use the Bible you will never achieved the Bible’s desire for you to grow in gospel maturity, knowledge and wisdom. The great challenge is to make time to use God’s Word and then to apply it to your soul.
Dear Lord God Almighty, please grant us your people a desire to use the Bible willingly, eagerly and intentionally. You have provided the material to prepare and shape the soul for holiness. Bless Your Word to our hearts. Amen.