A young lady was given a book as a gift. She found it uninteresting and so discarded it on a bookshelf. In time, however, she was introduced to a charming young man named H.W. Wood at a social function. She mentioned during the conversation she had a book at home written by H.W. Wood. The man unexpectedly responded that he had written it. When the young lady returned home, she 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 (Source unknown). Do you see the Bible as a dull book? Read with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and it will draw you to Jesus. It’s His message of encouragement to sustain you. Make this your experience if it isn’t already.
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 occur?
We are blessed, It gives us a heart of praise, A person is empowered to live a pure life, Brings delight, We are to read it with spiritually open eyes, It preserves our life, It brings understanding, Good judgment, Provides strength, It shows us His unfailing love, His truth, It brings freedom, Is deserving of our love, It brings comfort and hope, It is trustworthy and wonderful, Lasts forever, Is useful for guidance, A Place of refuge, A shield, Brings peace.
There is no other book like it!
- During my early days of ministry, I admired a highly respected Senior Pastor moving 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 realised that we too could hear from God, primarily through His Word, the Bible. What a delight!
- A couple of surveys I have come across indicate that when school teachers and pastors study for higher education, they generally become less effective in their tasks. Don’t swap devotional reading of Scripture for what appeals to the intellect. We do need, however, Bible scholars with divine sanctified intelligence. What a gift they are from God as they draw people to Jesus.
- The Jews believed in oral tradition and memorised whole chunks of Scripture. As a child, I’m so glad that I, too, was taught to memorise Scripture. Over the years, I still draw upon it for spiritual nourishment and spiritual warfare’.
- George Muller (1805 – 1898), that amazing 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 unknown). He did that by reading the Bible, mixed with the prayer of faith. No wonder he saw the miraculous hand of God at work. The separate article on Meditation expands this approach. Develop that discipline of reading God’s word before your tasks of the day take over and distract you.
- Especially for those who disciple others, we must live in the Word as Joshua did (Josh 1:8). Then look for opportunities to teach the Word at every opportunity.
- When Satan confronted Jesus, Jesus overcame him 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 in the index at the front of the Bible. After a few years, I have then read the Bible from cover to cover. This way, you get the whole counsel of God, not just your favourite themes. 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 helpful to clarify the lessons gained from the reading and for reflection and encouragement at a later stage. Writing down your thoughts intensifies the lesson, and you are more likely to remember it.
- If you have a variety of translations available, then it is helpful to read various ones for fresh insights.
- Don’t get too ‘professional’ in sharing God’s Word with others. I like Henri Nouwen’s approach to living for Christ out of our weakness. 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.’ As we share with others how God’s Word works in our own life, it keeps us humble.
- Madam Guyon* (1648-1717) 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, we are 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
(This is an extremely effective method for teaching people how to read the Word).
100 Days in the Secret Place, by Gene Edward*
Irresistible, by Andy Stanley