Enjoying the Journey
Yes, that’s what I said. Stop it. Stop reading the Bible.
It is not that the Bible should not be read, rather, it is that too often we substitute Bible reading for the greater work. Reading Scripture passages is just the entry point! Our communication with God must be much more than that.
American Christianity has too often portrayed that following a system of Bible reading is the essence of walking with God. This easily creates “a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof” (2 Timothy 3:5). Merely reading the Bible will not take you beyond a surface understanding, and it will not allow the truth to get beneath the surface of your life. We must go more deeply into God’s Word and allow it to go more deeply into us.
The Bible should not be read like we would read the newspaper, a magazine, or a good book. Scripture should be approached as a living thing – for it is (Hebrews 4:12)! Even more, it is the meeting place for a conversation with a living God.
I have been studying the life of Ezra recently. It is said that he “was a ready scribe in the law of Moses” (Ezra 7:6). Yet when the Lord goes on to explain what set Ezra apart He said, “For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments” (Ezra 7:10). Ezra did not just view Scripture as “the law of Moses” – he approached it as “the law of the LORD.”
Our goal is not just to know what was written, or when, or why, or who the human penman happened to be. The desire of every sincere believer must be to know the God of the Bible!
We must get beyond Bible reading to Bible meditation. David was not a man who merely read the law of Moses. I’m sure he did that, but he didn’t stop there. He wrote that the blessed man was the man whose “delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night” (Psalm 1:2). You cannot read all day, but you can meditate all day. Reading may be a good starting point, but it cannot be the stopping point.
We must get beyond Bible reading to holy conversation. The Word of God should lead us to prayer. As God speaks to us we should desire to talk to Him about what He is saying! Prayer should be our first response to God’s revelation. Talk to the Author and you will learn much more about His Book. Turn each passage into a two-way communication with the God of the Bible. Let the Word lead you to worship today and you will find that the Bible comes alive in your own heart.
We must get beyond Bible reading to personal application. Bible reading can never substitute for a life of obedience. “Knowledge puffeth up” (1 Corinthians 8:1). How easy it is to learn things and miss God! One may have a head full of facts but a heart empty of God’s presence. If you want the Word to be real in your life then you must move from being a hearer to being a doer (James 1:22).
To be sure, you cannot meditate, pray, and obey the Word of God if you never read it! But stop reading the Bible like it is a book to finish. Stop reading the Bible like it is another assignment to fulfill. Stop reading the Bible like knowledge is the goal. Begin to get acquainted with the God of the Word.
Walk through that great Psalm of the Scriptures, Psalm 119. The Holy Spirit uses 176 verses to tell us that we are to do more than read the truth. We are to learn it, love it, live it. By God’s grace today let’s do more than just read the Bible.