IX. Reading God’s Word
Under the heading ‘Observation’ it was mentioned that this is to ‘take notice of the scripture s they really are impartially and intensely.’ Bible is the revelation of God’s mind to us. And God Himself is the best interpreter of the scripture. The Spirit of God who breathed out the scripture is the one who is able to illuminate our minds concerning the truth of the Word.
The Word of God is not only miraculously revealed (1 Cor.2.9-12) and miraculously inspired 91 Cor.2.13) but can be understood only by the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor.2.14-16). This is the miracle of illumination, the divine process whereby God causes the written revelation, the Bible, to be understood by the human heart. We need to pray: ‘open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from your law’ (Ps.119.18).
The Study Edition of the Open Bible gives 8 strategies on how to read the word of God. (Pages 564-565).
Read the Bible prayerfully Read the Bible thoughtfully Read the Bible carefully Read the Bible repeatedly Read the Bible extensively Read the Bible regularly Read the Bible faithfully Read the Bible obediently
In their book: “Living by the Book” authors Howard and William Hendricks adds a few more:
Read patiently Read selectively Read imaginatively Read meditatively Read purposefully Read acquisitively Read telescopically.
X. Memorize and Meditate
We also need to memorize the Word of God. This helps us especially in times when the Bible is not readily available to gain insights into the meaning of the Word. When we memorize scripture we can also meditate on it. Both these exercises become a process of engrafting the word into our lives.
The Book of Proverbs gives many steps to understand the word. Prov.2.1-11.
Receive the word. (v.1) The Word of God is living and powerful. We should accept it as such. Hide the word in the heart (v.1) The psalmist says: Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee (Ps.119.11). This is the process of memorization where our mind is involved. One person said: ‘memorization is to your mind what exercise is to your muscles’. In the beginning it may seem difficult and uninteresting. It requires mental effort and valuable time: and you also find many excuses not to do I You may also feel that just reading and studying the scripture will be enough. But the more you memorize the more you will increase your capacity to memorize.
God gives blessing to those who read His word (Rev.1.3). We have also rewards in studying the word (2 Tim.2.15). But God’s guarantee of personal success is to those who meditate on His word day and night (Josh.1.8).
Meditation is communing with the Lord through His word, and memorization is the pre-requisite to this. This is not a mechanical but meaningful exercise. As you memorize and meditate remember these biblical presuppositions:
The Word is inspired by God (2 Pet.1.21) It is profitable for instruction (2 Tim.3.16-17) God wants me to understand his word (2 Tim.2.15) & he will speak to me (Heb.2.1) The Spirit of God Himself is our teacher (Jn.16.13) The word is deep and I cannot exhaust the riches of this (Rom.11.33) His thoughts are always higher than mine (Isa.55.8-9) There is the possibility of my bringing worldly ideas into the word (Col.2.8)
Meditation has it rewards. The following promises to those who meditate the word may be noted:
We will enjoy success (Jos.1.8) Whatever we will do will prosper (Ps.1.2-3) We will be wiser than our enemies, & teachers (Ps.119.97-100) We will be filled with joy (Ps.63.5-6) Our success will be obvious to all (1 Tim.4.15) We will have victory over sin (Ps.119.9,11) We will be able to give wise counsel (Prov.22.17, 18, 21).
Apply the heart to understanding (v.2) Here we ask key questions and do word studies etc. Cry for discernment (v.3) Our emotions are involved here. We meditate and pray. Discretion shall preserve thee (v.11) This happens when we finally obey the word.
The earlier exercises are of no value without obedience. Obedience of the word is enjoined on us in all situations. This is the only way a child of God can please the Lord. Obedience to the Word brings many blessings to the believer. The following may be specially noted.
We shall be a special treasure to God Ex.19.5 We shall avoid the evil way Ps.119.101 We shall be free from fear and anxiety Prov.1.33 We will bear fruit unto God Mt.13.23 We will enjoy the presence of God Jn.14.23 We will have assurance of salvation 1 Jn.2.3 We will anticipate His coming Rev.22.7