God’s words revive the soul, grant wisdom, rejoices the heart, enlighten the eyes, and endure forever (Psalm 19:7-9).
More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb (Psalm 19:10).
I’ve recently been made aware of the dangers of reading God’s Word for knowledge only. “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up” (1 Corinthians 8:1). Paul is clear that knowledge without love leaves us with “nothing” (13:2).
Once this dawned on me, it became even more clear how the past few weeks I have fallen into this place. I recalled a past truth learned: reading the Bible should do more than create a standard for godly living — although that is one of its purposes, I believe — it should be something that transform your heart. During the past few weeks I confess I have been very self-absorbed, tense, and stressed… but I prayed, and I studied. But I always felt the practices were missing the intimacy that has always been characteristic of my relationship with Jesus. Because I was only reading it for head knowledge, not for heart change. If I was allowing the Bible to do the latter, if my soul was in a place to receive that, it would have transformed my stress to peace, my tension to rest.
So, I stumbled upon an article that was more than applicable. Thanks, God.
It points out three encouragements for studying God’s Word.
Stay amazed at grace. I never want to be dulled to the Bible. Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning in information. Not just with media, but even in the realm of the Christian world. Sermons, articles, blogs, more social media. It’s so much that it has the potential to dull my sensitivity if I’m not careful. Jonathan Parnell said this,
“All this information, all the effortless access to truth about God, freezes over our sense of miracle.”
Stay dependent on God. “Prayer is our participation in the fellowship God has accomplished.” God gave us the Bible so that we might have him, and we meet him when we offer his truth and our heart to him in prayer. I sometimes forget about the power of prayer, and what it means. Prayer is the closest I can come to my Heavenly Father. The danger in lacking a solid prayer life is that the doctrines and truth we study will cause some pride buildup in us. Parnell also states,
“You must pause and pray, for only prayer can transform information into intimacy.”
Stay focused on Jesus. Persistently look for Jesus. Every time I read my Bible, I desire eyes to see someone to enjoy in a new or fresh way. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Parnell, again,
“The anchor that can keep our hearts steady amid all the studying is the resolve that Jesus must be tasted and treasured by us and through us.”
Miracle, pause, treasure. Yes.