“Deal bountifully with your servant, that I may live and keep your word. Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law. I am a sojourner on the earth; hide not your commandments from me! My soul is consumed with longing for your rules at all times. You rebuke the insolent, accursed ones, who wander from your commandments. Take away from me scorn and contempt, for I have kept your testimonies. Even though princes sit plotting against me, your servant will meditate on your statutes. Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors.” – Psalm 119: 17-24.
Let’s look at an all too common scenario. Pete accepts Jesus as his personal Savior. He quickly comes to the conclusion that if he wants to grow he has to read his Bible regularly. He downloads the read the Bible in a year app on his phone. Pete tears through the Gospels, enjoys the drama of Genesis, the wisdom of Proverbs. But soon he also runs into deeper books like Romans and Hebrews as well as the very confusing Leviticus. His interest starts to dissipate just a little. And then a little more. It’s so easy to drop reading the Bible down the list of priorities just a little bit. There are simply too many things going on. Psalm 119:18 tells us “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.” There are wonderful things to be seen in the Word of God that will transform you deeply if you really see them and treasure them in you. But only if you read it and then act on what you learned.
Let me give you the bottom line. If you take nothing else from this devotional, my prayer is that this will be it: It is not important that you master the Bible as much as you are mastered by the Bible. Do you see the difference? Just reading the Bible, or even memorizing key scripture, while beneficial, is not as important as what you do with the information. Simply reading the Bible for information is not enough if we want it to have an impact on our lives. “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.” (James 1:22-24)
The Bible is full of verses that contain some kind of direction from God on how we can change our lives for the better and open up to His transformation in our lives. The Bible is applicable to situations we go through on a day to day basis, from dealing with stress to loving those around us. “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) It’s a huge temptation to only read the Bible with the purpose of gaining more knowledge. And while there’s real value in that, you are missing the point if you never once sit down and read it with the intent to let it guide you to change something in your life. “So Jesus said to those Jews who had believed in Him, If you abide in My word [hold fast to My teachings and live in accordance with them], you are truly My disciples. And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32 (AMP)
The words in the Bible can dramatically change your life and heal any hurt, habit or hangup. When we go to the Word of God, we should go with the understanding that we are going to study and apply whatever we read to our own life. It takes time to study the Word of God and understand it, but we will get out of it what we put into it. It’s up to us how much we want to understand God’s Word.
One final, somewhat unconnected thought on reading the Bible. Some people look at the Bible like God’s version of Apple’s “Terms and Conditions” agreement. That’s where Apple dictates what you can or can’t do. The Bible doesn’t lay out before us God’s terms and conditions, where failure to adhere to one clause in the middle of page 176 will cause a breach in the relationship and banishment from God’s kingdom and grace. It outlines the path to God and how we can have a relationship with Our Lord and Savior.
The Bible is not just words, but God’s words at your fingertips. Reading the Bible enables you to hear from the God of the universe, the very One who created us and died for our sins. Not to study it more deeply means not knowing who God really is.
- What do you think is the best way to read the Bible? Why?
- Read Matthew 4:4, 1 Corinthians 10:11-12, and Hebrews 2:1: What do these verses mean to you?
- Read Ezekiel 36:26-28: What does God promise in these verses?
- Is there a passage that encourages you? How? Is there a passage that inspires you? Is there a passage that challenges you to change? How does it challenge you?
- Make a commitment to study your Bible regularly.