Today, far too many people are waiting for a voice from heaven or looking to the sky for some cloud-formed message or listening late at night for the whisper of God. God doesn’t usually speak to us in those ways. He talks to us His Word. His message to us today is this: “Read My Word. It’s all there.”
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We as followers of Christ need to cultivate skills for handling the Word of God responsibly and accurately. The Bible is not a code book reserved for the most advanced scholars. It doesn’t contain secret messages hidden on the page. God’s Word was written for ordinary people-like you and me-to help us understand He will and walk in his ways.
Just as a knowledge of the ingredients is a prerequisite for making a delicious meal, a careful reading of the Scriptures is required for a proper understanding.
When you begin to treasure God’s Word in your heart, you will find that light penetrates the darkness of your surroundings. You will be given a shield against the dangers around you as a result of the memorized Word. God’s Word sealed on your lips will rescue you from despair. Memorizing Scripture will turn discouragement into encouragement. As you hear, read, and study God’s Word, there are certain verses you’ll want to memorize. I’ve known people who had hundreds of verses of Scripture memorized. Without exception, when I ask, “How did you do that?” they answer, “One verse at a time.” First you read the verse repeatedly. You may choose to write it on a card and then take that card with you. You can put it next to your computer screen or on the visor of your car. You can post it on the refrigerator in your kitchen or by the sink so you can memorize while you do dishes.
The Bible is not a conglomeration of mysterious and convoluted words strung together; it’s a book filled with sentences you can read. And from those sentences and paragraphs you can learn how to live differently than you’ve lived before. You can learn how to handle those who are difficult to be around. You can learn how to endure a divorce without being eaten up with bitterness or scarred by what led to that painful decision. You can be guided and strengthened through suffering. You can be stabilized when you get the report from the MRI. The Bible will strengthen you because you have been hearing it and read it for yourself.
A Bible that’s doing its job becomes well worn and well marked. Its pages begin to fray, just like a favorite family cookbook. The more we study God’s Word, the better acquainted with it become. And once we’ve learned how to dig into it ourselves, we will be able to teach others how to do the same.
The Bible wasn’t given simply to satisfy idle curiosity. The Bible wasn’t written so clergy would have something to say on Sundays. The Bible has been preserved to transform the lives of people like you and me. Never forget that!
Without sufficient and regular biblical nutrition, our inner lives begin to suffer the consequences. Our souls long to be fed, nourished, and energized by the Scriptures on a regular basis. When we fail to set aside time to digest healthy spiritual food, it isn’t long before the consequences start to kick in . . . and it’s not a pretty sight. We start to operate out of the flesh rather than under the control of God’s Spirit. We become shallow and selfish, more demanding, and less gentle. We react impatiently, rashly, and angrily. These are tell-tale signs of inner malnutrition.
The study of God’s Word is for everyone. While there is a specific role for the pastor-teacher, God doesn’t limit the explanation of His Word to certain specialists. Rather, God’s Word is to be learned, applied, obeyed, and passed on and on and on. Everyday people, including parents who teach their kids, are all part of His plan. Searching the Scriptures isn’t restricted to any specialized group-the Scriptures are accessible to anyone and everyone.