By Xiao Xiao, France
Speaking of reading, I trust every Christian is familiar with it, because it has been an indispensable thing for us to do every day since we started believing in the Lord. However, many Christians have had this kind of experience: Sometimes, when we are reading the Bible, we feel God is communicating with us, as if He has come before us, face-to-face, and we also feel very moved in our spirits; but sometimes we feel our reading the Bible is dry and barren, and that we have no enlightenment from the Holy Spirit and no spiritual enjoyment. Why are there two entirely different states in reading the Bible? In fact, this is all caused by our not grasping principles. If we want to receive light when reading the Bible every day, we need to grasp the following three principles, and then we can easily become intimate with the Lord.
1. Quiet our hearts before God.
God’s words say, “Quieting your heart before God is one of the most crucial steps for entering into God’s words…. Only after they are able to be at peace before God can people be touched by the Holy Spirit, and enlightened and illuminated by the Holy Spirit, only then are they able to truly commune with God, and able to grasp God’s will and the guidance of the Holy Spirit….” We can see from God’s words that if we want to gain God’s enlightenment and illumination in reading the Bible, the most fundamental thing is to keep our hearts at peace before God. As a matter of fact, the reason why many times we have no illumination while reading the Bible is because our hearts are possessed by lots of things. For example, when we are reading the Bible, our hearts are still thinking about family or work, which causes us to be unable to quiet our hearts, so we cannot be touched or enlightened by God. So, before we read the Bible, we’d better put aside the people, things, and matters that disturb our minds, pray to God, and quiet our hearts before Him. Reading the Bible in this way makes it easy to receive God’s guidance and leadership.
2. Choose appropriate scriptures in connection with our difficulties and problems.
Many Christians have fallen into a pitfall: When reading the Bible, they read the passages one by one in sequence, or they just flick through the Bible and read what they see. As a result, they cannot achieve a good outcome. Just as when a patient needs treatment, he should not take whatever kind of pills he wants, but instead, he should know his disease and then take the proper medication for it; only in this way can he get well. Reading the Bible should be done in the same way. We should read appropriate scriptures according to our practical problems, and this is the only way to achieve results. For example, if we have no patience or tolerance for our family in daily life and often have a temper tantrum, then we can read scriptures pertaining to how people can treat others with love, patience and tolerance; if we encounter persecution and slander and become weak in the process of spreading the gospel, then we should read scriptures relating to how to care for God’s will and how to have. Only in this manner can we practically solve our problems and gain a closer relationship with the Lord.
3. Do not read more than you can digest but pay attention to pondering.
Often times we think that those who read the Bible over many times and know it by heart can please God, and we even envy those who learn much about it. This causes us to focus on how many pieces we read or to memorize famous chapters and verses when reading the scriptures. But, if we ponder carefully, we will find that, the more we pay attention to this, the more estranged the relationship between us and God becomes, and the more we realize that aside from memorizing these scriptures, we still have not obtained real spiritual nourishment. In reality, we all know that we cannot understand the inner meaning of the scriptures from a literal perspective, and that only by pondering them and obtaining the enlightenment and guidance of the Holy Spirit can we understand their true meaning. If we are merely concerned with the words of the Bible but do not ponder their true meaning, then they are only doctrines for us regardless of how many we read them. And if we use them to flaunt ourselves, then it will make God detest us.
Recalling two thousand years ago, the Pharisees were familiar with the Scripture, and even wrote scriptures on the tassels of their garments, but they only used them to show off, and absolutely did not implement them into their actual practice. When thecame to do His work, they saw that the Lord Jesus’ words had authority and power and were not something that an ordinary person could say. However, not only did they not have a sliver of a seeking heart, but they even condemned the Lord Jesus based on the literal meaning of the Bible and joined forces with the Roman government to crucify Him. It can be seen that no matter how much we read and memorize the scriptures, it cannot bring us real benefits, and that only by pondering over the scriptures can we know their inner meaning, thereby knowing God and being unlikely to do things that resist God. Just as 2 Corinthians 3:6 says, “For the letter kills, but the spirit gives life.”
The above are the three principles of reading the Bible. As long as we read the scriptures according to them, our difficulties and questions will be resolved, we will gradually begin to achieve growth in our spiritual life, and our relationship with the Lord will become ever closer.
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