Who’s there? Jesus. Can I come in? This is no joke. How often does Jesus knock on our heart’s door, yet we ignore the invitation or just don’t hear Him? One of the reasons we don’t hear is because we don’t know His voice. The only way we will distinguish Jesus’ voice from all the others that bombard us daily is to know it through His Word. We have to get into the Word and read it; dare I say – not just read it but even study it.
For the last several weeks, my small group has been in the study of “Open Your Bible” by Raechel Myers and Amanda Bible Williams. To tell you the truth, I didn’t really get into this study. I am an avid Bible reader. I do it daily. It’s not that I lack the desire. I asked many years ago to have a hunger and thirst for Jesus. And since that time, I don’t think I have missed a morning time with His Word.
The study was really geared toward those who don’t read their Bibles. It was really good for that. The study shared how relevant the Bible is for here and now. It was Open, Approach, Engage, Apply, Abide and Live in the truth – even Share it with others. This is the formula for knowing God and knowing Jesus’ voice through the Holy Spirit.
To think there are millions who do not have access to God’s word is rather astonishing to me since I have many Bibles lying around. Yet, there are countries full of people who would give everything they have to just have one copy or even just a section. I read about believers in a closed nation who would receive one copy and would tear it apart so that it could be shared with others. They would swap books of the Bible with one another so that they could memorize each section. Yes, not just read it, but put it in their heart’s memory – they hid it in their hearts like it says to do! Amazing, isn’t it? And we in America have to have a study to “open our Bibles.” It’s like we have to be coerced to open God’s word. It’s such a challenge for us to spend time with God in His Word.
As I said, I don’t have a problem with reading it; I have a problem studying it. There are layers upon layers of truth within those pages. We can’t know it all in just one reading. It will take us through eternity to comprehend all that is contained inside. I can read it all day long, but I have to be able to understand what it says and apply its truth to my life. The understanding is a problem. There was a time when I would get into Paul’s letters and be completely puzzled by his words. I didn’t understand half the stuff I read in it. He was a deep thinker and wrote that way. But over time, God has opened my eyes to Paul’s writings. I finally can comprehend what I read because of the Holy Spirit’s help.
Priscilla Shirer’s simulcast was this past Saturday. In one of the sections, she went over how to study the Bible. She called it the 5 P’s of Bible study. She said it is one of the main ways we hear from God. God speaks through His Word. The first P is position. I don’t know if she started with prayer as the first position, but that is the most important aspect before opening the Bible. Ask for eyes to be open, ears ready to hear and a heart that is obedient to what is read.
Position ourselves spiritually ready to hear from God. Anticipate and expect to hear from Him. Pour over the passage and paraphrase what you read; what are the major points; what’s the context. Press into what was said and why – what’s going on around the text. Pull out the spiritual principles. What is God’s character in that passage – what is He saying through it? Pose the question – how is the passage speaking to me – am I doing what it says? And lastly, plan obedience. It does no good, unless I apply what I read – live it out as the authors stated from “Open Your Bible.”
Their last chapter was “close your Bible.” We have to go out, and do what it says. James, the half-brother of Jesus wrote – a faith that does not work is dead (my paraphrase). So the challenge isn’t reading, but studying and applying what I read. It’s relevant for here and now. It isn’t an ancient work or history lesson. It’s living and breathing. It’s God’s voice from Genesis to Revelation. Jesus is the subject from one page to the next. Old Testament is the set up for Jesus. The New Testament is His life and work and what’s to come. In every page, we hear His voice speaking. Are we ready to listen and do what He says? He’s knocking. Open the door and let Him in. Join me in studying His Word and share what you learn.
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NLT)