The Purpose Of Reading The Bible

Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.
–Luke 11:28

In our ABCs of making God’s Word central in your life, we have reached “C”: “Concentrate on smaller sections of the Bible.” I love the story about the woman who approached her pastor and said, “Pastor, I want you to know I have been through the Bible fifty times in my life.” The pastor replied, “That is great, but how many times has the Bible been through you?”

Instead of rushing through your daily reading, I find it is better to concentrate on smaller sections of the Bible so God’s Word can truly speak to you. As Madame Guyon wrote, “If you read [the Bible] quickly, it will benefit you little. You will be like a bee that merely skims the surface of a flower. Instead, in this new way of reading with prayer, you must become as the bee who penetrates into the depths of the flower. You plunge deeply within to remove its deepest nectar.”

And that leads to “D”: “Determine to listen to and follow God’s commands.” Remember, the purpose of reading the Bible is not information; it is transformation. So when you finish reading a passage, first ask yourself, “What timeless truth does this passage teach me about God or about myself?” Then ask, “What am I going to do differently as a result of this truth?”

For example, last week, we looked at Ephesians 5:25: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” Now, the timeless truth in that passage is we are to love our wives with the same sacrificial love with which Christ loves us. But if I stop there, I have not allowed the Bible to do its transforming work. I ought to ask, “What am I going to do differently because of that truth? How am I going to love my wife in a selfless, sacrificial way?” Maybe it means I spend a Saturday at the mall with her instead of watching a game on television. That is the purpose of Scripture–not information but transformation.

John Stott said, “If we come to Scripture with our minds made up, expecting to hear from it only an echo of our own thoughts and never the thunderclap of God’s, then indeed he will not speak to us and we shall only be confirmed in our own prejudices. We must allow the Word of God to confront us, to disturb our security, to undermine our complacency and to overthrow our patterns of thought and behavior.” That is the radical transformation God wants in your life: the Spirit of God using the Word of God to transform you into the image of God.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The ABCs Of Spiritual Hygiene” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2011.

Jeanne Guyon, “Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ,” Library of Spiritual Classics, vol. 2 (Sargent, GA: SeedSowers, 1981), 8; John Stott, “Culture and the Bible,” InterVarsity, https://ism.intervarsity.org/resource/culture-and-bible.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.

 

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