How To Read God's Word
It is absolutely crucial that you commit serious time and heart to read Gods word. You need nothing less than revelation. This is the means that God uses to get it to you. The Bible is not just a book. It is the Logos; revelation of God. You must ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate the letters on the pages. In today’s society, newspapers have all but disappear.. reading has become a rare discipline, but this is Satan’s plan. Use your mind and intelligence.
I clearly remember when I was a young kid how my family and I would every day get on our knees and say the rosary. Never missed a day. It was part of a covenant my Dad made with Mary. This continued through my High School years. For a guy who was into being “cool” and partying this time became not only a contradiction to my lifestyle but an annoying burden to my “valuable plans”.
The Bible was not written for poetic inspiration or historical documentation. It is a divine composition brought together over generations of time by God’s Spirit using ordinary men for an extraordinary call into another world. In order for God to give you REVELATION He requires you at your fullest intensity rather than a casual consideration. Most “Christians” think their demand for answers puts God in a defensive posture. As if HE has to prove something to you. Quite the contrary. Unless you approach God’s Word with a desperate but believing disposition you will find God to be completely silent.
Many people think that the only way they will only understand the Bible is if someone else teaches it to them. But this is not true. Quite to the contrary. Only God’s Spirit can bring personally bring to light His Scriptures. As a 27 year old man, I can testify that what Jesus says is true today; “But the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things” John 14:26. And also John says “As for you, the anointing you received from him abides in you, and do not need anyone to teach you. This anointing is real, not counterfeit, and will teach you all things” 1 John 2 27. While we can all have knowledge about a subject, it is the only Holy Spirit that can actual bring us understanding and ultimately, revelation.
While you are reading and studying it is very important that you speak directly to Jesus and just ask Him to send His Holy Spirit to teach you, to open your eyes, to show you the significance of the Scripture. Our presumption is our biggest obstacle. Because we might be familiar with certain ideas, we assume that we understand them. But it is only when we realize and admit that we don’t, that He can show us far more than we ever imagined. -Joshua
The Importance of Vocabulary
Vocabulary. This is a highly valuable process. As I meditate I engage my mind to begin a word search to accurately describe what I am reading. How would my heart define what I am reading? What word would accurately release my spirit? I refuse to settle for typical and obvious words. For example, I could say that the sin of Adam and Eve was “terrible”, “horrible”, or “diabolical”. At another time, these words might be adequate. But this time when I ‘BRING (my) IT‘ I sit and contemplate the reactions I have seen over my many years of preaching the gospel to wicked men. I recall and remember the looks of so many faces and tone and content of so many words. Adam and Eve caused all this.
I think of my own sin. I think of the sin of those close to me. I think of what I have read or seen on TV. I search through the library of my mind for a “right” word that makes me. How do I individually conclude a judgment of that one act. My heart scans my experience like one of those spotlights searching the skies in World War II for enemy planes. This is crucial for me to find a release of my spirit, to find MY identity as a son who loves and shares the heart of the Father. So as I reflect on Adam and Eve’s choice some ten thousand years ago, over thousands of generations of man’s similar experience, I, Michael, settle on the words “sorely grieved” as my reaction to Genesis 3.
An Example of Bringing It:
Many times, the way I effectively draw from God’s Word is to break down the time barrier and put yourself with a very basic thinking back in the context of where you are reading. Don’t be religious. Be blunt. Cut to the quick. When reading the gospels always force yourself to consider the thought process of Jesus.
What do YOU want from the Bible?
You must be decisive in reading God’s Word. Don’t wander in your mind waiting for some “spiritual” thing to come to you. Make it happen! It’s like waking through a Forrest and not enjoying it because you’re just dead of mind and heart. So you go by a tree and just fall asleep. You don’t enjoy life. You don’t live. You have to implement desire. You have to make yourself be yourself. You have to tell yourself “I enjoy a stream and so I will sit by it and willfully engage my mind and heart to MEDITATE”. To THINK! To process thoughts that will help me become a deeper person and prepare words and attitudes for future contact with others. Analyze your mistakes and sin like when a captured soldier is interrogated so as to gain valuable information for the future. This is called learning. Jesus says “Learn from ME” (Mt.11:27).
It is like choosing one out of many rocks on the side of a lake to skip across the surface. Choose a rock. A line of conversation with the Lord that best suits your mood at the time. Force your emotions to engage but not control the direction of your time. Where would you like to go? Where would you like to be in one hour? Do you believe that God is on top of the exact thing you are right now concerned about? What would you like to resolve? What do you want to BRING? It’s like sitting down with a trail map and calculating your energy level, your expertise, your needs. It’s ok to take a short hike, but do so decisively. Not every mountain climbed has to be a “Fourteener”. Sometimes you can get more from a short hike than a long haul. It’s all about believing God then watching and learning in retrospect how His Holy Spirit actually fulfilled your hopes. Don’t lull or meander. “If you want it, GO GET IT”!
I remember after the rosary my Dad would get out his huge gold covered Bible that he bought in Jerusalem. My thoughts were “Oh brother here it comes. Time to read some irrelevant document”. How could this book that is written about ancient times and people have anything remotely relevant to my modern day rock and roll world?
Yet in some mysterious working of events that is way beyond my ability to articulate, those days of hearing and talking about the Scriptures came back to completely change my life. It was when my mother was dying of cancer and put a New Testament in a care package she sent with her delicious chocolate chip cookies.
I was a freshman at Central Michigan University on a football scholarship. My wicked ways had plunged me into a dark world. I never thought I could ever become SO lost. My nickname was “Crazy War” (from my last name and wild ways). To add to this time of depression, I lost my starting position as a fullback from a leg injury. Slowly, out of desperate hope that maybe God could change my life I began to read the Gospel of John when my buddies weren’t around. I’d put on my head phones, listen to Santana, and brought my “case” to God as I contemplated the words of Jesus. In a way my wild ways worked to great advantage because as I began this quest my spirit was NOT religious in any way. I was a violent man who wasn’t about to play “church” or act like a phony nice guy to be accepted by a Christian community.
When anyone thinks of studying the Bible, they think of what the Bible can teach them. They think of what they might be able to learn from studying the Bible. It has so much to give you. This, of course, is true. We are subject to the Bible, not the Bible to us. There are issues and times in our life when we search and need clarity. We may think we know the general truth concerning something, but are ignorant of the specifics of how to conform our lives to God’s Word. It is at these times when we must be sure to let the Word set our reality, rather than our own kind of presumption about what we think God wants.
The apostle Paul says “knowledge makes one proud” and will pass away (1 Cor.8:1),). Jesus makes it clear that one can have great knowledge of God yet be absolutely void of His Character (Jn.5:39). Sad to say this is the state of “Christians” today. Their knowledge of the Scriptures is dependent on what they hear from ministers, rather than from personal study. They find it very easy to ascertain “great” knowledge of the Scriptures and absolutely presume this to be their basis for “salvation”. Like the Pharisaical hypocrites of old they hold to a form of godliness while denying the undeniable revelation of the words of Jesus to die to self (2Tim.3:2-5, Jn.12:24-25). They remain void of individual development for the sake of conforming to the ways of a religious system.
I want to explain here how you must bring “yourself” to the Word. Millions read the Bible with a million different responses. So obviously, there is nothing inherent in the Bible that forces one to read it accurately or take away from it what God intends for you. It is entirely dependent on what you bring to it. You can either bring presumption that will leave you with nothing but head knowledge or you can bring humility that will give you revelation.
If you go out to buy a boat, knowing nothing about them, then walk into a marina with money in your pocket, you will undoubtedly create one of the worst days of your life. You may have a boat, but you have no knowledge of what you are doing and most likely have a disaster on your hands. Take it from me. I bought a sailboat to sail to Cuba and almost ended up at the bottom of an ocean. You get all giddy about the novelty of a new lifestyle, until you hit with the demanding realities involved. Likewise this is true for all things in the world. You must know what you want before you buy it. Jesus puts it this way “Calculate the cost…”Luke 14:26.
To learn God’s Word requires that you bring YOU to the table. This may sound crazy but in the guise of “community” religious conformity is the norm. Contrary to the Old Testament Jesus focuses on the INDIVIDUAL. Be yourself! God can only transform someone who IS someone. If you are trying to mimic an image of a Christian then you are not in the “abode” to access the power to be changed by the Source (Jn.15).
You must calculate the depths of a life time investment so you do not “buy a boat” that you have no heart to sail or that you can not sail because it is unsailable! I was sold a piece of junk because I did not apply due diligence in my approach. What I’m saying my friend is DO NOT BUY the cheap junk “Christianity” sold by the salesmen called “preachers”. Find out on your own what God says! As I developed the individual heart to how I wanted God I received the rich rewards of revelation from God Himself!
Although you are just another sinner in the generations of time, what determines what you come away with is whether you are BRINGIN’ IT. Are you trying to be a “good” person who reads the BIBLE or a transparent “scumbag” Gentile craving even bread crumbs from the Master’s table (Matt.15:27)? When I began to read that irrelevant “ancient document” that my Dad forced on me years before I was blown away how my eyes, hands and heart were opened to another world I never before then knew existed.
Could you actually become a sheep that hears the voice of the Shepherd. Could you hear God speaking His words through His Word to you? What are you bringing? What is your “hearing” capacity? Do you know what to look for in this “boat”? What do you want and what does God want for you? Are you willing to learn to navigate unknown waters? What speed? What will be your disposition? Are you ready for a steep learning curve? Revelation can crush you as well as lift you. Jesus promises‘a smoldering wick He will not extinguish” but you must “BRING” true humility and faith (Matt.12:20). You don’t want to bite off more than you can chew. You want to bite off something that you love to chew.
In other words, God is so immensely personal that He will selectively choose what to give you according to what you want to give Him. Can you be humble enough and wise enough to know what you want and what you need? So this quest to read, to study God’s Word depends as much, if not more, on you than it does on God. In a American TV show I once saw called Master Chef the competing cooks were given the opportunity to go into the most lavish storehouse and choose what they wanted to cook according to who they were and what they knew. It was a very selective and demanding choice. They had to know both their expertise and their boundaries. Then, they were expected to make the most of their choice. It all depended on them BRINGIN “IT”. What is this IT? Do you have IT? If not, will you find IT?
Faith is the fuel. The Word of God is a Jet. He who has both can get in, an go to dimensions beyond the superficial into the spectacular.
It is so easy to throw everything on God. It is so lazy. It is so generic and impersonal. It is unbelief. There is no personal faith in such thinking. “Well, God, what do you want for me? I just don’t know.” Such a cop out. “Please make ME …give ME…move ME…lead ME…help ME”. It can sound so humble when in reality it is like nothing more than a spoiled selfish brat expecting a rich father to eliminate any individual participation in a vision to accomplish a larger vision than self-gratification. Jesus says, “Come to Me” and “GO into the world”. Individual accountability for our FREE WILL can not be overemphasized! God holds us accountable to DO what He has already revealed. He promises to provide WHEN we do it.
When you come to buy this “boat” this “Salesman” does not see you as a dollar bill. When you separate yourself from others God immediately responds to you where ever you are in life as an INDIVIDUAL. He deals with you as not generic, common or one of a thousand or a million. You have a name and a face and a heart. You have a voice and a tone and a gesture and a look. You have an individual method for inspiration and a unique thought process for humor. Yet when you face God things are no longer about YOU but about the marvel of this ONE Who would so deal with you. As Jesus says the more you lose yourself in Him the more you find your destiny in Him (Jn.12:25).
Will you bring this kind of thinking to the table of fellowship with God as you read His Word? You must not leave your personality at the doorstep of the Bible and read it as “the irrelevant ancient document”. You must learn to study so as to become both a scholar and a son. To learn that relationship preempts knowledge and that to be like Him you must admit there is nothing in you like Him. It all depends on what you bring. It all depends on the one thing you have that no one else has “IT”. It’s not about what God will give to you, for He has given everything and will give anything. It is about what you will bring to God.