The Glory of the Bible
The Bible is without question the most incredible and amazing book ever written. When you take a Bible in your hands, you hold the most tangible and precious object of the Christian faith. Through studying the teachings contained in the Bible one can come to know and have a personal relationship with the God who is the creator of the Heavens and the Earth.
We must also understand that whether you are a Christian, or simply want to know more about Christianity, everything you come to believe needs to be based on the Bible. There is such a thing as good theology and bad theology. Good theology leads to believing the right things about God. Bad theology leads to believing the wrong things about God. How then does one ascertain whether or not your theology is good or if your theology is bad?
I believe the best place to start is to read the Bible for yourself, and as you read to ask God to reveal to your heart the meaning of what you are reading. The Bible declares in 2 Peter 1:20-21, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” The same God who inspired the men, who wrote the pages of the Bible, is still able to move on our hearts today and help us understand the meaning contained therein. Our reading of the Bible needs to be a careful and methodical daily practice. The Bible says in Psalms 1:2, that we should “Delight in the law of the Lord, and in His law meditate day and night.” The Bible also says in 2 Timothy 2:15, “Study to show yourself approved unto God, a worker that doesn’t need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
I further believe that we should also take the time to compare what we believe the Bible is saying to the thoughts of other mature believers. All through the Bible there seems to be a common theme of God’s people being assisted in their faith by their fellowship with other believers. 1 Chronicles 12:32 says, “The sons of Issachar had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do.” In this case, apparently there were two hundred men whose years of walking with God gave them the wisdom needed to know what God wanted them to do. In Nehemiah 8:8 we are told that as Nehemiah read the word of God to the people, there were twelve men (their names are even listed) who helped give the sense and understanding of what Nehemiah was reading. In Ezra 7:10 the Bible says that, “Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach statues, and ordinances in Israel.”
When I first became a Christian (almost forty-five years ago) I was handed a Bible. I swallowed hard as I flipped through it and I thought to myself, “How could anyone ever read all of this … much less come to an understanding of it?” I wasn’t sure where to even start.
I really feel you have to first just get past the sheer volume of the Bible, and then discipline yourself to just pick it up and start reading it, from Genesis to Revelation. As you read, the next step is to begin meditating on the Bible. In other words, as certain portions of scripture pop out at you, go back and read those verses over and over again. As you read, try to read slowly and really reflect on what you are reading.
Look at Psalm 119:11 for instance, “Your word have I hid in my heart so that I won’t sin against You.”
- Personalize a passage of scripture as you read it (Lord I want to hide your word in my heart today) and pray about it.
- With each recitation, emphasize a different word in the verse. (YOUR word have I hid, Your WORD have I hid, Your word HAVE I hid, Your word have “I” hid, Your word have I HID).
- Read and be silent and listen. (This takes patience, and time to develop)
- Dwell on the verse and ask yourself if you are living what the verse is saying.
- Write out the verse and ask God to help you live the verse as you write it.
- Share what you have learned from a verse with someone else.
Meditating on the Bible is like lifting weights in a weight room. The more you exercise yourself, the stronger you will become at following through and living out the precepts of God’s ways.
As you continue to read the Bible, you should also have a concordance. In a concordance you can research and read every time a particular word is used in the Bible. Reading each use of a certain word helps you to understand all that the Bible has to say about a particular subject.
Finally, God’s word is very powerful. In Hebrews 4:12 the bible says, “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” In Isaiah 55:11 the Bible says, “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”
Pastor J. Stephen Jordan