Reading God’s Word is something I have struggled with in the past (and still do struggle with). A little while back, I wrote down some short points which were impressed on me as important to remember as we seek to read and study the Bible. They were first and foremost for my own benefit – some short reminders for the next time that I struggled with it, but I thought that I would also share them (edited somewhat) on my blog, with the hope that they might be of help to others also.
1. Approach God’s Word with prayer. Pause before entering into His sacred book and look to Him for guidance and illumination. Pray that He will guide and teach you as you read His Word. So often our spirits are dull of understanding; pray for quickening that you might learn what He would show you.
I cannot stress this first point enough. It is too easy to approach God’s Word without due preparation – to rush into it quickly (and rush through it just as quickly). Yet, His Word should not be approached lightly.
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” James 1:5
“Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. . . . Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: . . . Teach me, O Lord the way of thy statutes; . . . Incline my heart unto thy testimonies.” (Psalm 119:18, 27, 33, 36)
2. Free your mind from all other matters. This is hard to accomplish, yes. But we ought not to be thinking of the day ahead with its worries and concerns when we come to read God’s Word. Lay those at His feet in prayer and fix your thoughts on the Word before you.
It is the Book of all books; through it God speaks. If we were to go into the presence of the queen, we would not be thinking of anything else; so it ought to be the case when we come to hear the King of Kings.
“My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.” (Psalm 57:7)
3. Come ready to hear God speaking to you through His Word. “Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth” ought to be the attitude of your heart. We ought to long to hear the Lord and thus we ought to come to His Word with our heart ‘listening’ for His word to us.
4. Come expecting to be fed. “Open thy mouth, and I will fill it.” The Lord will not disappoint those who come to Him in trustful
expectation of sustenance from His Word.
“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” (Matthew 5:6)
5. Come with a heart made clean in the blood of the Lord Jesus. For, how can we approach the holy God still in our sins? Yes, at the time of our salvation we are forgiven all our sins, both past and future, but this does not eliminate the need for continual repentance, a coming daily to be washed anew in the fountain of Christ’s blood. We ought daily to seek Christ’s forgiveness for our sins – if we come to God’s Word with a sin unrepented of, we cannot expect blessing.
“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:32)
6. Hold onto what you learn in God’s Word. Oh, read carefully and think deeply on what you read; if possible write down what you feel you are being taught from God’s Word. And don’t put it away and forget about it ‘til next time’, but instead try to dwell on it and live according to it throughout your day.
“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.” (Hebrews 2:1)
I would add one final point, and that is, do not give up if reading is difficult. Persevere prayingly. The Lord will bless those who earnestly seek to read His Word – not a cursory reading, but a deep, serious reading and meditating on it.