Sunday, July 28, 2013

On Bible Reading

I believe Bible reading to be essential to the Christian life--essential to keeping a Christian healthy, discerning, and well-grounded. It can be used to guard your heart and mind and prevent one from falling into error, but, it can also be used to correct and discipline. And of course it is a must for encouragement and hope. To be joyful, to have hope, one MUST KNOW the God of the Bible and His promises. If you don't know his promises, if you don't know him, then how can one truly live life with hope?

The Bible is a spiritual book, and it takes a spiritual reader. Perhaps that is a clue as to why some reject it so completely and are so biased against it. For a Christian to reject it, on the other hand, leads to some very thought-provoking questions. Some of these questions are raised by Annette in her post today. I think she is right that there are Christians who prefer to make and shape God--the "Christian God" of course--into their own liking. They would rather come to know God outside of the Bible than within its holy pages. Perhaps their idea of God comes from a blending of what they've heard through the years, what they've read through the years, what they want to believe, what is comfortable for them. But God is not who we make Him to be, He is not ours to make or unmake. He is not ours to edit. He is the Creator. He made us. Not the other way around. People feel free to play around with God, to be the ultimate judge.

God can be known; he wants to be known. That is why He revealed Himself to us in HIS book. The Bible tells us everything we need to know for salvation. The Bible shows us the way, the truth, the life. The Bible gives us everything we need to know to live life for HIM. It will always be relevant because it was written by a God who cannot lie and who is unchanging.

Therefore the question isn't can God be known, the question is do you want to know God? If the answer is yes, then how do you expect to come to know God? Do you base your God on your feelings? Or do you want to base your God on a solid foundation--on the Word of God? The Bible reveals the truth about ourselves, our lives, our sins, our weaknesses. But it also reveals the truth about God, an amazing, gracious, loving and completely just and righteous God who LOVES us, who DEMONSTRATED HIS LOVE FOR US WHILE WE WERE STILL SINNERS. He wants to give us a new heart, a new life. He wants us to be His.  God doesn't require us to be perfect before we come to Him. (In fact the opposite is true!)

From, "Before Sermon, At Sermon, After Sermon" by Charles Spurgeon
The Word of God is a feast, but what comes of it if a man only looks at the banquet? Shall he not go away as empty as he came if he does not receive it?

You cannot be said to be His disciple if you question His teaching, for in the questioning of Christ's teaching lies the rejection of His Person. 

We are not bid to receive with meekness men's words, for they are many, and there is little in them. But receive with meekness God's Word, for it is one, and there is power in each Word which proceeds out of His mouth. Any little particle of God's Word, so far as we know it, is precious, and should be highly esteemed by us. The odds and ends, and corners and fragments of the Divine Word are to be received by you and by me—and there is a lack of meekness in us if we begin to pick and choose, and cut and carve the Divine Word. Who are we that we should say, "This or that is not essential"? Who are you, O man, that you should decide what is essential or otherwise? He who gave the Word did not write trifles! It is essential that you receive the Word of the Lord as supreme and perfect! And it is essential that you are lost if you do willfully reject any portion of that which the Most High deigns to reveal to men. Receive with meekness the one, only, and indivisible Word of the Lord

Nobody ever received the Word of God into his heart, to be engrafted there, without being cut and wounded by the Truth of God. It needs two wounds to make a graft—you wound the tree and you wound that better tree which is to be grafted in. Is it not a blessed grafting when a wounded Savior comes into living contact with a wounded heart? When a bleeding heart is engrafted with a bleeding Savior? Engrafting implies that the heart is wounded and opened—and then the living Word is laid in and received with meekness into the bleeding, wounded soul of the man. There is the gash and there is the space opened by it. Here comes the graft—the gardener must establish a union between the tree and the graft. This new life, this new branch, is inserted into the old stem, and they are to be livingly joined together.  Now, we need the Word of God to be brought to us in a similar fashion—our heart must be cut and opened—and then the Word must be laid into the gash till the two adhere. Then the heart begins to hold to the Word, to believe in it, to hope in it, to love it, to grow to it, to grow into it and to bear fruit accordingly! "Christ lives in me," said the Apostle. Is not that a wonderful thought? ~ Charles Spurgeon, Before Sermon, At Sermon, After Sermon 
I think the last quote is something to really consider. It is not enough to say "read the Bible" to a person who is not of the Spirit, who has not been born again, who cannot read and understand it as it is meant to be understood--spiritually comprehended. God uses his Word--spoken, preached, and read--to reach people where they are, to share the good news, to save and deliver. But it is His Spirit moving and acting through the Word. Without the Spirit, there can be no life.

But there are plenty of Christians who need a wake-up call, who need to be told THE BIBLE IS FOR YOU, YES YOU.

From "Delight in the Almighty" by Charles Spurgeon:
If we do not know God, how can we delight in Him? What delight can there be in an unknown God? Brothers and Sisters, you are not half as happy as you might be because you do not study this Book, where, as in a glass, you may see the face of Jehovah your God! Oh, that you knew more of His dear Son, for he that has seen Him has seen the Father! Take God for your daily company. "Acquaint now yourself with Him." Great as He is, dare to be free with Him. Though you are but dust and ashes, yet, like Abraham, speak with Him as a man speaks with his friend, for as you know your God so shall you delight in Him and lift up your face unto Him. ~ Charles Spurgeon, "Delight in the Almighty"
Your neglected Bibles hide your God! When dust falls on the Scriptures, dust falls on the eyes of those who have neglected them—and then they cannot behold the Glory of the Lord God. The more of Scripture is understood, fed upon and received into the inward parts, the more will be your delight in God! You can have no pleasure in the Speaker if you despise the Word spoken—let it be to you as marrow and fatness. ~ Charles Spurgeon, "Delight in the Almighty"

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible


Annette said...

Thank you Becky for linking to my blog. Great post on the Bible, the Holy Bible. I may write more on this subject next Sunday.
Wishing you a great week!
Happy reading.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it true how some Christians don't think they need to read the Bible now that they are "mature" or have read it before. Each time I read it I get something more out of it. Something "new" is revealed to me by the Spirit! It is truely the Living, Breathing, Word of God.