How do you approach your Bible? Do you approach it with reluctance or with excitement? If your answer is with reluctance, this is for you. If your answer is with excitement, this is for you too! Before we begin studying the Bible, we should first understand what it really is: the Word of God, and then approach it with the reverence it deserves through prayer.
Old Testament Hebrew and New Testament Greek equate the word breath with God’s Spirit. When God speaks, His breath (His Spirit) follows His Words. The same thing happens when we talk; our breath follows our words. When God said, “Let there be light,” His Spirit went forth from His mouth, and there was light. (Genesis 1:3). The Word of the Lord and the Spirit from His mouth created the heavens and the earth and everything that fills them (Genesis 1)! 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that “all Scripture is God-breathed.” God’s Word is His breath; it is His Spirit. It is His creative POWER.
When you read your Bible with an open heart, ALL the creative power of Almighty God is at work in you. That right there is breathtaking, my friends (did you see what I did there?)! God used only His Word and His Spirit to create the vast universe. That same Word and Spirit are available to you when you read the Bible. Never set limits on what God can create for you in your life through His Word! (Derek Prince, “God’s Word Your Inexhaustible Resource”)
Opening your Bible is the best thing you will do today. But first, check your heart. How you approach this precious time in the Word will determine what you get from it. Align your heart with God’s heart through prayer. Here are three things you can pray about before you dive into the Word.
The LORD merely spoke, and the heavens were created. He breathed the word, and all the stars were born.
– Psalm 33:6
Open My Eyes So That I May See
Without supernatural help, there is no understanding of Scripture. Unbelievers reject God’s teachings and revelations because they don’t make sense to them. They are incapable of understanding the Bible (1 Corinthians 2:14) because they don’t have the supernatural assistance of Holy Spirit. But the good news is that we can understand God’s Word because God sent the Holy Spirit to teach all things to those who believe in His Son (John 14:26).
Did you hear that? You don’t have to fear opening the Bible. You don’t have to be intimidated by those who seem to understand the Word of God. You have the same Spirit in you that they have in them! You can understand the Word of God.
So before you open the Word, ask Holy Spirit for wisdom and revelation so that you may know God better (Ephesians 1:17). Pray for God to open your eyes to see the wonderful truths in His instructions (Psalm 119:18). Ask Him to open your mind to understand the Scriptures (Luke 24:45).
Guide Me Into All Truth
Daily we are inundated with information: the news, the internet, and social media. It is impossible to find the truth unless you know the truth. But what is the truth? We need a lie detector to help us sort it all out. God’s Word is our lie detector: it exposes the lies and uncovers the truth. His Word is the truth (Psalm 119:160, John 17:17). It is our road map, guiding us to our true north, and helping us find our way through the maze of lies.
His Word not only shows us the truth about the world but also about ourselves. It burns away wrong thinking and helps us take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). It helps us stand firm against the lies of the enemy when all we can do is stand. But we must know His truth for His truth to work in us.
Ask God to guide you into all truth (John 16:13). Ask Him to sanctify you with His truth as you read His Word (John 17:17). Finally, pray that He will teach you His way so that you will walk and live in His Truth (Psalm 86:11).
“We are dealing with God’s thoughts: we are obligated to take the greatest pains to understand them truly and to explain them clearly.”
– D.A. Carson
Help Me Correctly Handle Your Word of Truth
There are many, many pastors and Bible teachers out there. Some preach and teach the Word of God accurately. Others do not. They have let the world’s values cloud how they see the Word. The Word is Truth, and it never changes, even if the world does.
Paul gave Timothy some good advice in 2 Timothy 2:15. He said, “do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” That is good advice for all of us.
While nothing is wrong with gleaning someone else’s explanation of the Word, the Bible is meant to be read for ourselves. When you hear a message or read a commentary, be like one of those annoying fact-checkers: go directly to the source and see if what you were taught aligns with God’s Word. Check everything.
Paul is possibly (next to Jesus) the greatest teacher of all time. Yet, the Berean Jews were said to be of more noble character than others “for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” You see, it is not just about fact-checking the teacher, good or not; it is about studying the Word for ourselves – that is how we get it deep inside of us and grow into a worker who has no need to be ashamed.
To correctly handle God’s Word of Truth, we must try to understand what God has said and not “lean on our own understanding” by allowing our own opinions and views to blur what God has written.
Ask God to teach you how to study His Word. Pray for Him not to let false teachings deceive you. Ask Him to show you when your opinions and views are clouding your vision of His Truth. Pray that He will help you accurately represent His truth to others.
After you pray these things, open the Word of God and welcome it to judge the thoughts and attitudes of your heart. Allow it to teach you, to change you. Don’t limit what God can do for you through His Word. Receive His Truth with eagerness!
“The Bible was not given to increase our knowledge but to change our lives.”
– D.L. Moody