Since I was still on my younger days, I have always known the bible as the word of God. However, as I grew more mature, I came to know that there are actually different authors of the bible moved by the Holy Spirit of the Lord. If I need my parents instruction as a young adult, how much more necessary it is for me to sit with God, talk to Him in prayer and listen to His words through the bible. As Timothy 3:16 says the bible is “profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteous”. It can make us wise unto salvation, and the word is able to save our souls (2 Timothy 3:15; James 1:21). Through it, God teaches me what I need to know. As I grow older it helps me distinguish what I need to reject and refute; what I must turn away from and avoid; what I should consider in my life and duties with respect to God and man.
Moreover, reading and knowing about it are two correlated factors that greatly affect one’s understanding on its content. As well, another aspect to consider is the fact that reading may vary depending on the mood of the reader which also results to how a reader understands it.
In my own experience, I am honestly struggling with my bible reading habit. First, because I am not consistent in reading it and, my interest on it also fluctuates. This leads to the second reason which is superficial understanding on that certain verse or chapter I read. Although, this does not always happen to me but this has become one of the huge challenges in my spiritual life. Nevertheless, knowing about the bible fuels my interest to read. It also makes my reading experience more meaningful and lasting.
Before, I usually plainly read my bible without much understanding on the deeper content of the passage. Yes, I do remember few verses or sometimes simply the thought of the chapter. Then on the following day, I do the same and get equal on the interest I put into my reading. Fortunately, God enlightened me through the sermons I have heard, bible subjects I have taken and articles I have read that there is actually art in reading His word. There is a proper and better ways for me to understand God’s word. According to Ellen White in “Messages to young People” It is not enough to read the scriptures in a casual way without seeking to comprehend Christ’s lesson that “I” may comply with His requirements. There are treasures in the word of God that can be discovered only by sinking the shaft deep into the mine of truth.
So I gave myself a try to change my bible reading life. I pray first before opening my bible. I would ask God to empty me of my temporal thoughts and help me understand His words for what it really wants to convey. Indeed, it works! The verses appear so differently and is more soul penetrating this time. But of course that moment does not happen overnight. It needs devotion, genuine commitment and sacrifice. Just like every other things, enough time is needed to understand an idea.
Although, bible stories seemed simple but in it are an imbedded treasures of God’s holy word. It needs a heart empty of worldly intelligence and sole focus on God’s love to internalize and grasp its real message beyond the literal lines it states. Furthermore, the stories in the bible become more captivating when I knew the different background of the book or the chapter. Like when I learn of their culture, the life of the author, and the historical context of the place and the passage, the significant role of each character stated on the chapter, the original word meanings, its language origin, and in this subject I also found out more aspects of the bible that illuminated the light of God’s word to my very soul. It feels like “the more I knew the more I do not know”, thus, it expands my interest on the bible subject into a wider horizon. It is such an amazing moment to experience a deeper understanding on a certain event of the bible or a passage.
However this moment does not happen always. Sometimes, I do lack the guidance of the Holy Spirit because it cannot fully impress me due to the exciting stories that have filled my carnal mind. I take too much dose of some mind-blowing literatures, stories that ignited my “hypothalamus” and moved me too emotionally. I read some articles that ignited my wildest imagination and snatched away my interest towards bible reading.
This has reminded me of reality that everything should be put to correct practice to make it a habit and eventually be form into character; that I need to discipline myself and “resolutely discard all trashy reading” so that my mind would not be interrupted with my perverted views. There are also some circumstances that hinder me to read my bible diligently. Like when I will be bombarded with a lot of requirements and responsibilities either at home or at school. I hate this reason but in my humanist it as something I just cannot easily overcome. This has become one of the things I have been working on to be changed in myself. This has also been my prayer to God.
I do not want to be in both extremes of either too complacent or too strict on my reading. Well, it should not be, so to speak. As I continue on my journey with God I also pray that I could regularly, systematically, diligently, prayerfully and reverently read my bible.
God says in Philippians 4: 13, I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. So even if there will be challenges in my spiritual life, I know God never fails on His promise. As long as I hold and constantly behold Him, I will improve my bible reading; my whole life. I am firmly saying this because I believe in God and in His words.
( Pictures are from GOOGLE)