Thursday, November 21, 2013

How to Read Your Bible

I'm reading Growing in the Spirit: The Assurance of Our Salvation by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones.  It is a study of Jesus' prayer for His own from John 17:17-24.

The life of faith involves constant application of the truth of God's word.  Daily Bible reading facilitates this sanctification process in a Christian's life.  However, it's important to keep the right mindset as you read God's word and not just view it as something to check off of a to-do list.  Dr. Lloyd-Jones cautions against this and sets Bible reading back into its proper place:

"But they [Christians] seem to read the Bible as a good bit of discipline, as the sort of thing a Christian is expected to do.  That is not the way of reading the Bible that I mean here.  I am advocating that I should read my Bible daily not because I believe it is a good thing for me to read the word every day, not because I think it is going to do some general good, not because it is a good thing to be familiar with the word of God—no—I must learn to read the word of God in order to look for the doctrines that are in it.  I must search for doctrines which I can apply to myself, I must be looking for particular teachings.  My reading of the Bible must not be general, but very specific.

It is possible to be very familiar with the letter of the Scripture and yet not to know its doctrines; indeed, there are many who are familiar with the words of the Scriptures who are not familiar with the word of God.  You can know your Bible in a mechanical sense without ever having come face to face with its doctrines.  And my whole understanding of John 17:17 leads me to say that all that is useless.  In other words, if I do not read my Bible in such a way as to come to a deeper knowledge of the greatness and holiness of God, there is something wrong in my reading, and the same is true if my reading of the Bible does not humble me, or bend me to my knees.  In other words, my attitude towards Scripture reading must not be, 'I have a certain amount of time before I go to work,' or, 'I read my daily portion if I can’—that is not the way to read the Scriptures.  We must be very careful not to become slaves to the daily portion.  We must be searching for the doctrines not merely that we may know the contents of particular books of the Bible, but also that its spiritual message may come out to us.  We must see it and know it, and we must daily remind ourselves of it."

Convicting, isn't it?

"Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth," (John 17:17)