The pathway to spiritual growth travels through the pages of the Bible.  God has given His revealed Word as a means of spiritually strengthening and encouraging His people.  The Psalmist understood this to be true.  He prayed, “Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path” (Psalm 119:11).  Jesus would have commended the Psalmist’s song.  He taught that His disciples would become closer to God through God’s Word (John 17:17). As an apostle of Jesus, Paul intentionally sought to strengthen believers in their knowledge of God’s Word (Acts 16:5 and Colossians 1:23).  David, Jesus, and Paul all recognized the primacy and priority of the Bible.  If modern believers want to have strong spiritual lives, they must get serious about Scripture.  Consider three things you should do with your Bible.

Read It.

I highly recommend a daily Bible reading plan.  You don’t need to be legalistic about the matter, but realize that a little bit of Christian discipline never hurt anyone (1 Timothy 4:7).  When you set aside time to ingest God’s truth, you make room for God to move in your heart.  Carve out some time.  Get a Bible you like, and find a translation that makes sense.  Get online and find a daily reading plan.  Make it your goal to regularly read God’s Word.  He will use your devotion to develop your soul.

Understand It.

Warren Wiersbe has said, “The Bible is not a ‘magic book’ that changes people or circumstances because somebody reads it...God’s Word must be understood before it can enter the heart and release its life-changing power.”  When the Israelites returned from captivity into the promised land, they experienced a great revival, a revival that was built upon the proclamation of God’s Word.  But God’s people didn’t just listen to God’s Word, they also sought to understand it.  Those who understood the book gave clear explanation for all  (Nehemiah 8:8).  It was only after the people knew what the Bible meant that they were able to experience transformation.

In order to benefit from the Bible, you’ve got to understand it.  Like the Israelites of old, you may need others to help you.  Perhaps a study Bible would be beneficial.  I recommend “The Life Application Study Bible” or John MacArthur’s study Bible.  Perhaps a one volume commentary set would aid you in your journey.  Or, you might need a trusted friend with whom you can consult.  Whatever you do, make sure you make an effort to understand God’s Word.

Reflect on It.

Our Bible reading can become stale if we don’t look for practical application.  There have been times when  I have gotten into the habit of engaging in a mere cursory reading of the Bible without carefully considering its meaning.  When you spend time in God’s Word, continually ask yourself questions like, “What is the passage saying?”, “What does the passage mean to me?,” “What should I obey from this passage?”  By engaging in such reflection, your Bible reading time will move from an informational exercise and it will become a transformational one!  Our relationship to God’s Word must involve personal reflection (Psalm 119:97).

Dr. Patrick Latham

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