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Two Ways of Reading the Bible – August 2016

Dear Peddie Church Family,

Daily meditation on the Scripture is one of the essential spiritual disciples that we all need to be engaged in. Listening to Sunday sermons is not enough. Unless we take time to listen to the Word of God daily, we cannot expect ourselves to grow spiritually. Yet what’s important for our growth is not how much time we spend with the Bible, but how we read the Bible.

There are two ways of reading the Bible.

The first way of reading the Bible is for information. When we read for information, we come to the text with our own agendas. We want to get something out of the text. We are in control over what we read. We are the master of what we read.

Sometimes it is necessary to read for information, for example, when we want to understand the historical context, or when we want to study a particular word in depth. However, reading for information does not change us. We may accumulate a lot of head knowledge about the Bible, but the frozen heart inside us remains intact.

John Bunyan, the author of The Pilgrim’s Progress once said, “It is possible to learn all the mysteries of the Bible and never be affected by it in one’s soul.”

The second way of reading the Bible is for transformation. When we are reading for transformation, we acknowledge that the text before us is God’s Word, through which the Almighty Creator speaks to us. We approach the text with reverence, awe, the fear of the Lord, and delight.

Knowing that it is God who speaks to us, we surrender our agendas to Him. We surrender our desire to get something out of the text. We surrender our ideas about Him. We are no longer in control. We are no longer the master of the text we are reading. Instead, we allow the text to master us.

When we approach the Word of God with such a posture, the Holy Spirit will come into our hearts, and we will regularly experience God speaking to us personally through His Word. As God promised through the Prophet Isaiah (55:11), His Word will not return to Him empty. It will accomplish what He planned and purposed in our life.

In the service of Christ,

– Pastor James