By Ma Xiaoxiao, China
Reading theis a compulsory course for every Christian. In order to get good out of reading the Bible so that they can better understand the Lord’s will, many Christians have thought of some methods of studying the Bible. Firstly, they will choose which version of the Bible to read. Now there are lots of versions of the Bible, such as The Daily Study Bible, The Cross References of the Bible, Abundant Life Study Bible. There are also different versions of the Bible written by a lot of spiritual persons. And they will generally choose the Bibles written by the well-known or prestigious spiritual persons; secondly, they will take the chapters which they themselves think are the most crucial and the scriptures which are often explained by the pastors and elders as their first choice when reading the Bible; thirdly, they will read a little of the Bible every day, and so on. Everyone has summed up some methods of studying the Bible. Thank the Lord for His guidance. Not long ago, when some co-workers and I discussed the methods of studying, we found a best method of Bible study and I’d like to share it with brothers and sisters.
The brothers and sisters who are familiar with the Bible all know that there are not only God’s words but also man’s words in the Bible. When we carefully read it, it is not hard to find that all God’s words are explicitly indicated in the Bible. For example: In the books of the prophets of the Old Testament, the words Jehovah God revealed to the prophets to convey, are clearly mentioned with “the word of the LORD came unto,” “thus said the LORD,” etc. In the other scriptures of the Bible, the words Jehovah God personally said are also clearly marked with “God says,” “Jehovah God says,” etc. And the rest are all man’s words and were written by men who experienced the work of Jehovah God at that time. The Four New Testament Gospels are written by the four authors about what they themselves heard about and saw of the work of the, among which the words of the Lord Jesus are clearly indicated with phrases like “Jesus says,” “Jesus says to them,” etc. Furthermore, Revelation is the visions that John saw under the inspiration of God and prophesies how God does the work in the last days. These words come directly from God’s revelation and are all God’s words.
While the rest are all the letters that Paul and the other disciples at that time wrote to each. At the beginning of the letters, they clearly marked with words like “Paul, an apostle of by the will of God, to So-and-so,” “Peter, an apostle of Jesus , to So-and-so.” These letters are the words they wrote to exhort and encourage the Christians in each church at that time out of their burden to each church. And these words are all their experiences and knowledge, only represent man’s will and can’t be compared to God’s words, because God has the substance of God and only God’s words are the truth. The Lord Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” (John 11:25). “It is the spirit that vivifies; the flesh profits nothing: the words that I speak to you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). God is our shepherd. God’s words are the truth, have authority and power and represent His disposition; they can become our life, supply our needs and are the lamps guiding our way in the darkness, and are that which no one can express. However, all man’s words come from his knowledge after obtaining the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment and illumination based on his experiencing God’s work, and they are the expressions of man’s understandings and views and represent what man has and is. Some of them get some benefits and edification in people’s life, but none of the words enlightened and illuminated by the Holy Spirit can represent the direct expression of God. They are not the truth, nor can they be man’s life. Just as the apostle Paul said, “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:6). When distinguishing between God’s words and man’s words in the Bible, we can say for sure that the best method of studying the Bible is to first choose to read God’s words, and then seek to understand the truth and grasp in God’s words so that we are able to accurately practice according to God’s demands and gain the life supply from God.
How should we read God’s words so that we can understand the truth in them? The Bible says, “Who also has made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter kills, but the spirit gives life” (2 Corinthians 3:6). God’s words contain many mysteries, so we can’t know them according to the letters; instead, we should pay attention to pondering the spiritual meaning of them. Then how can we achieve this? Many brothers and sisters specially buy some auxiliary tools, such as Concordance of the Bible, and Bible Encyclopedia, in order to understand the meaning of verses better. These auxiliary tools can help us figure out some spiritual vocabulary or the literal meaning of the verses. However, if we want to understandthe real meaning of the Lord’s words, more importantly, it requires us to quiet our hearts before God and read God’s words carefully; only then can we obtain the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment and illumination and understand God’s will.
God’s words are the truth and every word contains His will and represents a manifestation of the life disposition of God Himself. So when reading God’s words, we should understand the intention of God in speaking every word, why God wanted to say these words, what issues God’s words have revealed and what manifestations are expressed in every issue. We should also understand that God’s words are the truth, and that what God reveals are the issues all of us have, but not focused on any specific individual. Therefore, we ought to reflect on what manifestations within us being not practicing God’s words but disobeying and resisting God based on the issues God reveals. Not only should we know our own shortcomings and inadequacies; we have to know what God has and is. When reading God’s words with our heart, we can see God’s mercy and salvation for us from between the lines of God’s words.
Thank the Lord! I hope that when reading the Bible, the brothers and sisters in the Lord can know God’s will from every word of God, understand God’s expectations of us, see clearly our own corruption and shortcomings, know the deviation in our practice and then turn around in time to act in harmony with the Lord’s will, and soon become people who accord with God’s heart! Amen!
Dear brothers and sisters, if you have any understanding or enlightenment from God, you’re welcome to share with us via:
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2. Send an email to [email protected].
We sincerely hope we’ll grow spiritually through sharing with each other.