One of the privileges a pastor has is to be able to go to work and open up your Bible and mine its riches, hopefully a little deeper than the average layman, given the time and educational opportunuties afforded him. As I studied this week from various places to be able to “feed the flock” it was once again truly exciting to see what God has said to us. In my office I experienced comfort, conviction and satisfaction in what the Bible says. As a young man who grew careless about school before I was saved I never dreamed I’d end up studying so much and enjoying it so well. Finals time during school were actually the most work I did but showed me the biggest payoff, that studying was worth it !!
Yet how often we seek these things elsewhere. Sadly, we have a natural aversion to the Scriptures. Unless we are nurturing the habit, it is easy to choose something else than pick up the Bible to just read it. I find that (and bear with me on this one), I get more pleasure studying it than reading it ! Like anyone else, if I’m reading the Bible and don’t stop to look up what an expression or phrase means exactly what’s the joy in reading something that goes over your head? If I just skim through it without meditating some on it and asking some questions what’s gained? But when I search it out and it becomes clear with His help, its actually pretty cool and whets my appetite for the next time !
When the Jews, as recorded in Nehemiah, were read the Word of God it says that “they read in the book in the Law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.” (8:8) When the first century Jews heard Jesus teach them the Word they responded in awe that they were “astonished at His doctrine: for He taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.” (Matt.7:28-29). Those scribes were like today’s pastors in the sense that it was their job to know the Old Testament Scriptures yet there was something lacking, a right connection with the Author ! But when a person is in tune with God and is seeking to study the Word what a difference it makes !
They say “you get what you pay for !” Have you learned yet that when you compromise by buying something a little cheaper that often you pay for it more in the long run? Same is true of our time in the Bible, if we are sporadic with that, we get a mediocre Christian life, if we read just to read we become a dutiful Christian tis true but miss out on the devotion we could have for the Lord and His Word, hence the joy and very heart of the Christian life. Try an experiment this next week: Read a chapter carefully each day with a good study Bible that has notes or a good commentary thats more devotional and seek to know a little more indepth that which you read. Or take good notes of the sermon if your pastor is more expository then read over that chapter or passage he was in and mull it over in your mind a few days, thinking, meditating on it and asking God to help you better comprehend and apply it, watch and see if you don’t gain more of a thirst and enthusiasm for the Bible !! I’m not saying you will grasp everything in a passage but what you do can be very exciting because God opened up your understanding to something that’s actually pretty cool and well worth the effort !!