Getting Real About Life, about Love, and about God

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Intent and Purpose of Reading the Bible

"How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
    By living according to your word.
 I seek you with all my heart;
    do not let me stray from your commands.
 I have hidden your word in my heart
    that I might not sin against you."  Psalm 119:9-11

"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do." James 1:22-25

Psalm 119 and James 1 are just two of the many places in the Bible that talk to us about the purpose and intent of scripture reading.  The intent of reading the Bible is not to merely read it.  It is not like other books, wherein we seek to read it to just be entertained by a story or to gain some knowledge.  The ultimate intent of reading God's word is to have it written on us.  To have what we read and who we encounter in the Living Word transform and change who we are.  Reading and meditating on God's word is intended to change our hearts, our minds and our character.  The goal is not that we can quote the scriptures word for word but rather that we live the scriptures by doing what it says.  In fact, the Bible warns us about just having knowledge of the scriptures and what they say and not living the truth of scripture.  Ironically, doing so is a sign of not having knowledge of God's word.

When we read with the intent of getting the scripture all the way through us and etched on the core of our being rather than just getting through the scripture, we are open to the work of the Spirit through the word to change us.   Reading the Bible with the intent of being changed by God through it means that as we read and meditate on its truth we allow it to read us.  It is a mirror that reflects back to us who we are in our weakness, in our sin, in our frailties and our shortcomings.  It reflects back to us our defiance and our rebelliousness.  However, that is not all that it reflects to us.  In it we see who we are in Christ.  We can see what we are becoming as we allow God to transform us through his Living Word.  We discover God's love, grace and purpose for our lives.  We encounter God.

This is what makes the Bible different from all other books.  This is what makes it a Living Word packed with the only power to transform and change us from the inside out.

May we all be changed by the encounter that we have with God in and through His word today.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,

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