November 30, 2014
In Part 1, you saw two qualities of the Word of God which set it apart from all other books:
When you read the Bible, you find phrases like “the Word of the Lord,” “the Word of God,” or “the Lord said” used 3,808 times. If the Bible is not the Word of God, it’s the biggest bundle of lies ever unleashed on planet Earth. The Bible is truth, absolutely.
Let’s look at other virtues of the Bible which set it apart, for if you don’t appreciate the virtues of the Word of God, you won’t have any desire to understand it.
Because it is timeless and truthful, it is a treasured book. Psalm 119 expresses it well:
“The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of coins of gold and silver” (Psalm 119:72).
“How sweet are Your words to my taste! Sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103).
“Therefore I love Your commandments more gold; yes, than fine gold.” (Psalm 119:127)
Saints and heroes of the faith have pillowed their heads on the Word of God as they walked through the chilly waters of death. Martyrs died for the witness of Jesus Christ, holding the Word of God as flames came around their feet.
The early Church loved the Word of God. They never questioned it, and they argued very little about it. They preached and proclaimed it. They loved, lived, practiced, trusted, and obeyed it. They claimed it constantly.
Is that true of you? You will never have a victorious Christian life if you do not love this book.
Unlike great works of poetry, prose, or history, the Bible is a living book.
“For the Word of God is living and powerful” (Hebrews 4:12).
Jesus said, “… The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63)
The Bible pulsates with life, for its Author is the Creator of the universe, in Whom all things consist and in Whom we live and move and have our being.
For the Bible to become a living, breathing, life-giving reality for you, you must assimilate it. You don't just read a cookbook, you eat the meal. If you don't assimilate it, no matter how much you appreciate it, what good is it?
And with the Bible, it means that you are to take it into your mind, to thoroughly comprehend it, to use it as nourishment for your mind and heart. How do you do that?
The Psalmist said, “Blessed are You, O Lord: teach me Your statutes” (Psalm 119:12). Have you ever prayed, “Lord God, be my Teacher”? Pray over the Word and ask God to teach you. When you ask God to do this, several things will happen:
“Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law” (Psalm 119:18). You may have 20/20 vision, but God has to open your eyes for you to behold the wondrous things in His Word.
After His Resurrection, Jesus walked with two disciples on the road to Emmaus. The Bible says He began to talk to them about the Old Testament, the Law, and the Prophets. “And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures” (Luke 24:45). When you ask Him, God will do that for you.
When you pray over the Word, your heart will be stirred. “Incline my heart to Your testimonies, and not to covetousness” (Psalm 119:36). If you don’t have a desire for the Word of God, ask, “Oh God, please incline my heart. Move my heart, open my eyes, stir my heart.”
When your eyes are opened and your heart is stirred, your mind is going to be enlightened.“Your hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments” (Psalm 119:73).
Oftentimes in my sermon preparation, I have put my pencil down and bowed my head to say, “Oh my God, help me to understand this. God, give me understanding.”
In part 3, I want to share some steps that I find helpful in making the Word of God come alive in my hands and heart.