We cannot grow as Christians if we are not actively studying the Word of God. It’s not enough to know facts about and within Scripture. When we go to the Bible to extract truth, we fail; rather, we must receive the truth, welcome it in.
The Book of James shows us how to understand the Bible, and reveals four ways to welcome the Word of God.
We first welcome the Word with a repentant spirit.
"Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls" (James 1:21). There is a moral qualification to hear from God; hangover sins and unrepentant hearts can keep us from understanding Scripture.
When we study the Bible, it is crucial that we first make a full confession of sin and ask God to search our hearts for any trace of wickedness.
We also welcome the Word with a receptive spirit, with meekness, which is a teachable spirit.
James 3:3 says, "Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body." Likewise, God wants to break us and take us under His control, making us sensitive to His commands.
Third, we welcome the Word with a responsive spirit.
"But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves" (James 1:22). Once we understand the Scripture we read, we must obey it; if we don’t, we are self-deceived.
Adrian Rogers says, “A study of the Bible gives you knowledge about God. Obedience gives you knowledge of God.”
Finally, we welcome the Word with a reflective spirit.
"But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does" (James 1:25). When we read the Bible with a reflective spirit, the Bible reads us in return. It gives us a new perspective of our lives, shows our truest selves. Rather than quickly glancing at Scripture, we must learn to gaze into it.
Apply it to your life
Are you actively receiving the Word of God with a repentant heart and a receptive, responsive spirit? Remember, as Adrian Rogers says, “The best way to understand the part of the Bible you don’t understand, is to obey the part you do understand.”
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