“Our hearts should be filled with a holy dread and awe when the Bible is proclaimed.” -R.C. Sproul
“For I will proclaim the name of the Lord; ascribe greatness to our God! -Deuteronomy 32:3
The Bible is not just another book. You cannot open it up flippantly, looking to breeze through it or peruse it like you are looking for a sale on Amazon. For novice readers to categorize it as such brings consternation. No, it’s the Word of God. John Calvin said if you want to hear God talk out loud, then read the Bible out loud. To say that is has power hidden in its pages is to misunderstand it. It is power, and it is evident in every syllable. The Bible should be read as such. If you read the 119th Psalm you will find out that it is the longest chapter in the Bible and it is repetitive. Over and over it calls us to keep the commandments of God, and the Psalter just says it in 176 different ways. Let me outline to you a daily approach to the Scriptures. One that, if followed, will deepen your understanding of God speaking to you.
1. Read the Word of God SLOWLY
When I read fiction, I read to be moved emotionally and to be entertained. When I read non-fiction, I read for information and education. When I read poetry, I read for descriptions of beauty and to be inspired. However, the Word of God does not fall into any of these categories. When I read a regular book of any kind, I place it on the shelf after I am finished. The Word of God is to be grasped and hidden in the heart. It convicts me of my sin, plainly shows me the path of living righteously, and gives me purpose. I have found that life is purposeless without God in Christ. Therefore, I need more of the Word in me and you need it in you. To do that I need to study the Bible and be deliberate about my approach.
2. Read the Word of God with ANTICIPATION
Look forward to reading it. Caveat: Chances are you are not going to wake up one day and say, “I’m in love with the Bible!” That craving and expectation has to be crafted and created by actually living in the Word. In other words, the more you read it, the more you trust Him. The more you trust Him, the more you have to know Him. The more you know Him the more you want to arrange your life around your relationship with Him. And the more you do that, the more you will go to Him anticipating His power in your life.
3. Read the Word of God PRAYERFULLY
I long for a better prayer life. I try not to stress over it. Getting on my knees before Him is necessary for me. Psalm 34 begins with, “I will bless the Lord at all times….” Bless means to kneel. Think about it. Money is not going to bless God. Your hours serving as a volunteer at the soup kitchen doesn’t impress God. Going to church doesn’t move Him either. Blessing Him does and it means to be obedient. When we kneel, we are at least assuming the posture of humility that would lead to true servanthood. Many times when I read the Psalms, I am contemplating it, and meditating upon it, and I say to myself, “That’s a lot better than I have.” What I mean by that is my prayer on my best day isn’t that good, so why not pray that as the Psalmist does? So I do it.