Too often we skim over God’s Word rather than slowing down to see what it’s saying. Sometimes, we look at what Scripture says, yet we fail to ask — what does it mean? Other times, we consider what the Bible is saying and what it means, yet we still fail to ask the two most vital questions — What is God saying to me? and How does God want me to apply what I have read to my life?
Life is busy. We live in an instant gratification world where we expect quick responses and fast results. We are accustomed to doing things quickly and getting immediate satisfaction. But, that’s not how God wants us to approach Him or His Word. Quite the opposite.
To experience the full measure of God’s presence — we must slow down. To grasp the true meaning of God’s Word — we must consider it carefully.
“My child, pay attention to what I say. Listen carefully to my words. Don’t lose sight of them. Let them penetrate deep into your heart, for they bring life to those who find them, and healing to their whole body. Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:20-23
I’m guilty of living life at Mach speed. If you ask my friends, they would likely say, she doesn’t know how to slow down. But, when it comes to experiencing God and His Word, I’ve learned to make myself stop. I intentionally set time aside to spend quality and quiet time with God. I ask questions when I’m reading my Bible and I ask God to open my eyes and heart to what He desires to teach me.
No matter what passage, chapter, or book of the Bible I’m reading, I’ve learned there are powerful and life-changing messages within its words. But, I will completely miss God’s point, if I don’t slow down and take time to carefully examine His Words.
If we want to find courage for life in the Bible, we must do more than simply read its words and move on. We must meditate on the Scriptures and apply what we learned to our everyday lives. God wants to change the way we think, the way we act, and the way we react. It’s our job to carefully consider His words and apply them to our lives in ways that challenge us and change us.
So how can you read the Bible without missing God’s point?
- Begin with prayer. Ask God to open your heart and mind to what He wants you to understand within the book or passage you are reading.
- Observe the words. To observe what God is saying, you must ask questions of the text like, Who is talking; Who are they talking to; What are they talking about; and Why are they talking about the particular subject?
- Interpret the words. To interpret God’s Word, you must ask questions of the text like, What does God want me to learn; Is there a sin I need to avoid; or is there a principle I need to follow?
- Apply the words. To apply God’s Word, you must ask yourself, what real-life situation am I facing that relates to the text I am studying; how can I change what I believe or how I behave to better honor God and His Word? Then put what you’ve learned into practice.