Source of the problems

  • Most of the problems in our Bible reading come from a misunderstanding of some basic principles.
  • The first principle we must recognize is that we need the Holy Spirit in order to understand God’s Word (1 Cor 2:14).
    • It is important to pray before reading
    • And what is more, to remain dependent upon God to help us as we read.
    • We must realize how easily we can miss the true meaning of a passage, or read our own thoughts into it.
    • There must be a submissive dependence on God to open his truth to us, by his Spirit.
  • A second principle is that the Holy Spirit speaks to us in the Scriptures via our understanding
    • The Scriptures are not like a superstitious magic charm—we do not wear verses on an amulet to get a blessing from them
    • The Spirit helps us to understand: “Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.” 1Cor 2:12
  • A third and most neglected principle is that we must take time to think or meditate upon or “soak” in what we are reading.
    • “Meditation” conjures up the image of an eastern mystic sitting cross legged in a trance, but the meaning of the expression in the Bible is to turn thoughts over in our mind, pondering them, and asking ourselves what they mean and what the implications are.
    • This is usually when the Spirit works to help us understand what he is saying to us and how it applies to our hearts.
    • King David said he meditated day and night on the Scriptures (Psalm 1:2)

Clearly then, the best help for our devotional reading is one that forces us to stop and think about the words of Scripture, what they mean, and what they are saying to us. But does such a help exist?