After more than thirty years of listening to many preachers, one year of Biblical Studies, many years of study on my own, and more important, many, many years of a life journey with God – all three of him! – the Bible is coming alive with fresh meaning and excitement! So, if you feel that your Bible reading leaves you kind of feeling lukewarm, you’re not alone, but I think you’ll be encouraged. There’s a “trick” to it.
After years of Bible reading, studying and hearing it Read, it can begin to sound like a well-worn groove in a vinyl record, or like driving in deeply worn ruts in the mud. I just find myself falling into the groove and I get little spark from it. But God is always new, even when he speaks to us from the same written word that was written two or more millennia ago.
This new spark is definitely not due to superior intellectual knowledge. I’m definitely not the Bible answer man. I can’t quote many verses verbatim, and as my brain ages, I lean more and more on online apps for my studies, but I do have a decent knowledge of what the bible says and can paraphrase important passages and usually find them. But here’s a clue: all the Bible knowledge in the world will not help us if the Holy Spirit isn’t in us doing the explaining.
In John chapter 16, verses 12 & 13, Jesus says:
12“There is so much more I would like to say to you, but it’s more than you can grasp at this moment. 13But when the truth-giving Spirit comes, he will unveil the reality of every truth within you. He won’t speak on his own, but only what he hears from the Father, and he will reveal prophetically to you what is to come.
That’s the secret to reading the written Word – the Bible. According to Jesus, in the verses above, even the teaching from his own lips is not adequate to explain God’s Truth to us. When Jesus left this planet and his physical body, he sent us the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, to explain things and to transform us so we could better understand. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2:10-11, “10 For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. 11For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.”
If Paul were writing today, I’m sure he would use our modern-day search engines as an illustration. But of course, Google can’t search all things, least of all the ultimate TRUTH in the mind of God! But the Holy Spirit can! How exciting is that?
As I read the eighth chapter of Romans this morning, I pasted it into the note app I use, and as I read I would highlight one verse after another, until by verse eight I realized I was so excited, I was just highlighting every verse. It’s an exciting passage dealing with what Paul calls “walking in the Spirit”. Your desire to know God more intimately and to get excited about His written Word is your way to activating the presence of God within and upon you. Your yearning, your desire for him is like a diamond in a proposal of marriage: the bigger the better!
*All quotes in this post are from The Passion Translation. You can find it in the app “Bible” or buy your own in book form.