Get More From Your Bible
Imagine owning a purse that would never run out of money. What an asset to the fight in a time of financial depression or recession. Actually, such an accessory can be found only in Roman mythology where the youthful Fortunatus allegedly owned a purse that always contained a gold coin. He could spend the coin, but when he dug into his purse again, another coin greeted him.
In a way, your Bible is like Fortunatus’ purse—its wealth is inexhaustible. Every time you eagerly open it in search of spiritual riches, you may draw from an unfailing treasure. And, no matter how often you scoop up the riches of the Word, you can still get more out of your Bible.
1. By a Deepening Appreciation of the Bible
Basically, appreciation of any written communication depends on three factors: the status of the author, the document’s degree of authority, and the purpose it may serve. A scribbled note from a garbage collector requesting a careless housewife to wrap her garbage more securely in the future would scarcely be cherished by her as a valuable message to be read often in the days and years ahead. On the other hand, a letter from the Premier bearing his seal and signature and asking her to chair a committee on consumer affairs would surely be considered with appreciation and repeated readings. Obviously, the difference with which the two communications are greeted may be explained by the fact that the latter contains all the important elements which were lacking in the former—sender status in the eyes of the recipient, authority, and significant purpose.
Think about it—your Bible deserves your appreciation, and the longer you study it, the more you ought to appreciate it. For instance, consider its Author. Talk about status! God, Himself, authored the Bible. True, devout men from many walks of life did the actual writing, but they wrote precisely what God by His Spirit directed them to write (2 Peter 1:20-21). Nothing was left out of the original writings that God wanted to be included, and nothing was included that He wanted to be left out. The Spirit so guided the writers of the Scriptures that every word they chose from the framework of their respective vocabularies, was first selected by God—“All scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16a).
Next time you study your Bible, mull over in your mind and heart the fact that it is His infallible communication to you—His, the Sovereign of the universe. A deepening appreciation of this grand truth will surely lead you to a greater appropriation of the Bible’s treasures.
What of your Bible’s authority? Grow in appreciation of the fact that no book or pronouncement on earth can come near Biblical authority. Man’s word is fallible, but God’s Word is infallible; therefore, whatever man writes or says touching faith and practice must be judged in the light of Scripture (Isaiah 8:20).
Finally, you will get more out of your Bible if you cultivate a deepening appreciation of the dynamic purposes it serves. The Word has the ability both to convert a man (Psalm 19:7) and fully equip him for a life of godliness and service (1 Timothy 3:16-17). In effect, God’s Book awaits your increasing ambition to be all that your Heavenly Father wants you to be.
2. By a Disciplined Approach to the Bible
God, in giving you an infallible Bible to meet your every need, has provided an amazing opportunity for you to grow in grace and spiritual knowledge. You must provide the occasion for tapping the resources of the opportunity. In a way, the believer’s situation respecting nourishment for the soul, resembles Israel’s situation in the wilderness, respecting the people’s need for physical nourishment. God sent bread from Heaven, but it was the responsibility of the people to “go out and gather a certain rate every day” (Exodus 16:4). So, God has made provision for His New Testament saints whereby they may have daily spiritual strength for their pilgrimage, and He expects each of them to gather a certain rate every day.
Some Christians maintain a period of devotional Bible reading and prayer early each morning. One Bible teacher follows the motto, “No Bible, no breakfast.” Aside from the likelihood that the mind is most alert early in the day and the feeling that facing God first in the day will help the believer face others and responsibilities later in the day, it would appear that the pattern for early morning devotions was set by the Lord Jesus Christ (Mark 1:35).
No doubt, a number of believers find it more convenient and helpful to draw near to God in a quiet time at the close of day. The most important thing, of course, is having an established period of study every day in which you seek to adore God and fill your life with His Word.
During your daily period of study, you will want to refer to some basic helps in your quest for a clear understanding of your Bible. Remember, though, no amount of good books can substitute for the personal ministry of the Holy Spirit in enlightening your mind concerning the Word. Consider helpful, the use of study helps such as a concordance, a Bible atlas for noting geographical settings; and a Bible dictionary, but dependence upon Him is essential in studying your Bible.
Along with a set time for study and some helpful tools, you will need a plan of study. You may wish to study the Bible book by book. You may decide to study its major doctrines, tracing them through the entire Bible. Character studies may interest you. Or, you may even take a word like “love” and with the help of your concordance observe its various uses in the Bible. Whatever plan of study you choose, be diligent in prayer and probing: take notes on the significant lessons you glean for your life, and record verses to be committed to memory. By following a plan consistently, you will increasingly get more and more out of your Bible.
3. By a Daily Application of the Bible
What a shame it would be to give an energetic twelve-year-old a football and stipulate that in order to get thoroughly acquainted with its properties, he place it on his bedroom dresser and studiously examine it without ever removing it. How much more the boy would learn about a football if he were allowed to take it to a nearby field, gather some friends, and give it a real workout! You will get more out of your Bible when you give it a “workout.” After all, it is our Lord’s desire that the Truth work in and on our lives. (John 17:17).
You will discover that the Word may be used to enrich your worship. When Nehemiah read the Scriptures in the audience of God’s people, confession of sin and heartfelt worship ensued (Nehemiah 9:3). Paul knew that vital contact with the Word, gives rise to spontaneous worship. He summoned the Colossians to let the Word of Christ dwell in them richly to the end that joyous worship would be experienced in the assembly (Colossians 3:16).
The Word should also be applied to your witness. It is the Word that stirs up faith in a hearer—not man’s word, but God’s (Romans 10:17). This is why Paul urged the Philippians to hold forth the Word to an unregenerate society (Philippians 2:16).
Finally, you’ll get more out of the Bible when you use it as a weapon, a sword to resist Satanic assaults (Ephesians 6:17).
All of us are making our way through a stormy world. Ever since the first sin in the Garden of Eden, mankind has struggled to make wise decisions about an uncertain future. The only way to ensure that we do not go astray is to have an objective source of truth that will guide us.
Someone once asked, “If God is a reality, and the soul a reality, and you are an immortal being, what are you doing with your Bible shut?” If your Bible has been shut for too long a time, why not open it with disciplined regularity, looking for help for your life and growing in appreciation for its worth. You’ll discover that you can and will get more out of your Bible.
“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)