By Andrew Murray (1828 – 1917)
“O how I love Thy law! it is my meditation all the day” (Psa. 119:97).
“Search the Scriptures…and they are they which testify of Me” (John 5:39).
“…The word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it” (Heb. 4:2).
Man lives by the Word that comes from the mouth of God. Therefore, seek with your whole heart to learn how to use God’s Word correctly. With this in mind, reflect on the following hints:
Read the Word more with the heart than with the understanding. With the understanding I know and comprehend; with the heart I desire and love and hold firmly. Let the understanding be the servant of the heart. Be very afraid of your understanding or carnal nature, which cannot receive spiritual things. Deny your understanding, and wait in humility on the Spirit of God. On every occasion, keep silent during your reading of the Word. Say to yourselves, “This Word I now receive in my heart, to love and to let it live in me.”
Always read the Word in fellowship with the living God. The power of a word depends on my conviction regarding the man who wrote it. First, set yourself in loving fellowship with the living God under the impression of His nearness and love. Deal with the Word under the full conviction that He, the eternal God, is speaking with you. Let your heart be silent while you listen to God, to God Himself. Then the Word will certainly become a great blessing to you.
Read the Word as a living Word in which the Spirit of God dwells, and that certainly works in those who believe. The Word is seed. Seed has life, and grows and yields fruit of itself. Likewise, the Word has life, and of itself grows and yields fruit. If you do not wholly understand it, if you do not feel its power, carry it in your heart. Ponder it and meditate on it, and it will of itself begin to yield a working and growth in you. The Spirit of God is with and in the Word.
Read it with the resolve to be, not only a hearer, but a doer of the Word. Let the great question be: What would God now have of me with this Word? If the answer is, He would have me believe it and rely on Him to fulfill it, immediately do this from the heart. If the Word is a command of what you are to do, immediately yield yourself to do it. There is an unspeakable blessedness in the doing of God’s Word, and in the surrender of myself to be and to act just as His Word dictates. Do not be only hearers, but doers of the Word.
Read the Word with time. More and more, I see that one obtains nothing on earth without time. Give the Word time. Give the Word time to come into your heart, on every occasion on which you sit down to read it. Give it time, in the persistence with which you are faithful to it, from day to day and month to month. With perseverance, you become exercised and more accustomed to the Word and the Word begins to work. Please, do not be discouraged when you do not understand the Word. Hold on, take courage, give the Word time. Later on the Word will explain itself. David had to meditate day and night to understand it.
Read the Word with a searching of the Scriptures. The best explanation of the Bible is the Bible itself. Take three or four texts on one point, and set them close to one another and compare them. See where they agree and where they differ. See where they say the same thing or again something else. Let the Word of God in one place be cleared up and confirmed by what He said in another place on the same subject. This is the safest and the best explanation. Even the holy writers used this method of instruction with the Scriptures, “and again” (John 19:37). Do not complain that this method takes too much time and energy. It is worth the trouble. Your pains will be rewarded. On earth you have nothing without effort. He who wants to go to heaven never goes without taking pains. Search the Scriptures, you will be richly rewarded.
Young Christian, let one of my last and most earnest words to you be this: your growth, your power, and your life depend on your faithfulness to the Word of God. Love God’s Word. Esteem it sweeter than honey, better than thousands in silver or gold. In the Word, the Father can and will reveal His heart to you. In the Word, Jesus will communicate Himself and all His grace. In the Word, the Holy Spirit will come into you, to renew your heart and all your thoughts, according to the mind and will of God. Do not simply read enough of the Word to keep you from falling away. Make it one of your chief occupations on earth, to yield yourself so that God may fill you with His Word, and may fulfill His Word in you.
Lord God, what grace it is that You speak to us in Your Word, that we in Your Word have access to Your heart, to Your will, and to Your love. Forgive us for our sins against Your precious Word. And, Lord, let the new life become so strong by the Spirit in us, that all its desire will be to abide in Your Word. Amen.
– Taken from The New Life.