Reading or Studying, There is a Difference

 

There are many resources for reading the Bible through pamphlets, web sources and even church studies that basically skim through Scripture and do not really focus on the meaning. Yes in church there is a prayer for understanding but then it is just read and each person is given to their own understanding. Granted that does not happen a lot but I have been in church Bible studies that do just that. Scripture is meant to be studied, prayed upon, understood, and interpreted to meet our time without distortion. Does not God tell Joshua to meditate on His Word daily keeping it in his heart. That does not mean just reading but comprehending, praying for understanding, learning, and letting the Word guide every move. For God said that is where we will be most prosperous as we keep His Word.

 

Keeping the Word means more than just having a Bible on you at all times. Every Christian should have a life verse that helps them and reminds them why they are who they are. Mine in particular is John 15:13, “Greater love hath no man than he who would give his life for his friends.” Why is that mine? I understand that to be a Christian means to sacrifice my own life to live a Christ like life. Leaving behind the worldly desires and serving others as Jesus served us. Sharing the Word without care of consequence and giving all to those in need.

 

Romans 15:4 For whatever was written in the past was written for our instruction, so that we may have hope through endurance and through the encouragement from the Scriptures.

 

I hear so many folks say, “I read the Bible every morning then I feel better.” these are the lukewarm Christians. To them I ask, “Did you pray before reading to have a deeper understanding and letting the Word be your guide”? So many times I get the deer in the headlight look and I ask them to go to God and search your heart. It is better to hear what God has placed in men’s heart to write through prayerful consideration than just opening a page and reading, then putting the book down and forgetting. 

 

Take this morning for instance. I read of the death of Absalom, David’s son. David did not what him killed even though he was conspiring against his own father. In the last skirmish there was a forest in which Absalom was entangled in a tree. He could have been released from there and given over to David for forgives and possible exile or house arrest but it was decided by Joab to have him killed while he was defenseless. There are later consequences for this which was not part of the study this morning but what can I take from this? Obey the words of those appointed above you and do not take actions into your own hands when you do not know what the elder/boss/etc. has planned. If you do not then there will be consequence. Also, do not let a defenseless person just dangle and die but help them in their time of trouble for they may be forgiven. 

 

I could have just read it and left it because of it being a history but as we well know we can learn from historical outcomes whether good or bad. All this to say, reading is one thing but studying, understanding, and remembering (keeping it in our hearts) is something completely different. Besides, God desires it of us to learn how to be in His image.

 

Don’t just read the Bible, let it be in you. For: “It is written, ‘Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (Matthew 4:4)

 

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