By Ma Xiaoxiao
Reading the Bible is a mandatory lesson for every Christian. Then, what’s the correct way to practice? First, we need to understand the importance of God’s words in the Bible. The Lord Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). “I am the resurrection, and the life” (John 11:25). “The words that I speak to you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). “I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12). God’s word is the truth, the way and the life. In the Age of Law, Jehovah God promulgated laws and the Ten Commandments, which have allowed us to know that only by living according to the words from God’s mouth and worshiping God, can people receive His blessings and guidance. In the Age of Grace, the Lord Jesus preached the way of repentance, performed the work of redemption, and expressed the truth to redeem the human race. As long as we repent and confess according to the Lord Jesus’ words, we will receive the abundant grace, blessings, peace, and happiness from Him, and enjoy His tolerance, mercy and love, and the spiritual consolation bestowed by Him. Besides, the Lord Jesus taught us to bear the cross, to be humble, patient and caring, to forgive others and love others as we love ourselves. And He also demanded that we must worship God in spirit and truth, love the Lord with all our heart, soul and mind, practice God’s words, follow God’s will, and so on. The Lord Jesus’ words are the lamp before our feet and the light unto our paths, and have led all mankind through the Age of Grace for 2000 years. God is our true shepherd. His words are the truth, carry authority and power, and represent God’s disposition. Moreover, they are able to provide the life of man, and are the light that guides our way when we are in the darkness. No one is able to express them. However, man’s words in the Bible, such as Paul’s and the other disciples’ words, are knowledge produced through the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment and illumination on the basis of them experiencing God’s work. The words they expressed are man’s interpretations, and represents all that man has and is. Some of them have some benefit to and are somewhat constructive for our life entry. But the words of enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit do not represent the direct expression of God. They don’t belong to the truth and can’t serve as man’s life. Just as Paul the apostle said, “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:6). So, when we understand the importance of God’s words, we will be certain that the best way of reading the Bible is to first choose God’s words to read. Then we should seek to understand the truth and find God’s will in His words so that we are able to accurately practice according to His demands and gain the life sustenance from Him.
Then, how should we read God’s words in a way that we’ll be able to understand the truth in them? The Bible says, “For the letter kills, but the spirit gives life” (2 Corinthians 3:6). God’s words are the truth, and every sentence of them contains God’s intentions, and meanwhile is a manifestation of the life disposition of God Himself. So when we read God’s words, we need to understand what God’s intentions in every sentence are, what issues these words have revealed, and what the manifestations of these issues are. We should also understand that, God’s words are the truth, so the problems revealed by God all exist within us, rather than targeting any specific individual. Thus, we should reflect according to these problems, to see what manifestations we exhibit that are not the practice of God’s words but is rebelling against and resisting God. Not only should we know our own deficiencies and shortcomings from God’s words, but even more know what God has and is. When we pray, seek and carefully read God’s words, we will be able to see God’s mercy and salvation for us that show between the lines. For example, many of us believers in the Lord have read the Lord Jesus’ words, “Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:21-23). But if we don’t pray to God to obtain His enlightenment and illumination, it’ll be difficult for us to understand the true meaning of these verses. Only through praying and seeking can we understand that these words of God are telling us the requirement for entering into the kingdom of heaven. That is, in our belief in God, only by practicing God’s words and following His will can we enter into the kingdom of heaven. If we only focus on laboring, sacrificing, and upholding the name of the Lord, but do not place importance on practicing God’s words and obeying God, then this is not following God’s will and we can’t enter into the kingdom of heaven. Just like those who are referred to in the verses, they preach and cast out demons in the name of the Lord, but in the end the Lord brands them as evil-doers. Only through praying and seeking can we understand the true meaning of these verses, see God’s salvation for us, and thus act in accordance with His intentions.
Thank the Lord! I hope that when reading the Bible, we brothers and sisters in the Lord can all, from God’s words, understand His will and His requirements of us, clearly see our own corruption and deficiencies, know our deviations in our practice, and then turn around in time, so that we can behave in accordance to God’s liking and soon become someone who acts in harmony with His will. Amen!
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