Brother Zhao Ming:
Unwittingly, we have been parted for over two years. How are you doing these days? What’s the situation of the brothers and sisters? I really miss those days when we spread, read the Bible and attended meetings together. Do you still remember when we once discussed a question: How should we read the Bible since we still don’t understand the ’ words, although we read them every day? To be honest with you, several days ago, I posted this confusion on the Internet. A church friend quickly answered me, which made me gain so much. So I wrote you this letter to share the path of how to read the Lord’s words to understand the truth.
At first, when reading God’s words, we should have an attitude of sincerity, concentration and piety. The Lord Jesus said: “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). God is holy and faithful. is the expression of God’s life disposition, and is the revelation of God’s essence. So, we must read God’s word with an honest and yearning heart. Only thus can the Holy Spirit work on us. If we read God’s words in a cavalier and perfunctory attitude, and if we only focus on knowing, summarizing and concluding the literal meaning of God’s word, or equipping ourselves with spiritual theory, then we will unavoidably be ensnared in our conceptions and imagination. In this way, not only can we not understand God’s will and requirements, but instead, we will easily do evil to resist God and interrupt and disturb God’s work. Think back to the Pharisees in the Age of Law. They recited the scriptures day after day, but they never sought or pondered over the inner meaning of God’s word, nor knew the work of the Holy Spirit in the slightest, instead, they were so arrogant that they took understanding a little letter of the Bible to be their capital and had many notions about God. When the Lord Jesus came to do the work to redeem mankind, they used the letter and doctrines of the Bible to deny God, condemn and resist God’s work; finally, they nailed the Lord to the cross, committing great sin and being eliminated and punished by God. This fulfills the word in the Bible: “for the letter kills, but the spirit gives life” (2 Corinthians 3:6). From this we can see that if we, when reading God’s words, want to obtain the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit and understand God’s will, we need an attitude of piety, concentration and sincerity. Only thus can we have real results in reading God’s words.
Next, we should pray and ponder over God’s words more. We all know that God’s word contains His requirements and will. When we read a passage of God’s word, we need to ponder: Why did God want to utter these words? What was God’s will in these words? What problems did He want to resolve for us? What result did He want to achieve? Just pondering like this, we will easily understand the meaning of God’s word and grasp God’s will. Once, when I read the Lord Jesus’ word: “And when you pray, you shall not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men” (Matthew 6:5). I then pondered: Why did God not approve of the Pharisees’ prayers? What were the manifestations of Pharisees’ prayers? What is the outcome if we pray in the same way as the Pharisees? … In those days, I always prayed and pondered in these aspects. After that, I thought of some behavior of the Pharisees. For example, they hypocritically made long prayers, loved to pray standing in the corners of the streets to be seen by man, and spoke many nice sounding words to God, but never practiced them; they also devoured widow’s property, and even killed prophets … They prayers are cheating man, and also cheating God. God is faithful, holy and righteous, so God detests and condemns hypocritical prayers of the Pharisees. Compared with the behavior of the Pharisees, we can find that our prayers are full of lies, empty words, and pretentious words, and that we say a lot of nice sounding words and make countless resolutions before God, but seldom fulfill them. For example, sometimes we prayed for gaining grace but never prayed for understanding the truth or living out the Lord’s words; sometimes we prayed to love the Lord, but when we had difficulties in our life and fell into them, we would immediately complain about the Lord and could no longer love the Lord; there were also times when we prayed to God, saying that we were willing to serve the Lord all our life, but when we saw our friends and relatives all lived an easy and comfortable life, then we started wavering and wanted to walk the same path as they did. Only after when we realize our prayers are not in line with the Lord’s will can we speak heartfelt words to the Lord and be willing to repent. This is the result that God wants to achieve by saying these words. From this, we can see that if we can diligently ponder over every word and every requirement God says, seek God’s intentions often when He speaks and seek what result He wants to achieve on us, then we can obtain the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit, and understand the true meanings of the scriptures gradually.
What’s more, there is a time for the Holy Spirit to work. Sometimes we may not immediately receive the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit when we ponder over the scriptures; at this time, we can’t be dejected nor give up, but we should have the persevering resolution and confidence to never rest until we understand them. The Lord Jesus said: “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matthew5:6). “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7). God is faithful. As long as we often ponder and wait, maybe after a period of time, God will enlighten us and we will suddenly understand God’s words. This is how Peter experienced this. The Lord Jesus once asked Peter three times: “love you me?” (John 21:16). At that time, Peter didn’t understand the Lord’s will. Through ceaselessly praying and pondering, he came to know that he only loved a vague God up in heaven but did not love the Lord on earth. Lord’s will is to hope man can love practical God on earth but not a vague, invisible and intangible God up in heaven. From then on, Peter took loving God as his lifelong goal to pursue. In the end, he achieved loving God to the utmost and was crucified upside down for the Lord, being perfected by God. God isn’t unfair to people, so as long as we put much effort into God’s words, pray and ponder more, and wait with an obedient heart, God will surely enlighten and guide us.
At last, we should put God’s words we understand into practice and experience them in real life. Only thus can we understand God’s words more clearly. We should practice as many truths as we understand from the scriptures. Even if we just understand the literal meanings, we can begin practicing from the literal meanings. For example, the Lord Jesus said: “But let your communication be, Yes, yes; No, no: for whatever is more than these comes of evil” (Matthew 5:37). After pondering over this word, we can understand that to be an honest person is to call a spade a spade and not tell lies. Then we can start to practice being an honest person according to what we have understood. When we act like this, we will find that it’s not easy to be an honest person and that it’s so difficult not to tell lies. When doing things, we still have many impurities and wrong intentions, and in order to protect our vanity, face and interests, we will also tell lies in spite of ourselves. At this time, we can understand that God requiring us to be honest persons is not changing our actions of telling lies on the outside, but requiring us to resolve our intentions and impurities within us so that we can get rid of our deceitful disposition and achieve not cheating God nor man in our heart. In
addition, when we are behaving to be honest people, we can also find that we mankind were corrupted by Satan deeply and we really need. At this time, we will pray urgently, asking God to enlighten and guide us, so that we can practice the truth, be cleansed soon, and be a person who delights God. If we just pay attention to equipping ourselves with biblical knowledge and spiritual doctrines but do not emphasize practicing God’s words, then what we know will forever remain superficial and even if we can receive enlightenment from God, we will forget it gradually. When God sees that we don’t practice the truth, then the Holy Spirit will not enlighten us to understand God’s words anymore. This just fulfills the word of the Lord Jesus: “For whoever has, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whoever has not, from him shall be taken away even that he has” (Matthew 13:12). So, after receiving the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit, we should also pay attention to practice. This is the key to whether we can gain the Lord’s approval.
The above words are what I’ve gained these past few days. Thank the Lord! I hope this knowledge will be beneficial to you and can help you soon free yourself of the vexation of how to read the scriptures to achieve results so that you can gain an unending supply of living water of life from the Lord.
May the Lord’s blessing be with us!
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