|Reading the Bible is not Enough|
Reading your Bible is not enough. Hearing God's message from preachers is never enough. 3 minutes or 5 minutes with God using Our Daily Bread or some devotional books is not enough.
We Christians need to stop making excuses for our laziness. We need to deal with the fact that we're backslidden. We've grown cold. There's something terribly wrong when we're comfortable and satisfied with reading a few verses, and content to just sit back and listen to others talk about the Word of God.
We need to be IN the Word. You and I need to be students of the Word. You need to hear from God and encounter Him yourself. Receiving encouragement and teaching from others are good but you need to discover and process God's very words yourself.
Listening to other people's experiences, ideas, and understanding about God and His Truths can only carry you so far in your faith life or Christian walk. It's your personal time with God's Word that will get you through the long haul and effectively deepen your relationship with Him.
Imagine receiving correspondence from someone close and important to you, but then just have other people read the letter for you. And you're not even blind.
"Oh, read it to me whenever you have time." "Just tell me the parts which you think are important for me to know, and tell me what you think this letter means." "Write down your thoughts about it for me, and I'll read what you wrote later on."
Or, imagine opening the letter and just choosing to read 1 or 2 words, and that's it. You close it, put it away. And decide, "I'll read some more words later, or maybe next week, next month." "I'll finish reading this letter probably in a year."
Naturally, you'd want to get a hold of it, see for yourself, read the words for yourself. Go through it from start to finish. Re-read it especially when the letter was so rich and touching. And if need be, decipher and read between the lines in order to get the complete intent, message, and thoughts that are contained in that letter.
Just plain reading the bible is not enough. Just listening to preachers (even good ones) is never enough. You must grab your own Bible. Open its pages. Put time into reading Scriptures and processing what it means.
True. Dictionaries, commentaries, devotionals, preachings; these are good supplements. But the bottom line is, they are supplementary. The primary thing in the Christian life is to directly and attentively interact with God and His Word yourself.
Not impatiently nor in a distracted condition. Not haphazardly. Not rushingly.
But with your full attention. Because that's how you take in crucial information.
And with your full affection. Because that's how you communicate with someone you love. That's how you listen to somebody important to you.
Reading the bible is not enough. Reading about the Bible is not enough. Hearing others talk about the Bible is not enough. Here's why.
1. Reading is not the same as knowing.
The Bible is unlike any other book. It is not just an informational material. It's a conversation transcript. You're not reading just to get data or information. You're going through the pages to get to know God and to be familiar with His ways. You're reading to connect with Him because that's how He talks to you.
2. Reading does not automatically bring understanding.
Understanding doesn't always come from just reading. Sometimes, you read one time and you get it. Other times, you need more explanation. You need more time to take in and process what's been said.
You may need to re-read. With God's Words, you will need to meditate and muse. John 16:13 says the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth. So you need to give time to the Holy Spirit in teaching and enlightening you.
3. Secondhand information needs to be verified.
Preachers, even the responsible, diligent ones, are subject to the possibility of giving wrong interpretations and sharing a flawed understanding of Scriptures. Hey, no one is perfect.
That's why it's important to follow suit from the Bereans in Acts 17:11. They listened to the teaching of the Word intently but went back home and fact-checked the preaching. So, remember to look into the Word yourself and verify what you hear.
It's also worth mentioning that you should be careful in choosing who you listen to. There are gifted speakers who are poor handlers of God's Word. They peddle dangerous teachings. Many have a way with ticklish, impressive words but deliver shallow and erroneous concepts of God's Word.
4. Supplements are not replacements.
Supplements are not the real deal. Supplements are there to enhance or complete something. They add elements to what is foundational or basic. They are not primary. They are supplements to what is already there, to begin with. Their purpose is to aid what is already existing.
Commentaries and dictionaries broaden our knowledge and understanding. They aid in proper context and background. They educate the mind but they have little to do with forging relationships.
Devotionals testify of another's journey with and discoveries of God. They are there to confirm and affirm. They can never replace direct encounters with Your God and Father. They can never be as powerful nor measure up to your actual experiences.
In fact, you need to have your own devotional. You need to write down your own journey and discovery. Why not start today?
God is alive. He is fully functional, fully operational, and fully personal. He is never absent. He is never distant. If you take the time to discover Who He is and what He has to say, you won't be disappointed. You'll never run out of learnings to note and write down. You'll never run out of experiences to reflect on and testify.
God speaks. God makes Himself known and felt. And you'll find that out the moment you stop skimming through the words and pages. Break the habit of plain reading. Stop replacing personal efforts with other people's work and thoughts.
When the Lord Jesus came to visit them one day, Mary prioritized the better part. (Luke 10:41) She longed to connect with Jesus, longed to know Him and learn more from Him. And so she decided to set urgent things aside for what's most important. She sat at His feet to do just that.
And so like Mary, why don't you seat yourself at His feet. Know Him. Learn from Him. She didn't regret it. You won't.
photo credit to pexels
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