For Christians, nothing is more necessary than to read the Bible every day. But do you know how we should read the Bible to achieve results, and what attitude we should hold toward reading the Bible to gain the guidance of the Holy Spirit? Here are 3 principles.
1. Focus on Quieting Ourselves Before God in Reading the Bible
God’s words say, “When the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship Him” (John 4:23). God requires us to worship Him with an honest heart. When we read God’s words, it is the time when we get close to God. Only when we quiet ourselves before God to ponder His words can we gain the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. If we don’t quiet our hearts before God when reading the Bible and God’s words, but instead think about family or work matters, then this kind of spiritual devotion is going through the motions and being perfunctory with God, and the Holy Spirit won’t enlighten us. Therefore, when we read the Bible, we should pay attention to quieting our hearts to pray to God and meditate on God’s words, and consciously get away from all the people, events, and things that could interrupt us. This is a better way to get something out of our devotionals, and our spiritual condition will continue to improve.
In general, our hearts are more at peace in the morning, before we’ve dealt with the countless little things that come up in our lives and at work. We can do our devotionals and read the Bible at this time, and then we’ll be more likely to gain the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. We can pray to God with an honest heart, telling Him all about our difficulties and deficiencies; we can carefully read God’s words, and seek His will and a path of practice. If we often quiet ourselves before God this way, the Holy Spirit will often enlighten and lead us to understand the truth.
2. Read the Bible With the Heart That Thirsts and Craves for Righteousness
The Lord Jesus said, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6). From these words of God, we can see that only those who truly thirst for God’s words can get enlightenment and new light from God’s words. We all know that God’s words are profound, and our capacity for understanding is limited. If we don’t thirst for God’s words, we will not be able to understand His words and His will. Just as 2 Corinthians 3:6 says, “For the letter kills, but the spirit gives life.” Therefore, when we read the scriptures, we must have a heart that yearns for God’s words, so that God can lead us to understand the truth. Take Peter for example, when he heard the words of the Lord Jesus, he sought and pondered the Lord’s will in His words. For instance, when the Lord Jesus asked Peter three times, “Love you Me?” Peter did not treat this as an ordinary question or answer the Lord perfunctorily. Instead, he carefully pondered His words to find out why the Lord said such words to him, and whether he loved God. Finally, he came to know himself from the Lord’s words and understood God’s will. He saw that he was incapable of satisfying God in so many things, and that he did not truly love the Lord Jesus. Later Peter was able to focus on following the Lord’s will. In his daily life, he used God’s words to restrict himself, to seek to satisfy God in every regard such as how he ate and clothed himself. He strived to meet God’s requirements, so that he was crucified upside down due to his love for God and bore a beautiful testimony. Let’s look at ourselves. When we read the Bible, we are content to know the literal meaning of the scriptures, but don’t thirst for the true meaning of the Lord Jesus’ words. For example, regarding what kind of people can enter the kingdom of heaven, the Lord said, “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” (Matthew 7:21). Most brothers and sisters think that doing the will of the heavenly Father means holding on to the name of the Lord and working hard for Him. But is this what the Lord really means? The Lord also said, “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 7:22–23). Why did the Lord Jesus say those who prophesied and worked in His name were evildoers? Think back to the time when the Pharisees traveled far and wide working hard for God. But in the end, they nailed the Lord Jesus to the cross and became sinners condemned by history who resisted God. From this, we see that just holding on to God’s name, giving things up, and expending ourselves for God is not necessarily equivalent to doing the will of the heavenly Father. So, what is the true will of God? The Lord Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment” (Matthew 22:37–38). It can be seen that doing God’s will has nothing to do with how people suffer on the outside, and how enthusiastically they expend for the Lord, but it depends on whether they practice God’s words. So, in our belief in God, we shouldn’t bargain for gains from God or seek rewards; instead, we should love and satisfy God with a pure and honest heart, and expend for God purely out of love for Him. This is doing the will of the heavenly Father. When we ponder God’s words in this way, we can clearly understand the will of God. Therefore, when reading God’s words, we need to hunger and thirst for righteousness and earnestly ponder God’s words to understand the true meaning within His words. Only by doing so can we accurately understand God’s will and act in accordance with His will. So, we should have the attitude of thirsting for righteousness in reading the Bible.
3. Focus on Resolving Our Own Difficulties and Problems in Reading the Bible
The last key point on effectively reading the Bible is to focus on reflecting on and knowing ourselves, and on solving our own difficulties and problems in believing in God. However, for most of the time, we read the scriptures not to solve our own difficulties and problems, but to follow superficial procedures or pay attention to memorizing more scriptures to prove that we are spiritual. Or we read the Bible just because we need to preach to others and support our brothers and sisters. If we read the Bible with this kind of intention and view, it is impossible for us to get God’s enlightenment and guidance.
The Lord Jesus said, “But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience” (Luke 8:15). If we can measure ourselves against God’s words and reflect on our shortcomings in our spiritual lives, then we can gradually rectify our deviation from belief in God, and then we can be after God’s will. Therefore, we must first follow the Lord’s requirements and teachings, practice His words, and then help others with our practical experiences. In this way, others can get some help.
Through the above fellowship, you perhaps know the attitude and practice that you should have when reading the Bible. If we practice this way often, we’ll grow in our spiritual lives and eventually become those who are after God’s will.