How’s your intake? Most believers are aware that Scripture admonishes us to, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly with all wisdom” (Colossians 3:16). We know Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). We must appreciate there’s a variety of rich ways to take in God’s word.
When it comes to Bible intake – to internalizing God’s word and making it a part of us, the motive always is to be that of love for God and a compelling desire to know Him (cf. John 17:3: Philippians 3:10; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). We desire to be conformed to the image of Jesus (Romans 8:29). Consider these 7 ways to enrich your biblical word power.
- Hear God’s Word. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). God’s word is to be regularly heard by us individually, in our families, in our churches (Deuteronomy 6:4-15; 1 Timothy 4:13). We are to pay attention to both WHAT and HOW we hear (Mark 4:24; Luke 8:18). With all the available means there are for hearing God’s word, should we not take greater advantage of hearing it?
- Read God’s Word. The Bereans had the benefit of Paul’s preaching, but still “examined the Scriptures daily, to see whether the things they heard were so” (Acts 17:11). Reading God’s word adds breadth to our lives. Picture going across a lake in a boat with a powerful motor. You are moving quickly over the water but really get the “feel” of things as far as the layout of the lake. Reading God’s word helps us get the “feel” of Scripture. This may be called “getting a bird’s eye view” or the big picture.
- Study God’s Word. If reading Scripture gives one breadth, studying it gives one depth (cf. 2 Timothy 2:15). This can be illustrated by going across a lake in a glass-bottom boat, not using a motor but only an oar, so as to move slowly and take in as much as possible the beautiful particulars of the experience. The technical term for this is exegesis, and it includes things like grammar, context, structure, history and literary types. This might be thought of as “an up-close and personal approach.” It’s a thorough examination of a passage.
- Memorize God’s Word. Memorizing God’s word is like adding reinforced steel to faith. It is NOT done merely to impress others, but with the purpose to discipline ourselves to greater godliness (1 Timothy 4:7-8). One may memorize contextually by books, chapters or sections of Scripture, like the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). One may also memorize topically and thematically. It’s good when Christians have passages about such themes as the Person of Jesus, grace, faith and obedience on the tips of their tongues (Psalm 119:16; 2 Tim, 3:16-17).
- Meditate On God’s Word. We should so fill our minds and hearts with Scripture that we can recall God’s message and reflect upon it (Psalm 1:1-3; Joshua 1:6-9). Like a tea bag placed in a cup of hot water, the water begins to take on the flavor of what’s in the teabag. How wonderful it is when Christians are full of God and His word through biblical mediation! Meditation makes it possible to “chew on” Scripture anytime and anyplace.
- Apply God’s Word. God’s word may be meticulously studied, memorized, discussed and debated, but ultimately it is to be properly done (Matthew 7:21, 24-27; James 1:22). It has well been said, “The best translation of the word of God has always been the translation of the word of God into our lives.” Read and apply 1 Corinthians 10:31.
- Pray God’s Word. In Scripture, God speaks to us. In prayer, we speak to God (Matthew 7:7-11). There can be no doubt that there’s a vital relationship between the word of God and prayer for Christians (cf. Acts 6:4). There is so much about prayer and so many prayers in the Bible. If one cannot so learn from God’s word that they can thoughtfully pray it back to Him, one must wonder if we have really learned much at all!
These 7 ways of enriching our word power are a package deal. They together are part of a well-balanced, nutritious way for nourishing our souls. How’s your diet? – Mike Vestal