We know that many blessings come from interacting with God’s Word. Scripture teaches that we’re blessed if we find delight in the Word of God and meditate upon it (Psalm 1:1-2). Also, according to Scripture, we are blessed if we walk in the law of the Lord (Psalm 119:1), obey the testimonies of Scripture (Psalm 119:2-3), and seek God in his Word with all our hearts (Psalm 119:2). Further, we’re told that if we apply the scriptures in our lives, we will be blessed in all that we do (James 1:25). The scriptures also bring great delight in our lives (Psalm 119:14-16), simply because they are words that have life (Psalm 119:93) and hope (Psalm 119:43, 147).
Also, dwelling in the scriptures (Colossians 3:16-17) is connected to being filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18-20). If you’re filled with the Spirit, then you’re walking in the will of God, walking wisely, and making the most of your time (Ephesians 5:15-16). With this in mind, we would want to pray with the psalmist: “Open my eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of your law” (Psalms 119:18). For our eyes to be opened to the wondrous things in God’s law (Psalm 119:18), we must spend time interacting with his law in our Bibles. How can you spend time interacting with the Bible? What are some key things to keep in mind?
The Navigators ministry has devised a straightforward way to help us interact with the Bible, the Word hand illustration. The Word hand illustration helps us to know and experience the blessings in Scripture, as mentioned above. As will be discussed below, hearing, reading, studying, memorizing, meditating, and applying the scriptures leads us closer to God, the source of all the blessings in our lives.
Hearing the Word – Romans 10:17
In church, the Word of God is read and explained to us; in other words, we hear God’s Word. Acts 2:42 teaches us that it is the job of pastors and church leaders to preach the Word. This helps the church fulfill the great commission to teaching believers to observe all that Jesus has commanded us (Matthew 28:20). With this in mind, it is important to go to a gospel-preaching church to hear the gospel preached in order to strengthen us to observe all that Jesus commanded us (Matthew 28:20). Hearing the Word taught in church will have tangible benefits to help us grow spiritually. However, we do not just stop at hearing the Word.
Reading the Word – Revelation 1:3
Reading the Word is something we get to do for ourselves. Often, that is done during our devotion or quiet times. Many Christians read the Bible in a year with a plan, which can be found in our Kuza app. Reading all of Scripture matters because it helps us have the whole context of Scripture and how the different books relate to each other. Often, many might be tempted not to read all of Scripture because they feel there are sections or books of the Bible that are not as important or relevant. When in reality, all of Scripture is God-breathed and useful for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16). As Christians, we cannot just rely on hearing the Word preached at church. Instead, we must consistently seek to engage with God’s Word at home. This is really what strengthens one’s faith, as it allows us to hear God for ourselves. If in need of help, numerous Bible reading plans are available for our use.
Study the Word – Acts 17:11
Studying the Word now goes a level above reading. It takes reading up a level because instead of just reading the scriptures, we’re actually digging deeper into what the words mean and imply. Studying the Word helps us find out what the author’s intent was. One way to do that is by looking at words that are repeated. When words repeat, that generally lets you know the main point. Knowing the main point of a section of Scripture will help you apply, teach, and preach it to others. Also, if you find that each sentence in the Bible begins with a conjunction such as “therefore, and, or for,” then generally, the main point is stated before these conjunctions. There are lots of techniques that you can learn to study the Bible. Using a study bible, a commentary, and a lexicon are also great tools to aid in studying the scriptures.
Memorize the Word – Psalm 119:11
Memorizing the scriptures also takes reading the Bible to another level. Memorizing Scripture helps us to hide God’s Word in our hearts and use it for gospel proclamation, encouraging others, and fighting temptation. For example, when we have memorized Scripture, we can confidently share the gospel using verses like John 3:17-18, Romans 3:23-24, and 1 Peter 3:18. We can also encourage others with verses like Romans 8:32, Philippians 4:19, and Jeremiah 32:40-41. To fight temptation, just as Jesus did, the following memorized verses can help: Matthew 4:1-11. Psalm 119:9-11 teaches us that memorizing Scripture can help keep our lives pure, hence closer to our greatest source of joy, God. Memorizing Scripture is a powerful tool to help us love the Lord (Matthew 22:37) and draw close to him (James 4:8).
Meditate on the Word – Psalm 1:2-3
When it comes to meditating on God’s Word, instead of just being able to recite a verse from memory, we’re now really thinking and praying through it. As we pray, we ask the Holy Spirit to give us depth and to apply it to our lives and situations. We talk about meditation after memorization because it is most effective when one can recall the Scripture from memory.
We must also mention that meditation for Christians differs from other forms of meditation. Rather than empty our minds as other religions and worldviews encourage, Christians will seek to fill their minds with Scripture. Also, meditating on Scripture is based on Biblical truth instead of worldly human wisdom. Be encouraged to meditate on God’s Word as often as possible. The results and blessings that come with it will be pleasantly surprising.
Apply the Word – James 1:25
Applying God’s Word is an essential part, or rather response, after engaging with the Bible’s truths. Applying God’s Word must be emphasized because it is possible to hear, read, study, memorize, and meditate on it but never utilize it. If one, in theory, hears, reads, studies, memorizes, and meditates on the entire Bible but never applies it, then they are living in disobedience. The point of the scriptures is not just to give us head knowledge. Instead, they are to spur us to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, minds, and souls (Matthew 22:37). In order to love God well, one must first believe in Jesus Christ; he is the one who enables us to love God the way he wants us to love him (John 14:15). If one does not apply the scriptures, then they neither know nor love the Lord. Therefore, whenever we hear, read, study, memorize, or meditate on Scripture, we must intentionally seek ways to apply it.
There are many other things to say about interacting with the scriptures. However, let us first seek to apply these six elements to our lives. If we are able to live these out daily, our faith will grow more robust, and we will have more opportunities to know God and find great joy in him (Psalm 16:11, 119:103, 111).