I spend a lot of time in God’s Word. That’s a good thing and a bad thing. Good: I get to learn so much! I love hearing from God! Side note: I hear people say all the time “I wish God would speak to me!” I tell them He already has! It’s called the Bible! It is His Word to us. Bad: I begin to treat it like any other book. I find myself reading for information only. That’s a BAD THING when you’re talking about the inspired Word of God!
Have you thought lately about how precious this book is? It’s been passed down for generations to us today without changing form. The first few thousand years it was passed orally from family member to family member; father to son; mother to daughter. As writing materials became more common, it was recorded for more people to actually hold and read. Again, a benefit and a curse. It’s a huge benefit to be able to hand the Word of God to somebody for the first time. It’s a curse for those who have heard it before to be able to put it on the shelf. With the invention of the printing press, paper and printed copies became more abundant. The last several hundred years have witnessed the Bible as the #1 bestselling book. What an incredibly testimony!
Many men have given their lives for the propagation of this book. Translators have gone to the stake for it more than once. More times than not, their issues brought the book and the church closer to the original than away from it. King James commissioned the translation many of you grew up with. His translation crew was one of the best ever assembled. The language, not to mention the meter and rhyme, they employ is masterful. Phrases like “yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil…” are embedded in our minds because of their anointed word choice. Translation committees continue to work today, churning out variations that are just as inspired and useful as the King James edition proved to be over 400 years ago. One of my favorites today is the English Standard Version. It has more of the form and structure of the KJV with less of the formality in the language.
I’m not writing this to give you a history lesson. We don’t have and enjoy the Word of God because it stood the test of time. We have and hold it because it bears the mark of our Lord and the seal of His Spirit. It continues to speak, word for word, volumes to us today, just as it did in the days of King David and even Jesus Himself. (I realize they didn’t have the 66 books we have today. Get over it if you’re thinking about arguing with me on that one!) I remember the first time I really committed a section of God’s Word to memory. That experience changed my life! I memorized the book of Philippians. (It’s not that long.) I will forever read that letter differently. I could see Paul bent over his work table, laboring over that challenge to the church in Philippi. I could hear him crying out to the Father for insight and direction. I could sense the moving of the Holy Spirit in this wording or that phrase. And I had immediate application I never would have enjoyed otherwise.
One of my good friends was able to distribute some Bibles I gathered to a group of new believers we work with in Peru. He was there because I asked him to be. He really wanted to be somewhere else. He told me he nonchalantly passed out the Bibles and stood to quickly explain how to use them…book, chapter, verse, etc. This simple act of faithfulness was blessed by our Father 100 fold! He said when he looked up he had to stop because the recipients were weeping. Their tears were wetting the pages so they couldn’t see to read.
I like books. I love to read. I’ve never run across another book that even comes close to producing that kind of reaction in the life of its reader. Have you? Pick up a Bible today and offer this simple prayer as forethought to your reading: “Father, please open my heart and my mind as I open your Word.” Now begin to read! Read passionately, delving into long sections at a time. Read slowly, taking bits and pieces, like you are enjoying a delicacy one bite at a time. Read quickly, a bit of nourishment caught in between two longer meals. Listen to someone else read it, like hearing a waiter describe their favored dish of the evening. Make notes about it, as you would post notes in or about your favorite recipe books. Above all, cherish this wonderful, living resource our Father has sovereignly chosen to gift to us! Whether you choose to make it a part of your daily diet is up to you. Your choice to relegate it to a once a week (or less) activity is far more detrimental than skipping seven or eight meals at a time. Walking away from the Word of God just might leave you starving to death. Choosing daily to walk to Him by picking up His Word will not only fill you, it will leave you satisfied and hungry for more all at the same time.