~~~~~ For the word of God is alive and active (Hebrews 4:12) ~~~~~
A peculiar thing happens to me when someone lobs a Bible verse at me and lectures me on how to live my life: I feel trampled upon. I feel controlled and belittled. But when I read Scripture by myself, on my own, and happen upon some life-changing verse — even if it’s something someone else could have pointed out — then that verse is impactful and life changing.
Perhaps this is my stubbornness, my sin nature. But I also believe it’s a testament to the power of the living Word. The Text itself has the power to change us when we encounter it ourselves. I think this is why Scripture readings in church, by themselves and without any commentary at all, can be so very powerful.
When I have an encounter with God Himself, He speaks to my heart and tells me what to do. God’s Word is just so much more effective when God Himself is speaking to me, and not some angry know-it-all. Now, I’m not anti-sermon. I love good preaching and teaching. I love learning information, and I love hearing Bible commentary. What I dislike is having Bible verses thrown at me without love.
The Bible is a living, breathing text, and we were designed to sit under it. To listen, to stay awhile, to be changed. It’s why I have to read it myself. It’s why I feel so much closer to God when I do. Even if I don’t see specific changes happening yet, God’s word is active under the surface of my heart and slowly, sometimes imperceptibly, changing my attitudes over time.
I used to think prayer and Bible reading were separate (yet conjoined) endeavors. But maybe Bible reading is just listening to God talk to us. And if prayer is actually a conversation with God instead of merely my supplications, then listening to Him is one half of prayer. Which means that maybe, reading the Bible is actually . . . praying.
Could that really be prayer? Isn’t prayer when we talk to God? But nothing is separated or segregated in our life with God. I can pray while I sing, and I can worship God without song, when I stand in awe of His creation. So it’s possible that prayer and Bible reading are the same thing sometimes.
Prayer as Bible reading seems so mundane. It’s not fireworks or anything fancy. But it isn’t mundane. It’s God intersecting with the world. It’s God changing my heart – which is actually pretty miraculous if you ask me.
I think sometimes we lose the wonder of a changed heart. But the truth is, when we spend time with God, our hardened hearts can change. This is nothing short of miraculous. This is the glory of the Word of God.
7 thoughts on “The Glory of the Word of God”
Prayer as Bible reading… Has spoken to me very strongly. In a time when I seemed to not have prayers/words to say, and I longed to, that’s what I did. With my friends in our time of prayer/worship we would take psalms or something and sing it out. Over and over in new ways and it spoke. Nothing else just the scriptures.
So glad you can relate, and that Scripture speaks so strongly to you in this way. May His Word continue to do so, for all of us. Blessings.
Excellent thoughts. I have often wondered how ministers – or any of us – figured that our thoughts were more impressive than His…
Sounds almost comical when you put it that way! And yes, agreed.
Sorry about the angry know it alls, and those who share scripture without love. Those are some sorry individuals, may God have mercy! The 3/3 or Discovery Bible Studies approach does allow for our own observations from the text that we share with each other, and leaves out the Bible verse lobbing. (Of course someone could do that, but it is not part of the program!). The expectations in the 3/3rds study approach can bring a lot of guilt and discouragement however. Any suggestions on how to make that a happier experience are appreciated. I feel like the vision of loving God, loving people, and the excitement of serving with our wonderful Savior has to be far more in our focus than fulfilling requirements. We are working toward that end with our little group.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience,
Hi Dana. I’m curious what you mean about the expectations of the group bringing guilt. Do you mean that there is a high expectation never to miss a meeting or a day of Bible reading, or that there is discouragement over our own sin (as of course the Bible tends to point out our own sins)? I cannot answer about that last one, because I still get discouraged over my own sin, when it hits me in the face. I am not sure there is anything that can be done about that, because nobody likes our sin, not us, and not God. But Bible reading is supposed to do that, I think, to show us where we are wrong and lead us to change. It’s just (usually) more helpful and effective when God does it Himself rather than a person. 🙂
If you are talking about the other things, feeling guilty of not “doing enough” Bible reading or prayer, I am not sure what to say, either. Because I used to feel guilty as well, if I weren’t doing it “perfectly.” Now I give myself some grace, and just thank God for each time I DO spend time with God, and enjoy it for what it is, instead of beating myself up for times I DIDN’T. Because if I just feel bad, then I avoid God altogether, thereby keeping myself from any time with God at all. So now, if I am not getting as far as I want as quickly as I think I should, I just keep plodding through slowly, instead of quitting. But I am not sure how I got to this place, exactly. . .
I do know that tone of voice is important for me, when I’m learning under a teacher (because, as I said, I do like to learn from teachers). There are lots of preachers in the States who are popular or famous for their sermons and podcasts, but whom I cannot listen to, because they sound angry to me. Maybe they are just passionate, but they sound angry to me, and I have a hard time listening and learning from them. So I stick with calmer-sounding ones 🙂
Blessings on your Discovery Bible Study!
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