13. Bible Study Assimilates the Vitality of the Word of God
Psalm 119 teaches us to value God’s Word, even though it was written when really all that the psalmist and the people had was Genesis through Job, if that much. What’s more, the Bible was nowhere nearly available like it is today; it was in limited supply in scrolls and only at the places of worship, if even there. No wonder they had to hide and treasure it in their hearts!
Because the Bible is so available today, there is no excuse for us not to study it and then assimilate it into our lives.
For the past few days, I’ve quoted one of my favorite preachers and perhaps one of the greatest proclaimers of God’s word in the late 20th Century, Adrian Rogers. In his Legacy Bible (page 672), he lists five key ways that we can assimilate the vitality of the Word of God to make our Bibles come alive. Using Psalm 119 as his text, read the following and if you are familiar with Rogers’ great preaching voice, imagine him saying out loud his “recipe” for assimilating the God’s Word:
Now, you don’t just read the cookbook, you eat the meal. If you don’t assimilate it, no matter how much you appreciate it, it does you no good…I always read the Bible with a pen or a pencil in my hand. If you don’t do that, it tells me you’re not expecting to receive anything. And you sure aren’t planning to remember anything. You simply get a pad to write on when you open the Bible and you pray, ponder it, and you get ready for God to speak to you.
In other words, Pastor Rogers was saying that Bible Study, if done properly, is the entire purpose of Bible reading. If you truly believe you were to hear from the Lord, you will not only hear but do the following:
- Pray (“Praise be to you, Lord; teach me your decrees,” Psalm 119:12) Jesus said in John 14 (BELIEVE, page 220) that “the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, (that is with the same power and authority that was held by Jesus, who in turn came in the Father’s name. See John 5:43 and 10:25) will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
- Ponder (“I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways,” Psalm 119:15, see also verse 23, 27, 48, 78, 97, 99 and 148). Meditation does not mean to empty your mind with meaningless chants or mantras. It is the opposite, you saturate your mind with the truths of God’s word. It is beyond memorizing in your mind; meditation is implanting God’s word in your heart!
- Preserve (“I delight in your decrees; I will not forget your word,” Psalm 119:16, see also verse 11, 83, 93, 109, 141, and 176). Memorization is a part of meditation, but is the mechanical foundation that leads into implanting God’s word on our hearts.
- Practice (“Be good to your servant while I live, that I may obey your word,” Psalm 119:17, see also 1-4, and verse 9). It is not enough to read God’s Word, we must heed God’s Word; that is, put it into practical application.
- Proclaim (“With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth,” Psalm 119:13, see also verse 46, 172). Some say that they proclaim the gospel with their lifestyles, but in my experience, few are that good that they can live so perfectly before others that people beat down their doors begging them to tell them about God’s Word. Proclamation must be accompanied by numbers one through four above, but those four can never replace the clear presentation and proclamation of the Gospel!