The Holy Ghost connection.
You’ll never be able to understand the deeper truths of the Word with your carnal mind. “The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:9-14) But God can reveal those things to you through His Holy Spirit if you ask Him to. In fact, this is one of the main purposes for the Holy Spirit-to guide us in His Word. Jesus explained to His disciples shortly before His crucifixion: “The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you,” (John 14:26) and, “He will guide you into all truth.” (John 16:13)
If you have been filled with the Holy Spirit, those promises are for you too! And if you haven’t yet been filled with the Spirit, you can be!
Everyone who receives Jesus receives a measure of the Holy Spirit, but being filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit-what the Bible calls the “baptism” of the Holy Spirit-is usually a separate experience that happens later. If you would like to be filled with the Holy Spirit, simply pray and ask the Lord for it. “If you … know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13)
You’ll be amazed at the difference that will make! Some Bible passages that seemed to go over your head before will suddenly make sense; at other times, passages that you thought you understood will burst with new meaning.
Open your spiritual eyes.
When Jesus’ disciples asked Him why He taught in parables that most people didn’t seem to understand, He answered: “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven, but to them it has not been given. … Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. … But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear.” (Matthew 13:10-16) You need to pray, as King David did, for the Lord to open your spiritual eyes to give you a greater understanding of the truth in God’s Word. “Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law [Word].” (Psalm 119:18. See also Ephesians 1:17-18)
Back to school.
Meaningful Word time is not just reading time, but study time and listening to God time also. To fully digest, absorb and benefit from the Word, you need to stop and reflect on it and apply it to your personal situation. Ask, “How is that true?”-Not with a questioning or doubtful attitude, but with one of faith, knowing that you can learn even more lessons if you search further and dig deeper.
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) -Or “study to show yourself approved to God,” as the translators of the King James Version put it. That’s really what it takes-diligent study!
Ask the Lord to help you be like the Christians of the Early Church in Berea, whom the apostle Paul commended for “searching the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.” (Acts 17:11)
What to eat–milk or meat?
Don’t expect to understand everything in the Bible the first time you read it. That’s not the way it works. Just as a newborn baby can’t yet digest and assimilate most of the foods his parents and older brothers and sisters eat, a newly born-again Christian is not yet ready for the “meat” of God’s Word. “Solid food belongs to those who are of full age.” (Hebrews 5:14) “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the Word, that you may grow thereby.” (1 Peter 2:2)
If you come to something you don’t understand, just wrap it up in a little package of faith and put it on the shelf and wait for the Lord to unwrap it for you and reveal it to you later. Jesus even told His disciples, whom He had lived with and taught day and night for over three years, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.” (John 16:12)
A lot also has to do with how much you desire to hear the Lord’s Words, and your receptivity to what He says. Jesus promised, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled,” (Matthew 5:6) but the Bible also warns that those who are “rich”–already full of their own ideas or plans or supposed righteousness-would be sent away empty. (Luke 1:53)
Pray for the Lord to lead you to verses or passages that will be specific answers to specific problems or questions you have. “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8) That’s a promise!
The voice of the Word.
The minute you turn your attention to God’s written Word, you put yourself in the position of being willing to listen to the Lord, so then He can begin to speak to you directly by giving you personal applications of what you’re reading. You may have read a Scripture many times without drawing any special meaning from it, but then the Holy Spirit helps you apply it to your situation and it springs to life! This is what’s known as the voice of His Word.
God can speak to you directly at any time, of course-straight from His mind to yours. You will probably find, however, that He will often do that by bringing to mind pertinent Scriptures that you have either read or memorized before. He will bring just the right verse to mind at just the right time. This is also the voice of the Word. In other words, you don’t have to be reading the Word at the time for God to use it to speak to you.
Just ask Him to speak, and then listen with the ears of your spirit to what He has to say. Even if you think you don’t know the Bible very well or don’t know where to start to find the answers you need, God knows His own Book backwards and forwards, He knows just what you need in every situation, and He can bring things to mind that you sometimes barely remember reading. It helps, however, to already have as much relevant data entered into your memory banks as possible. You add to your database of Word every time you read or memorize it.
(For more on hearing from God directly, see Hearing from Heaven, another title in this series.)
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The more dearly you begin to love His Word and read and study it, the more mature you will become and the more you’ll find that God can speak to you loudly and clearly and supernaturally, right through the reading of His Word!
The Word is the secret of victory or defeat, success or failure! It all depends on how you treat the Word and how you live in it and live on it, or try to go on without it.
God calls His own Son the Word-His Word to us. (John 1:1-14) What is a word? A word is a means of communication. It conveys something. It means something. God wanted to show the world His love, so what did He do? You can’t see love and you can’t see God, so He sent His Word-in Jesus. He expressed His love in Jesus. He communicated it in Jesus. Jesus spoke of God’s love, He showed God’s love, He symbolized God’s love, He manifested God’s love. Jesus was God’s own message of love to us!
In Switzerland’s Supreme Court building, there hangs a huge painting by Paul Robert entitled Justice Instructing the Judges. In the foreground are the various litigants–the wife against the husband, the architect against the builder, and so on. Above them stand the Swiss judges. How are they going to rightly judge the various cases?
The artist’s answer is simply this: Justice–who is usually depicted blindfolded, with her sword pointing straight up–is this time not blindfolded and her sword points downward to a book on which is written “The Word of God.”