"The Bible requires more of us than any other book."
I read this quote in a morning devotional earlier this month and have been thinking about it ever since. Its quite amazing how one book can be taken in so many different ways depending on who is reading it. Why is this?
Well, firstly, what is the Bible?
"All Scripture is God-breathed..." 2 Tim. 3:16
According to this verse, the Bible is the breath of God.
"...His name is called the Word of God." Rev 19:13
And this verse shows us that that the Word of God is Jesus Christ.
"...which Spirit is the word of God." Eph 6:17
This verse says that the Spirit also is the word of God.
So from these verses, and many more throughout the Bible, we can see that the Bible is the definition, explanation, and expression of God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. How then, can one read the Bible and not see God, Christ or the Spirit? This question was answered last night at a Christians on Campus Thursday Night College Meeting I attended on this very subject.
One point was on opening the four layers of our being. Whether our experience reading the Bible is positive or negative depends on how many layers have been opened while reading.
The first layer is our eyes. Practically we need our eyes to be open to read the words of the Bible. This, however, is the most superficial layer and not much is gained by just merely reading the word of God.
The second layer is our mind. This layer is a bit deeper and much more complex. With our mind we can understand the Bible. However, our mind can be a bit uncontrollable at times and has the capability of going off in a million different directions. This means that there needs to be a little effort and will power to concentrate when reading the Bible so that we can understand what we are reading.
The third layer is our heart and this layer is on an even deeper level. With our heart we can receive what we read in the Bible. The heart is many times likened to the gateway of our being. When we come to the Bible with an unturned heart, it is as if we have a veil covering us (2 Cor 3:16). So how can we turn our heart and open our being to receive what we read in the Bible? We can turn our heart by loving the Lord. By loving Him, our heart is opened and we can receive the rich life supply from the Bible.
The fourth and final layer is the deepest part of all human beings. This is the human spirit. With our human spirit we can realize what we read in the Bible. The way we open this layer of our being is by genuine prayer. By praying over what we have read as a response to what the Lord has touched us with, we can pray the Word of God into us where is becomes a nourishing element to us.
This was very eye-opening to me. In my experience, I have definitely read the Bible and felt dry or lifeless afterward. So seeing that all of the layers of my being need to be opened in order to read, understand, receive and realize God in the Bible was so helpful and practical. My hope is to have countless experiences of being in the presence of the Lord to learn and practice opening my eyes, mind, heart, and spirit to the Bible so that I may contact God in His living Word.