Did God give us the Bible so we could interpret it in any way we choose? Of course not! But we all have our own viewpoints, prejudices, desires and wishes, and we all tend to want the Bible to agree with our point of view. When we have accepted the free gift of salvation offered only by Jesus Christ, we receive the Holy Spirit as our helper and comforter. The Holy Spirit is a part of the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This study does not deal with the issue of the Trinity, but it’s still important to understand the Holy Spirit’s role in our everyday life.
But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”— 10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. 14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Cor 2:7-14 (ESV)
Satan controls the spirits of the world. The Spirit of God helps us discern the things God gave us. Only those who have the Spirit of God accept God’s things freely given.
Think for a minute of all the things God freely gave you when you received the free gift of salvation in Jesus Christ. You might consider writing them down and then offering a prayer of thanksgiving, naming all your blessings.
We can never fully know the mind of God, of course, because we are human – and sinners. Our understanding of God may be limited because we have not read His entire Book. We may not understand the Bible as well as we’d like because we don’t necessarily have the cultural background of the writers, or we may simply be immature as Christians. We might not yet be saved, which would keep us from a deeper heart knowledge of the Bible, or we may not understand some of the vocabulary. But nothing I’ve mentioned (or any excuse we could come up with) is a true barrier to understanding God. we can study, read, discuss, pray, gain maturity, learn a bit about the history and culture, and ask God’s Holy Spirit to teach us.
These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But 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 that I have said to you. John 14:25-26 (ESV)
…bring to your remembrance. This is a specific promise from Jesus Himself. The Holy Spirit will bring specific Scriptures to mind as we struggle with life’s challenges. To receive all the benefits of this promise, however, we need to do our part. We need to read, read, read!
I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Psalms 119:11 (ESV)
When I read my Bible, I have a notepad with me. As I read I jot down an outline of the day’s reading. If something is particular troubling to me, I make a note so I can do additional research. I also tend to write life events before my daily notes so I can see how God applied His Word to a specific problem. If a verse or two pops out, I write down the reference. Later, I print the verse on a regular sheet of paper and tape it somewhere that is easily seen. Because I’m a computer junkie, I also tend to put them on a nice background. I have a thumb drive attached to a television. I have the verses cycling randomly on the television, so whenever I glance up I see God’s Word. The backgrounds help me to remember the verses (although they may not be memorized), and the Holy Spirit frequently prompts me to remember the words or the picture.
What do you do to help get God’s Word into your heart? I’d like to hear how others work through their Bible readings and prayer time. Your ideas may be what someone else needs to start their reading and praying program. It can seem quite daunting, especially for a first timer!
I look forward to hearing from you and pray for a blessed weekend – and an uplifting worship service on Sunday!