I ran across a book on Amazon, Read The Bible For Life. I was struck by the opening sentence in the review:
The Bible may be the most bought book in the world, but it is also often the least read and least applied due to a basic lack of understanding and motivation on the part of readers.At this point, I have no recommendation for or against, no review whether or not I think this book would be helpful in understanding or applying God’s word. I have found many such helpful tools, but have not read this one.
I do, however, strongly advocate reading the Bible for life – life everlasting!! That’s the very first promise one should learn from God’s word. If one is a follower of Christ, it is essential for growth, application and obedience to God’s commandments for those who love and serve him.
I remember a time we had a couple over for dinner. We had known “of” them for years. I feel well acquainted with them, aware of their church faithfulness, greeted them often in services, knew their children – but that Friday night was the first time we’ve spent time as two couples, sharing experiences, becoming friends.
Spending time studying God’s word is just such life-changing experiences. Each time we sit down with Bible in hand, prayer in our hearts and an open mind to hear Him teach us, we come closer to Him. Our decisions are strengthened, having His words available for application in our lives. Rather than stopping to wonder, “Is this what God would want me to do?”, we carry that awareness as we walk into situations that would lead us away from His will. David knew this:
With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. (Psalms 119:10-11 KJV)
How can we hide His word in our hearts unless we seek that knowledge? And, can we acknowledge that what we seek often cannot be seen?
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1 KJV)
Where do we gain and grow that faith?
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17 KJV)
Why do we need faith?
Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. … But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:3, 6 KJV)
Am I responding solely for the rewards? I pray that is not so – for I do believe that He is, that my faith can grow and I’m determined to diligently seek Him.
This isn’t simply a Christian, New Testament doctrine:
Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. (Isaiah 55:6-8 KJV)
His ways are not ours – but we can change our ways. Read from the original, in context, verify for yourself.