Two Attitudes When Studying the Bible
Reading the Bible is not like reading any other book. The words of the Bible are the very words of God. The Scriptures are described as a two-edged sword which reads us while we read it. And yet people often treat the Bible like any other book that collects dust on their decorative shelf. Even Christians can be bored with the Bible and miss its relevance for their lives.
The word of God is more important than food. It is more precious than honey. It is more valuable than gold.
“The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.” Psalm 119:72
This means there is a right and a wrong way to approach the Scriptures. The attitude with which we approach the Bible is directly connected to our appreciation of it. How we study the Bible is just as important as that we study the Bible.
There are two attitudes that we should adopt as we start to read the Bible.
1. Learn: Humbly Sit at the Feet of Jesus
We should approach the Bible with the humility to learn. Learning is a part of what it means to become a disciple of Jesus (Luke 10:38-42). A disciple is a “learner.” Luke 10:38-42 describes the story of Mary, who sat at the feet of Jesus to hear from him. To sit at the feet of Jesus today means we must read the Bible with eagerness to learn.
Do you long to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen?
This is not about checking off a box. This is not a task list. When I first became a Christian, I used to set a timer during my daily reading of the Bible. I kept one eye on the Bible and one eye on the clock. This is bad because it is the wrong motive. I felt extra holy if I “exceeded” my ten minutes. I was studying the Bible simply because I knew this was what good Christians did. I did not truly love meeting God in his Word. Our goal of Bible study should not be merely having a daily devotional. Our goal should be to encounter Christ in the Bible.
How do you know if you have a learner’s attitude? One indicator is that you ask God to open your eyes to behold wonderful things in his Word.
“Deal bountifully with your servant,
that I may live and keep your word.
Open my eyes, that I may behold
wondrous things out of your law.” Psalm 119:17–18
As you begin to read the Bible, begin first with prayer. Depend upon God to open your eyes. There are things we cannot see apart from God’s spirit revealing them to us. We miss things when we depend upon our own skills or experience in Bible study (1 Corinthians 2:6-16).
Having a learner’s attitude means we humble ourselves and invite the Holy Spirit to show us marvelous things in the Bible. Ask, and you shall receive!
2. Linger: Love to Soak in the Scriptures
Sometimes, we treat reading our Bibles like toasting a pop-tart. We place it in the toaster, wait 30 seconds, and wham – food to carry us for the next few hours. This doesn’t work for long. Instead, we should read the Bible like a crock-pot. We should want every day to be like a spiritual crock-pot. You are the mobile crock pot. We should wake up in the morning, place the food in (the Bible) and let it simmer all day long. By the end of the day, you have some good rich potatoes to chow down on.
We should marinate in the Scripture all day long.
“I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.” Psalm 119:15–16
The reason why David meditates upon the Bible all day is because he loves the Bible. He doesn’t forget about it because he can’t! It is a joy to think about what he read in the Word.
The attitude of a listener is linked with the action of lingering.
“Make me understand the way of your precepts [this is a prayer], and I will meditate on your wondrous works.” Psalm 119:27
David prays and asks God for understanding, and then he proceeds to meditate upon the wonderous works of God. The works of God are wonderous to David because he receives them by faith and loves them.
His heart has been humbled, and his attitude leads to a long act of meditating on the Bible.
Do you think about the Scripture you read throughout the day? Have you tried meditating on one verse throughout the day?
If you have, you know how life-changing it is.
Are you an eager learner? Do you love to linger on the Word? You can!
It starts by asking God to forgive us of our hard hearts. Ask God to soften your heart so that you may see the Word of God as it truly is – more wonderful and precious than life.
40 Questions about Interpreting the Bible by Robert Plummer