Your testimonies are wonderful;
therefore I obey them.
The opening of your words gives light;
it gives understanding to the simple.
open my mouth and pant,
because I long for your commands.
Our excuses for not reading the Bible are legion. We’re too busy. We don’t enjoy reading. We don’t find it to be interesting. We can’t understand what we’re reading. We’ve tried it before and got nothing out of it. Sound familiar? Yet contrast our mindset with that of Psalm 119. The Psalmist found nothing lacking in God’s Word. On the contrary, he marveled at God’s Word. He received light and guidance from God’s Word. He hungered and thirsted for God’s Word. In short, he craved the Word of God, and he couldn’t get enough of it!
Why are we prone to be so different? I believe the key difference is that we struggle to cultivate sufficient confidence in Scripture. Craving God’s Word results from confidence in God’s Word. We can believe the Bible is “inspired by God and useful for teaching, rebuking, and correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16) without ever cultivating confidence in God’s Word. We can respect the Bible and quote the Bible without ever cultivating confidence in God’s Word. So how can we cultivate more confidence in God’s Word? Keep these principles in mind—
- Value quality over quantity. Many have set out bravely to read the entire Bible using a prescribed reading plan (usually in a year’s time), only to have their earnest efforts dashed upon the shoals of oversaturation. Just because our eyes diligently scan over words doesn’t mean we’re reading with understanding. Bible reading plans can be useful tools, but never let your study of God’s Word be dictated by someone else’s system. Read until you can see how God is connecting his Word to your life. Then stop, pray and apply.
- Watch your attitude. We can approach our Bible reading as either burdensome or beneficial. If we approach the Bible as a burdensome duty, then we’ll receive no help whatsoever. If, however, we approach the Bible with the confidence that the Holy Spirit will speak to us for our good and for his glory, then we’ll reap an abundant harvest of spiritual help.
- Remember: what you feed will grow and what you starve will die. In general, our human nature leads us to act on what we think about the most. If we fixate on the shallow cravings of the flesh, then we’ll satisfy the shallow cravings of the flesh. If, however, we focus on what God says is true, then God’s Word will fortify our lives against the deadly ravages of sin.
I pray Tabernacle would be known as a church where the Word of God is not only read but craved. May the Holy Spirit, therefore, cultivate in us more confidence in God’s Word.