Summary: One of the reasons why we fail to make use of the scripture is the wrong approach to it. We read, hear yet somewhere we fail to get the effect of it.
HOW TO APPROACH THE BIBILE Nehemiah 8
One another reason why we fail to make use of the scripture is the wrong approach to it. We read, hear yet some where we fail to get the effect of it.
We should never forget Bible is not like a secular book. We can not understand on our own strength and ability. Its God’s word - needs His help. Cf 2Tim 3:16; 2Pet 1:21; 1Cori 2:14 – foolishness to the natural man.
Spirit helps. Cf. Jn 14: 26; 16: 12 – 15.
So need to approach the Bible in a suitable manner. How? The above 4 points are noteworthy. Let us consider Neh 8 where we see how the people of Israel responded to the ministry of the word. It is a classic illustration for right approach to the word of God. Neh 8: 1 – 9 – Public reading – notice how they listened and responded.
1. Respect for the word. V. 7c, 3
“Stood” – as Ezra opened. It’s not worshipping the Bible. Yet, regard – honour. Cf. Ezr 9:4; Isa 66:2. Ob. God expects us to respond with fear and respect. Why? His word – respect to His word is to Him. So, He takes it seriously. Cf. Isa 30: 9 – 11; Jer 5:12, 13 – Jews lost regard for the word. Same condition today. Characteristic of last days. Cf. 2Tim 4:3, 4.
2. Prayerful attitude. V. 6
“Amen, Amen”; ‘lifted hands’ – all show – they acknowledge God as the author of the word – conscious – He alone can reveal the truth of His word. Cf. 1Thess 2:13 – received as God’s word. Need to depend on Him to understand the scripture for it’s His word. This shows our humility also cf. 1Sam 3:10 – “Speak, your servant hears” – even today – Spirit illumines – expect it. Sad, some attend to judge, mark, criticize! “For him”; ‘against me’ etc. Some show their anger at the preacher for sharing the truth. What use of getting irritated at the mirror is face is bad! In fact, if no one touched by the ministry, no message, time of ministry is not fulfilled.
3. Attentively. V.3.
“All the people were attentive to the book” – carefully – ears opened – not looking here and there! Or thinking some thing else, even checking facebook! Cf. Act 17:11 – People of Berea were noble for they searched the scriptures daily. It’s a noble character. Cf. Luk 8:18; 10:26; Matt 22:29; Luk 24:25 etc – the Lord rebuked careless reading / hearing. “How do you hear, what do you understand?” He calls them ‘fools’ for not able to understand the scriptures and err as a result.
4. Desire to understand more. v. 7, 8, 12b.
Sought others help to understand the real meaning. “Gave sense’ – some portion is hared, need to know the back ground / context / cross reference etc. cf. Isa 34:16 – search the mate – revealed progressively so need to look in to all the passages to get the real meaning. Refer the entire spectrum of revelation. Making a doctrine out of one or two verses is not right. It’s a hard work. Without desire, a real longing not possible. Cf. 1Pet 2:2. They made every effort to understand – ‘who says’; ‘for whom’; and ‘what shall I do’ etc.
5. Earnestness. V. 18.
Observe, not just one or two days, 7 days regularly they came to hear the word of God. Often we start then slowly the enthusiasm gone! Need consistence – diligence. Cf. Act 2; 41 – ‘continued steadfastly for doctrine etc’ – need to hold on the doctrine. Cf. 2Tim 1:13; Tit 1; 9; 2Jn v.9.
6. Submissive attitude. V. 9
“Mourn” – Why do they mourn – like in grief? They understood the truth- touched their heart – convicted of their failure. Acknowledge - confess – be sorry. Cf. 2Cori 7:10 – sorrow well, tears not bad.
7. Believing attitude. V.10
They believed the promises of God, not just felt sorry for sin – failures – but confessed and found forgiveness as promised by the Lord. When they understood the truth, promises they believed with out any doubt or question. If not able to believe – it’s a great loss. Heb 4:2
8. Obedient attitude. V. 14
Result: v. 17c – great gladness. That is the outcome of true Bible study.
- How do we approach the word of God?
- Be respectful, prayerful, attentive, earnest, submissive, believing and obedient.