Summary: How to read scripture to know God, not just know about God.
How to Have a Personal Relationship With Jesus Christ
Relating to God through the Scripture
John 10:14-18, 27
"I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father."
… My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
“My sheep hear me and they know my voice.”
Can be a recipe for lack of assurance – not so sure that we do hear Jesus’ voice.
Just as animals need to be “imprinted” with their mother’s voice, we need to learn God’s voice in our life.
The most obvious place to learn what God’s voice sounds like is the Bible – every word is “God-breathed”
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that all God’s people may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Often we read the Bible to learn about God, or to learn about the Christian life. It is our main text when doing theology. We may use it as a discernment tool when we feel like God has said something to us, because we know that God will never contradict his own word. But, what about hearing God’s voice in the scripture?
The Bible is not just an ancient text written in a dead language. It is living and breathing…
Hebrews 4:12 (New Living Translation)
For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.
We don’t just learn about God in scripture, we can hear his voice in scripture.
There is nothing wrong with reading the bible in order to be informed about God and his ways. I would say that the more that we know the scriptures, the more God has to work with as he is speaking to us through it
M. Robert Mulholland, Jr. in his book, "Shaped by the Word" makes a distinction between reading the Bible for information, and reading it for formation.
In reading the Word for information we seek to master the text, to get what we want out of it, so that we can speak to the situation that we find ourselves in.
An extreme example of this is the little boy spread out on the floor with his Bible in front of him, and he says to his sister, "Would you please be quiet, I’m trying to find a passage to back up my pre-conceived notion!"
In reading the word for formation we seek to have the text master us.
Informational reading often seeks to find the objective universal principle, whereas formational reading seeks to hear subjectively what God is saying directly to me through this passage.
David and Nathan after David’s sin - (1 Sam. 12) – tell the story David and Bathsheba, Uriah
The LORD sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, "There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.
"Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him."
David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, "As surely as the LORD lives, the man who did this must die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity."
Then Nathan said to David, "You are the man!
David exegetes the passage well "All rich men with lots of sheep should never steal their poor neighbour’s only sheep for their parties - on penalty of death, or at least they should pay back 4x as much"