Life and hope come from the very words of God, and lasting truth is only found on the pages of Scripture. It is not found in the flamboyant, comical personality of a speaker. It does not come from a catchy tweet, or a quote on Facebook. Lasting life change comes from God and God alone.
God has made Himself expressly clear through Scripture.
The Bible is composed of words, and these words are contained in sentences. These sentences make up paragraphs, and these paragraphs make up larger portions of narrative, doctrine, history, poetry, and even prophecy. When we come to God’s Word, we must read it as such.
It is not sufficient to read a single word and find all the meaning of that one word. If God desired for us to learn the quirky ins and outs of the individual words of Scripture, He would have given us a list of words instead of flowing texts. God also didn’t write the Bible as a great decoder ring whereby word counts and name meanings would reward the most tedious scrutinizer with secrets of the future. Rather, He had His authors pen the Scriptures to present Himself, the Gospel of Jesus, and wisdom whereby we can grow, be helped, and help others.
The Bible is designed to be read. It is a book that when read, brings hope. When understood, brings life. When obeyed, brings joy. And how we read it is crucial.
I heard one author put it this way, “Never read a Bible verse.” The idea being that the context and the flow of a text bring far more to a verse than our own perceptions of what that verse may be meaning.
Ezra knew this when he mounted the pulpit in front of the people of Jerusalem. The text says that he “read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense (or meaning), and caused them to understand the reading.”
Revival and obedience came when people understood the Word of God as it was written. Whether reading it at home or listening to a minister in the pulpit, God’s Word will always be most effective when understood as God wrote it.
Food For Thought: After reading Neh. 8:13-18 today, what was the result of the Jews’ hearing and understanding God’s Word?