Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Great Need of Experimental Bible Reading

As many of us are seeking to re-new Bible reading in our day-to-day lives at the beginning of this new year, it's critical to keep in mind the importance of experimental reading.  If our reading is not experimental, then all we are accomplishing is moving our eyes over the words much like a blind person would move their fingers over braille.  God is not aiming at eye movement.  He's aiming at heart movement.  Every time we sit down to read the scripture, we have a new opportunity to renew our love for God and our fellow man.  Reading scripture, meditating on scripture, studying scripture, talking about scripture can be means to stoke the fire in our souls.  Or, paradoxically,  they can be means to quench that fire.  Jesus Himself said to the religious elite in His day "You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life." (John 5:39-40)  We must feel the weight of this verse in our bible reading.  The Pharisees' reading of scripture promoted hardened legalistic hearts when they read.  They did not come to Messiah when they studied.  They were ultimately studying themselves, and finding justification for their lives when they opened up the sacred texts.   We must come to Jesus when we are searching the scriptures!  If we are not encountering Him on some level, then we are no better than those who He rebuked.   Our reading must be experimental reading

Experimental reading is the type of reading that undresses our hearts in the light of Scripture.  We do not read in order to posture before the Lord.  We read as a means to know Him even as we are known.  This requires exposure.  Experimental reading puts our hearts on trial before the Judge and Husband of our souls.  Our hearts are tested (thus experimental) before the Lord of glory.  For Christians, this is not a pass/fail test.  Those who have been bought by the blood of Jesus Christ cannot fail to be brought to Him.  But it is the type of test that continually reminds us of our fallen condition, and thus the great mercy of Christ Jesus.   Experimental reading takes us the the very edge of our souls to show us the vanity of human existence apart from Jesus. Experimental reading allows sentences to be more than mere sentences.  When we read experimentally, sentences flex their muscles on our spirits and we submit to their strength.  In that submission we come alive to God. "My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned." (Psalm 39:3)  Experimental reading is a composite of meditation, prayer, praise, study, interpretation, and delight.  In short, experimental reading is communion with God.  We should expect to experience God in our reading, like we experience our spouse in conversation.  Oh that we would plead with God to open our hearts like Lydia of old. "And the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul." Acts 16:14  We need to be experimental in our Bible reading, because that is the only type of Bible reading that will transform us "...from one degree of glory to another.  For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit." 2 Cor. 3:18

No comments:

Post a Comment