God's Mercy

Reading Scripture with the Right Spirit {and Free Printable}.

June 22, 2016
When I sit down for some time reading the Bible, it can be so simple. The words are there, the Spirit is within me, my mind is capable – I read, I absorb, I believe. Sometimes, of course, there are passages that I’m not sure about. But there are very reliable sources I can turn to for help as well as my lovely, learned husband. As a someone commented on another post of mine the other day,

“God doesn’t want His will for us to be a mystery.”

And that is so true. That is why we have this blessed book called the Bible! It is His breathed out will, written by men, inspired by His Spirit. Surely that means God’s Truth can be known? Surely the pages we hold can be understood – and not only by those who are learned, or studied in theology – but for regular believers, like myself?
So why then, my heart ponders in confusion, is there so much debate out there? Why can so many of us just not agree? How can particular passages divide strong believers, Christ-like followers? Why are there so many “interpretations”? If this is confusing for me as a Christian, I can imagine what it is like for those watching in from the outside. No wonder the Church has so little integrity in the world today.
Call me naive, but I do believe the Bible is to be taken – in general – as it is read. And when I say, in general, I mean that we in our post-Christ age read the Word with Gospel eyes.  Of course there are elements of Israelite law that just do not apply to us anymore because all of the Law’s promises have been fulfilled and have their their “Yes” in Jesus {2 Corinthians 1:20}. And cultural context does come into play when we look at the New Testament {as in, life is just different now}.
But surely God knew this when He put the Bible together? Did the Middle Ages with serfdom and plagues and monarchies take Him by surprise? Or the Reformation or the Enlightenment or the Industrial Age or our Post-Postmodern world with it’s terrorism and gender-nuetrality and sexually obsessed culture?
When Paul sat down and wrote this letters, did God not know ahead of time the issues, the cultural differences, the wars, the history, the people that were to come?
Of course He did. Paul didn’t know what was to come. He just wrote what the Spirit guided Him to, having lived and learned with Jesus, alone, for three years {Galations 1}. What Paul wrote he learned directly from Jesus, something none of us can ever say. So why do many people just not accept or believe or want to obey some Scriptures?

 

Again, call me naive, but this is my simplified observation: the way that we believe and live out Scripture stems from the way our hearts approach God’s Word. Now I don’t want to say how others approach Scripture, I just want to write about how I want to approach Scripture: with the right spirit.
A quotation that inspired my heart to write this post was written by a Christian man from long ago. His name was Thomas A Kempis and he loved the Lord during the 1400’s. In his devotional, The Imitation of Christ, Kempis wrote:

 

“Every holy writing ought to be read with the same spirit wherewith it was made.”

The same spirit wherewith {in which} it was made.

 

 

 

What kind of spirit did Moses have? Or David? Or Isaiah? Or Paul? Or Peter? Did they have a spirit of arrogance or conceit? Did they want to write what they wanted to? Did they write with a spirit of falsehood or with a chip on their shoulders?
Yes, every single man that God used to write His Word was that, a man. But that doesn’t mean we cannot trust the Bible. We can trust it because each of these men were filled with the Spirit of God and it was His Spirit that caused the words of their hearts and minds to flow out. This is why we can believe that the Bible is inerrant {not wrong} and all we need {2 Timothy 3:16}.
So if we know that the spirit the writers of the Bible was God’s own Spirit, then we know that their intentions were: honourable, righteous, meek, loving, God-seeking, Christ-glorifying, selfless, and in fear of the Lord.
Because we are fallen creatures, we will never read the Bible exactly as God intended it to be read. This is the biggest reason why none of us can agree. But, we are responsible for how our heart’s are when we come to God’s Word. James tells is that we are to receive the Word “humbly” {James 1:21}.

Is my heart humble?

 

Is my heart meek?

 
Is my heart truly wanting to please God and obey what He wants?

 
Is my heart clouded by own desires or preconceptions?

 
Is my heart darkened by worldly lies?

 
Is my heart seeking God’s truth even if it costs me?

Finally, is my heart reading the Holy Scriptures with the same spirit that the original writers had when they wrote the very words of God?
When I think on this thought, when I think of what God was thinking when He wrote the Bible, I want to want Him. I want to want His ways, even if it chafes with something in me. I want to remember that if someone has to be wrong between God and I, it’s me! 
 
Perhaps, just perhaps, there would be less confusion, less strife, less broken churches and broken people if we had a right, humble spirit in respect to the Bible.

 

 — Free Printable —
Will fit 8’x10″ frame

 

 

  1. Oh, this is awesome! I love the phrase you used for how we should read scripture: with “gospel eyes”. So many passages that have rubbed me the wrong way the first time have been clarified when I look at them from the perspective that Jesus has won.

  2. Thank you, Kelsey! Reading the Bible in the light of Jesus' life and death and resurrection is so important for us today. For me, seeing all the prophecies fulfilled in his life just give me so much joy.

  3. Sarah, I love the perspective of being intentional in how we approach scripture reading…examining ourselves and preparing our spirit for what God has for us! You should share on Fresh Market Friday where we select a new Featured Fresh Find every week! So glad to connect with a like-mind:)

  4. I love your list of questions! So spot on! I believe we cannot receive God's Word into a proud heart unless he softens our heart, in which case we will find ourselves humbled. We will not want to receive His Word if we do not want to obey Him and reserve the right to argue with Him (SO not a good idea!) But a heart darkened by worldly lies can receive God's Word IF that heart is humble and really is seeking the truth, in which case, God's Word will be the light to chase the darkness away.

  5. Gospel eyes, a humble spirit…I think you are right on the mark in this post. The Bible was written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and it is true and can be trusted. Thank you for speaking this truth and thank you for linking with Grace and Truth last week!

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