Delighting in the Bible

God reveals Himself through His word which we refer to as the Bible. Before the printing press was a reality, God’s word was miraculously preserved through centuries. The doctrine of revelation is one of the great doctrines which compels our minds and hearts and moves our wills. F. Leroy Forlines distinguishes between lower story knowledge, which deals with particulars that can be empirically known and upper story knowledge which “deals with the inescapable questions of life”. [1] Forlines provides a helpful reflection on the necessity of divine revelation when he says, “Empirical research and reasoning cannot answer the questions we have about God. God must reveal himself if he is to be known.” [2] God has revealed himself so we can know him and delight in him. We delight in God when we delight in His word.

The Doctrine of Revelation

New disciples of Jesus are rightly encouraged to read the Bible daily. The Bible has impacted people in countless ways throughout time and space history. It has been a source of encouragement for believers and a source of conviction for both those who know Christ and those who have never responded to the Gospel call to repent and believe. The Bible is a great literary work, yet it is so much more. It is a treasure to be delighted in.

In Luke 10:38-42, Jesus commended Mary for “choosing the good portion” and choosing to prioritize time at his feet. God is described as the portion of His people throughout the Old Testament. The Psalmist described God as the “strength of my heart and portion forever”. (Psalm 73:26)

In an era of countless distractions, shiny screens, and material excess, we are tempted to seek satisfaction in temporal things that we can experience with our senses. God has always intended that His people delight in him alone, though. We are to worship the Creator. Worshipping creation is idolatry and a direct violation of the First Commandment. Spiritual disciplines like bible intake help us grow in godliness, but we must pursue that growth. As Donald Whitney says, “We aren’t merely to wait for holiness; we’re to pursue it.” [3]

One of the ways we delight in God is to delight in his word. In this post, I want us to consider why it is important that we delight in the bible and reflect on practical ways we can cultivate our delight in Scripture, which will enable us to delight in God and grow as disciples.

The Psalmist delighted in God’s word and used vivid language to express his appreciation for God’s Word.

“The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether. They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.” (Psalm 19:8-10, NASB1995)

Many believers want to delight in the Bible like the psalmist did but they feel overwhelmed. We must own the fact that the Bible is strange and difficult to understand at times. We must also come alongside those who struggle to help them love the Bible and value the spiritual disciplines for the well-being of their souls.

The more we cultivate our hearts for the things of God, the more we will delight in God. We are either cultivating space in our total personality for the things of the flesh or the things of the Spirit. We must remember God’s promise that when we draw close to him, he will draw close to us.

Five Suggestions for Reading the Bible for Delight

Ask the Holy Spirit to help you hear from Him in your total personality. We read as whole people who think, feel, and act. Prayer must be the first component of personal or group Bible study. Prayer positions us in submission and enables us to be more receptive of what God has to say.

Read for understanding. There are several helpful acronyms for good Bible study including HEAR (Highlight, Explain, Apply, Respond) and SPACE. (Look for a Sin to confess, a Promise to claim, an Attitude to change, or an Example to follow.) We must understand the Bible before we can delight in it. There are numerous free resources available to help us grow in our knowledge of God and His word. (Sadly, we are too often lazy an apathetic to the things of God!)

Read consistently. It is a discipline that must be cultivated. A new habit takes time to implement into one’s life. We will not stumble into any spiritual discipline, yet we must make growth a priority as followers of Christ. Spiritual disciplines help us grow in Godliness and without godliness no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14).

Read with other believers. People struggle to read the bible because of the lone ranger mentality. We need the community of believers known as the church to help us understand. Our interpretation of the Bible must be consistent with what the saints of the Christian past have said as well as with the teaching of our local church. Reading the Bible should be a communal effort for Jesus’ disciples.

Write down your questions in a journal or notebook. As we read the Bible, it is natural to encounter strange and confusing material. Writing out our questions helps us further meditate on the passage and articulate our understanding of the passage. It also provides an opportunity to ask spiritual leaders like pastors and small group leaders specific questions we have about the Bible.

Conclusion

The Bible is God’s word to us. It is real, relevant, and powerful. As we all cultivate our hearts for the things of God, we will find satisfaction for our deepest longings. Delighting in the Bible helps us delight in the Triune God. May His words be sweeter than honey for you, dear reader.


 

[1] F. Leroy Forlines, Quest for Truth: Theology for Postmodern Times, (Randall House: Nashville, 2006), 7.

[2] Forlines, 31.

[3] Donald S. Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, (NavPress: Colorado Springs, 2014), 2.

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