In order for reading the Bible to have an impact on our lives, we have to approach it from the standpoint of seeking the Lord. Approaching the Bible in this way will position us for the Lord to actually speak to us through the pages of Scripture. The purpose of this post is to help you hear God through the Bible. I learned this from my good friend, Mr. Wes Aarum, and it has been a tremendous benefit to my own life. It is now my pleasure to share it with you.
1. Get a translation of the Scripture that speaks to you
I have discussed this is a previous post, so I won’t go over it again here. I cannot emphasize enough, however, the importance of obtaining a version of the Scriptures that you can easily understand.
2. Find a time and place where you will not be disturbed
This almost goes without saying, but it is very important. The time and place will probably be different for everyone. Some are morning people, others are night owls. Some like to meet with the Lord in the den, other prefer being outdoors. The important thing here is to discover what works for you.
3. Ask the Lord to speak to you as you read
The psalmist prayed “Open my eyes that I may behold wonderful things from Your law” (Psalm 119:18 NASB). The Lord has given us His Holy Spirit as our Teacher (John 16:13), and He will make the Bible come alive to us as we rely on Him. It is therefore appropriate to pray and invite the Holy Spirit to join us as we begin to read from the Scriptures.
4. Begin reading slowly, focusing on what you are reading
Focus on the text before you and seek to drink in every word. If you find your mind beginning to wander, try reading out loud. Your mind will automatically focus on what your mouth is saying!
5. Read until a verse speaks to you
I usually tell people, “Read until a verse jumps off the page at you.” When a verse of Scripture really captures your attention, it is a pretty good indicator that the Lord is trying to tell you something. When this happens I normally find it hard to read beyond that verse.
6. Re-read the verse and carefully ponder it’s message
Read the verse again and again turning it over and over in your mind. The Bible calls this meditation (Joshua 1:8, Psalm 1:2). When we meditate on the Scriptures, we are seeking to really hear what the Lord is saying to us. Meditate on the verse until its message becomes clear to you.
7. Write down the insights the Lord gives you
In another post I discussed the importance of keeping a journal handy when reading the Bible. It certainly comes into play here. Write down the date, the Scripture reference, and what the Lord shows you. Sometimes you will receive a lot of insight. At other times it won’t seem like you receive as much. Regardless, it is important that you write down what you receive. Never forget: What you don’t record you don’t remember!
8. Ask the Lord to show you how it applies to your life
The Scriptures tell us that we are to be doers of the Word and not merely hearers (James 1:22). The Word of God begins to truly abide in us and transform our lives when we begin to live it out in our daily experience. Therefore we need to seek for the Lord to show us how to apply the Word He quickens to us. As we wait on Him, He may speak to us through a thought, idea, or picture. Once again, write it down.
9. Respond in prayer
Take what the Lord has given you and turn it into prayer. If it’s a promise, receive it. If it’s a command, commit to obeying it and trust the Lord to work it out in your life. If it’s a new insight, thank Him for it and ask how you can use it to help someone else. Guess what? When we do this we are actually holding a two-way conversation with the Lord. What a privilege it is to fellowship with the Almighty!
Sometimes people ask the question, “How will I know if what I’m receiving is correct?” If what we receive is truly from the Lord it will line up with the context of the passage we are meditating on, as well as with the rest of Scripture. The instruction you receive for applying the truth should flow in harmony with the Word as well as the character of God. If you are still concerned, check out what you are receiving with your Pastor or another mature Christian.
This method of hearing God in the Scriptures will work for anyone who uses it. I trust the Lord will use it to help you learn to live in the Reign.