How Many Times Has the Bible Been Through You?
I love quotes—profound quotes, funny quotes, random sayings, whatever. But I recently came across a quote that has made me take a step back and think. Here it is:
What makes the difference is not how many times you have been through the Bible, but how many times and how thoroughly the Bible has been through you. (Gipsy Smith)
At first, I was just like, "That's neat, I'll have to remember that one." But then it struck me—just how thoroughly has the Bible been through me? I've been a Christian for eleven years, and I have to admit, I have not yet gotten through the whole Bible. The main reason is that when I first became a Christian, I was not very faithful at all at having quiet time with God each day. The last few years I've done better, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that I, more often than not, just read through the day's passages more out of duty than actual desire.
I usually read through a chapter or two, find one small passage that sticks out to me, and I write it down in my journal. I rarely take the time to actually study—and by study I mean searching out the meanings of words, thoroughly reading the context of the passage, taking the time dig into Scripture to find out what God is really saying. But true study is where true growth in Christ comes from!
Without studying God's Word faithfully, diligently, thoroughly, and wholeheartedly, we will have little to no spiritual growth in our lives. While reading passages is still important, we should make time at least once a week for true, in-depth study of the Word of God. But even study can become dead if you are not comparing what you see in yourself to what you find when you study Scripture.
James 1:22–25 says, "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed."
So if we read the Word, study the Word, and then go and live our lives the same way we've always lived them, we will deceive ourselves. We'll think that we're all spiritual because we read the Bible every day. But that's not what Scripture tells us. We must be doers of the Word—live it out in our everyday lives. Put what we read into practice.
That's where it gets hard. It's easy to read and think of how good we're doing in certain areas. But then when we come across something that needs to change, we tend to become hearers of the Word instead of doers. We read the convicting passage, put the Bible away, and go on living, forgetting what we've read. We're like the man beholding his face in a glass, going our way, and forgetting right away what kind of person we are.
We must look into the perfect law of liberty and continually study and pray and work to change our lives so that we are more Christ-like (with God's help, of course)! And if we faithfully "continue therein," being "not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work," God will bless us with abundant spiritual growth! Find someone to help you work on specific areas in your life, preferably a woman who is older and more spiritually mature than you are. But even your peers (as long as they're Christians) can help hold you accountable in the area(s) you're trying to change!
I know that changing according to what God says in His Word is often hard, and we will be rejected at times—many times. But God also promises in Hebrews 13:5 never to leave us or forsake us, and in Isaiah 40:29–31, He promises that they who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength and mount up with wings as eagles! Don't be afraid to be different—as Christians, we are supposed to be different than the world! So forget what anyone else has to say about things that you decide to change because of what you've studied in your personal quiet time. If you're faithful to Him, God will give you strength anew, and you can soar like an eagle (figuratively speaking, of course)!
In conclusion, I have just one question for you: How many times and how thoroughly has the Bible been through you?
This post was written by Traci Beeson.
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