“But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” ~ Psalms 1:2
The King James Study Bible (1988) contains a statement in the beginning section, “How to Study the Bible”, that contains valuable insight into the best way to study the Holy Scriptures: “A great scientist and medical doctor, Dr. Howard A. Kelly (Professor of Gynecology at Johns Hopkins University from 1889 through 1940), was also an avid student of the Bible. He once said, ‘The very best way to study the Bible is simply to read it daily with close attention and with prayer to see the light that shines from its pages, to meditate upon it, and to continue to read it until somehow it works itself, its words, its expressions, its teachings, its habits of thought, and its presentation of God and His Christ into the very warp and woof of one’s being.’”
Some people might believe that only theologians benefit from actively studying scriptures; however the truth is that anyone who prayerfully reads the Bible and meditates upon its teachings will be impressed by the Holy Spirit concerning the truthfulness of God’s word. The same spirit that inspired the prophets will guide our hearts and minds as we seek the will of the Father in His beloved Son—Jesus Christ.
The mistake that many people make is thinking they have to understand everything they read in the Bible all at once. Many scholars and theologians have made understanding the scriptures a life-long pursuit and not one of them claims to know everything there is to know about Christian doctrine. It may take time for many of the Bible teachings to come into focus, but every time we spend a few minutes pondering over the meaning of a text we learn something new. Eventually, these small pieces information will come together to form a clear picture about God and His will for our salvation.
The Life Application Study Bible says, “Imagine reading a familiar passage of scripture and gaining fresh insight, as if it were the first time you had ever read it. How much richer your life would be if you left each Bible reading with a new perspective and a small change for the better. A small change every day adds up to a changed life—and that is the very purpose of Scripture” (2005, p. xvi).
Dr. Billy Graham, one of the most well known Christian evangelists of our time, wrote a Forward for the “What the Bible is all About Bible Handbook” written by Dr. Henrietta Mears, where he gives the following statistics about Bible reading in the end of the 20th Century: “The Bible, the greatest document available for the human race, needs to be opened, read, and believed. One survey indicated that only 12 percent of the people who said they believe the Bible actually read it every day; 34 percent read it only once a week, and 42 percent read it only once in a great while” (1998, p. 10).
If the church of the 21st Century wants to regain its spiritual power to influence the world then it needs to get back to what the Halley’s Bible Handbook calls “a basic Christian habit” (2000, p. 16). Christians not only need to read the bible regularly, but we also need to meditate upon its meaning and make a daily spiritual application of its teaching to our lives as individuals.
“Many Christians do not read the Bible regularly. Why? Because in the pressure of daily living they cannot find a connection between the timeless principles of Scripture and the ever-present problems of daily living” (Life Application, 2005, p. xv). This is why the Bible tells us to 1) Pay attention to the words of God; 2) Learn from the examples He has given to us; 3) Apply what we learn to our individual circumstances (Isaiah 42:23; 1 Corinthians 10:11; 2 Thessalonians 3:4).
By reading the Bible regularly, by meditating upon its meaning, and by applying its teachings we allow the Holy Spirit to write the laws of God upon our heart (Hebrews 8:10) and our mind becomes one with Jesus Christ: “For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ” (Corinthians 2:16).