“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” — John 7:38
Is Your Bible Open?, by Randall D. Kittle
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The Bible is still the number one best seller with the most recent study telling us that an amazing 85% of American homes have at least one copy. In addition to this, the Gideons have placed millions of Bibles in our hotels, motels, doctor’s offices, and hospital waiting rooms. If you were to still find yourself in a location without a Bible, you could go to any number of Internet websites and find dozens of Bible translations with the simple click of your mouse.

So, with all this opportunity my question for you is this: “Is
your Bible open?”

From the earliest years of your Christian walk you have been told the importance of reading your Bible regularly. Perhaps a number of times you started the new year declaring, “This is the year I’m going to really read my Bible.” So with a heart of devotion you took your Bible reading plan in hand to begin. Early zeal got you excitedly tearing through the drama of Genesis with decided determination. But before long you found yourself bogged down in Leviticus. You started missing a few days here and there until eventually the plan fell by the wayside. With every failure, it becomes more difficult to pick up your Bible again.

This article isn’t about trying to make you feel condemned or guilting you into doing something. It is about the Lord’s desire to renew our minds so we see reading the Bible the way He wants us to see it … the way it’s supposed to be. I want us to look at
the problem of opening our Bibles, the perspective for opening our Bibles, and the promise from opening our Bibles.

The Problem of Opening Our Bibles
While I was praying, the Lord gave me vision. I saw an old, thick, family Bible. It had a dark engraved cover, with gold, gilded letters that read — The Holy Bible. The edges of the pages were also gilded. The Bible was held closed by a decorative metal clasp that was locked shut. Engraved on this beautiful clasp were these phrases: Too Confusing, Too Uncomfortable, Too Little Time, and Too Boring & Irrelevant. Let’s exam these four problems.

Too Confusing
When asked why they don’t read the Bible regularly, some people say they find the Bible too confusing. While this is a handy excuse, there really isn’t much basis for it. Even though the Bible is so deep that none of us can fully fathom it, it is simple enough for a child to understand. In fact, the truths of the Bible are so plain and straightforward it would take a preacher or theologian to make them confusing.

When we start reading the Bible, it can seem a bit confusing. If you have ever found the Bible confusing as you started to read it, let me give you a helpful hint. I’ve found that anything I am not familiar with is confusing … at first. When I was learning to play tennis, nothing seemed to make sense. I was instructed to take the ball in my left hand and the racket in my right, and to face to my right to hit a “forehand” and turn to the left to hit my “backhand.” It sounded like each player needed four hands in order to play. The scoring goes: love-15-30-40. If it had gone 0-15-30-45, it would have at least made some sense. And whoever thought up the idea of zero being called “love” had a dry sense of humor. Is there really anyone who loves to be humiliated by not scoring any points? Now that I’ve learned to play tennis, I’m no longer uncomfortable with those things. With practice, with familiarity, things became much less confusing.

It is often the same when I begin reading a book by a new author. At first, I find it a little hard to follow. I don’t always understand some of the phrases the author uses or the point being made with a certain approach. But the more I read that author’s writing, the easier it is to understand what he is saying and why he chose to say it the way he did.

That is exactly how it is with the Bible. None of us will be naturally comfortable at first reading God’s Word because we don’t really know. Him or understand His ways. But if you will commit to read the Bible daily for 30 days, I assure you that you will start to be much more comfortable with it and much less confused by it.

Too Uncomfortable
Another excuse people use for not reading the Bible is that it makes them too uncomfortable. Why? Mark Twain shed some light on this when he said, “It ain’t the parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.” The truths of the Bible can be uncomfortable for us.

The most difficult aspect of Bible reading can be that it challenges our beliefs and confronts our lifestyle! While reading the Bible, we might discover that we need to change, and change is rarely comfortable. In truth, if you read God’s Word you probably will have to change! None of us are the finished product yet. None of us have yet come into the fullness of Christ. God wants to conform us into His image, and He will use the Bible as a mirror to show us that we still have a ways to go and a tool to help us transform.

We might also find that the Bible doesn’t confirm what we already believe. If you have been a believer for very long, you’ve already developed some of your own pet doctrines. When you read God’s Word, you might find parts of it that don’t seem to line up with your beliefs. If this happens, it is important you do not conform the Bible to what you believe, but instead transform what you believe to match what the Bible says.

That happened to me years ago when my wife and I were very busy serving in our local church. The Lord called me to read the Book of Acts to see what the Church was supposed to look like. As I read about the early church and compared it to church-life in America, I began to realize how different they were. I become very excited about the vibrant Church the Lord birthed — one filled with life, salvations, miracles, power, and the prophetic. As I saw the kingdom of God growing and expanding, I was ruined from ever being comfortable with just going through the motions of standard American church-life.

Too Little Time to Read
One of the most common excuses people give for not reading the Bible is that they have too little time. The truth is that we always find time for what is most important to us.

For example, I am a very busy person, but if you invite me to go skiing I would probably find the time to do that. The problem isn’t time, but priority. We don’t realize how important reading the Bible is to our spiritual life. If we have difficulty seeing the Bible as vitally important, we need the Holy Spirit to renew our minds and reveal to us how essential it is to read God’s Word.

Too Boring & Irrelevant
Another reason some give for not reading their Bibles is that they find it too boring and irrelevant. Most of us would never say that (at least not out loud) but it is a common reason given for not reading the Bible. Perhaps you’ve thought, “I never get anything out of the Bible” or “I can’t find what I want in the Bible.” If you read the Bible primarily to “get something out of it,” you have the wrong motivation. To have the right motivation of heart when we read the Bible, we need to have the right perspective as we approach the Bible.

The Perspective for Opening Our Bibles
I believe that Satan has distorted our perspective on reading the Bible. With the fall of mankind, we developed a distorted perception of almost everything. Man developed a “spiritual astigmatism.” Astigmatism is a visual disorder caused by the front of the eye, the cornea, being oval like a football instead of being round like a basketball. This causes the cornea to bend light unevenly, which creates distortion like you might see in the corner of your windshield or a fun-house mirror. Astigmatism twists the image and makes you see things incorrectly resulting in distortion, blur, eyestrain, and headaches.

As it is in the natural, so it is in the spiritual. Fallen man’s perspective on life has become twisted and self-centered. Everything we see is seen from the warped perspective of how it affects us. Everything we experience and the way we evaluate and judge things has
us at the center.

But as born-again believers, we need to gain God’s perspective
— that God, not man, is the center of all. Life is all about God. We can only see the Bible clearly when we put Him at the center. It’s about Him. The Bible is basically a story about God. It is far more than history; it is His Story.

In his book,
The Story of His Glory, Steve Hawthorne said, “The Bible is basically a story about God. When we turn to the Bible as a self-help book, we end up bored or frustrated with what seems to be a rambling collection of stories. What if the Bible is more about God than it is about us? How thrilling to discover that every element of Scripture — the reports of events, the verses of distilled wisdom, the lyrical prophecies — converge in one central saga of one worthy Person.” The Bible is all about God. It is His testimony where He tells us, “This is who I am. This is what I’ve done. This is what’s important to me!” The books of the Bible are God’s 66 love-letters where He reveals His heart to us.

We need to make certain we approach the Bible from this perspective and not like a Pharisee. Jesus challenged the Pharisees in John 5:39–40, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.” Jesus was the Living Word, the Word of God made flesh, and the Pharisees failed to see that the Bible was not about an obligation but an invitation. It is about getting to know God and having a relationship with Him.

The Bible Contains Life
The Word of God is more than ink stamped on trees that have been ground up and bleached. It contains life! Hebrews 4:12 declares: “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” See the life? It is living. It is active. It penetrates. It divides. It judges.

The Word of God is supernaturally alive because it contains the very breath of God.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). The breath of God is supernaturally contained in the Scriptures, and when we read it, it is as if Jesus Himself is breathing fresh life into our spirits!

We are not supposed to read the Bible looking for answers. We need to meet the Lord and commune with Him. He wants more than us checking off a few verses (or even a few chapters) as read … done … accomplished. God’s desire is that we encounter Jesus, the Living Word, through the Bible, His written Word. We encounter the Lord in His Word when we look to meet Him as we read it instead of merely meeting our obligation or gaining a new insight to aid us in our next teaching.

God wants us to renew our relationship with Him each day through spending time in His Word on an ongoing basis. With this perspective, the Bible is ever pointing us away from itself to meeting the Lord. It becomes a love story that begins and ends with God, and speaks of His delight and desire to reveal Himself to us. We need to pray before we read the Bible, asking God to open our eyes that we might hear from Him. We must approach the Bible expecting to encounter the Lord Jesus!

Having the Right Attitude
To have the right perspective, not only do we need to be looking to meet the Lord in His Word, we need to approach it with the right attitude.

We need to read God’s Word with
a spirit of dedication. That means you read the Bible with a “Yes!” in your spirit. As you read, keep a heartfelt desire to obey what the Lord is saying. Be obedient to God to the point of determining to act upon anything He calls you to do and cast off any sin that He reveals you are practicing.

We also need to have
a spirit of devotion. You must read the Bible with an “I love You Jesus” in your spirit. Look for things your Beloved has done for you and promises to you, and rejoice in them and in Him.

We must approach His Word with
a spirit of surrender. This means that you read the Bible like Isaiah would, with a “Here am I. Send Me!” (Isaiah 6:8) in your spirit. Have a heart of servanthood that is willing to be spent or poured out for the Lord.

And finally, we need to read the Bible with
a spirit of being accepted by God. Read God’s Word not trying to earn His acceptance, but with the stamp of His acceptance across your spirit. Have confidence that the Lord loves you just as you are even though He also loves you too much to leave you just as you are.

If we will encounter the Lord in His Word in this way, He has promised to open to us the vast treasures stored in it.

The Promise from Opening Our Bibles
The greatest promises for those who will seek to encounter the Lord when they read the Bible are these:

• Deuteronomy 4:29 —
“But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find Him if you look for Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

• 1 Chronicles 28:9 — “If you seek Him, He will be found by you.”

• Jeremiah 29:13 —
“And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”

The greatest treasure in the Bible is not fulfilling some debt of obligation or finding some deep insight. It is encountering the Living God! Seekers will be finders. If you open your Bible with a heart to seek the Lord, He will come and meet with you, and there is no better treasure you could have than the presence of the living God.

But I
also want to share with you a specific promise the Lord gave me for those who will choose to open their Bibles. As I was praying, the Lord spoke saying, “To those who truly open their Bibles this year with a hunger to encounter Me in My Word and fully know Me — to know My heart, to know My ways, and to know My will — I will fully open My Word to them. Because they have come to meet Me in My Word and not just fulfill an obligation or prepare a teaching, I will give to them of the vast treasures deposited in My Word. My very breath contained within it will enliven their spirits. They will gain words of wisdom that will give them divine strategies to change their lives, change their churches, and even impact their regions. I will impart to them spiritual insights and understanding that will help them gain long awaited victories and spiritual breakthroughs. And I will lengthen, strengthen, and harden the sword of the Spirit that is in their hands so that they can break through in spiritual battles and more easily and completely defeat the enemy.”

If you will put away the excuses and open God’s Word with a heart to encounter Him, you will find Him and He will open to you the vast treasures stored in it. He is promising that your spirit will be strengthened by His Spirit. Your plans will become His words of wisdom. Your impasses will be broken through by His insights. Your warfare will become His victories because His favor will go before you, His presence will be with you, and
“the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard” (Isaiah 58:8).

God has a great desire to meet you in His Word. Receive His invitation to open your Bible with the right attitude and expect Him to encounter you through His Word.

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