Holding to Truth

holding to truth in love for the building up of the Body of Christ

5 steps to vitalize your Bible reading in the new year

Holding to truth in love” is not just about learning Bible doctrines. It’s a present, active participation in all the divine realities in God’s word, both personally and with others. So I’d like to begin the year with a fresh vision of how we can hold to these divine realities. A great way to advance practically is to learn from others and be encouraged by one another.

So in this post we’ll  appreciate the pattern of the God-seeking psalmist in Psalm 119 to be infused with a fresh love for God’s word and to enjoy it to the uttermost.  In this way we can experience all its positive functions and blessings. By the infusion of God’s living word, we’ll be prepared to be men of God personally (2 Tim. 3:16-17) and Christ’s loving bride corporately (Eph. 5:26-27).

Before we look at Psalm 119, I’d like to ask you to consider four questions:

First, “What are you seeking when you come to the Bible?”

If your answer was not a “Who,” then the first step is to adjust your view from things to a Person—the wonderful, living Person, Christ. The Lord Jesus told the Jewish religionists that the Scriptures testified concerning Him (John 5:39). Their problem was that they searched the Scriptures, but didn’t match it with coming to the Lord Jesus Himself so that they might have life (v. 40). My favorite hymn on coming to the Lord in His Word is “I Come to Thee Dear Lord,” by Witness Lee.

It’s important to see that Christ is the reality of God’s Word, even of the Old Testament law. Paul indicated that all the Old Testament ordinances were just a shadow of Christ. He is the “body” of all those shadows (Col. 2:14-17). He is God’s living testimony. In the same way the psalmist spoke of the law as God’s “testimonies” 22 times (Psalm 119:2). They weren’t just some laws to regulate man, but God’s testimonies to reveal God to us. For example, the kind of laws a person makes “testify” of the kind of person they are. Well, Christ Himself is a living portrait of what God is, and the Scriptures testify concerning Him (John 5:39, Luke 24:47).

The key to getting life from your Bible reading is not to separate your contact with the Bible, God’s written word, from your contact with Christ, God’s Living Word (1 John 1:1). So start your Bible reading by calling on the Lord Jesus, and turning your heart to Him by some prayer of fellowship (For more on this point, see my post 14 Words to Enrich Your Fellowship with the Lord.)

Today, the wonderful Christ revealed in the Bible is the life-giving Spirit in resurrection (1 Cor. 15:45; 2 Cor. 3:17). As the Spirit, He is the reality of every promise and blessing in God’s word—even of the law (John 16:13).

Second, “Have you prepared your heart to meet the Lord in His word?” 

Paul said of the unbelieving Jews, that a veil lies on their heart when they read the Scriptures. But, whenever their heart turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away (2 Cor. 3:15-16). The condition of our heart makes a huge difference in our reading the Bible. If our heart is wrong, we can read the Word but receive very little.

So we need to prepare our heart by dealing with seven conditions: 1) no exercise of heart for the Word, 2) a divided heart—one loving other things, 3) a lack of heart, 4) a heart with hindrances, like unconfessed sins, or unforgiven offenses, 5) a heart not consecrated or willing to be subdued by the Lord, 6) a heart not humbled before Him, and 7) then needing to exercise our whole heart, even our whole being to contact the word.

We need to use our eyes to read the word, our mouth to speak it, pray it, and sing it. We also need to use our mind to understand it, our emotion to love it. and our will to take the way of the word. Finally, we need exercise our spirit to contact its spiritual essence. This is the kind of practice we need to really “hold to truth in love” (Eph. 4:15).

When we deal with our heart and  exercise it properly, turning it to the Lord, the veil is removed from our heart and we can contact the Lord on every page of the Bible.

Third, “How are you contacting the Word—in the letter or as the Spirit?” 

There are two aspects of the Word—the letter and the Spirit (2 Cor. 3:6). If we only contact the Word in the letter, merely caring for its commandments, we will come away deadened, because the letter kills. But, if we go beyond the letter, as the God-seeking psalmist did, to contact word in the aspect of the Spirit, we’ll get life from our reading—even from the law. Since all the blessings the Father has given to us in Christ are spiritual in nature, we really need to take God’s word in the aspect of the Spirit in order to receive these spiritual blessings (Eph. 1:3). So if we contact the Bible—even the law, as the word breathed out by God whom we love, we’ll enjoy the Word in the aspect of the life-giving Spirit.

Fourth, ask yourself “What kind of Bible-reader will you be—a letter-keeper or a God-seeker?” 

Whenever we come to the Bible we can be one of two kinds of Bible readers—a “letter-keeper” or a “God-seeker.” A “letter-keeper” is one like the Judaizers and Saul of Tarsus, who try to be blameless according to the letter of the law to fulfill it by their own efforts (2 Cor. 3:6).

On the other hand, a “God-seeker” is one like the psalmist in Psalm 119 and the apostle Paul (1 Tim. 4:6). Such a one seeks God, loves His name, entreats His face, walks in His presence, considers His word sweeter than honey to nourish them and a shining lamp to enlighten them. Such a God-seeker realizes that the living God is to be touched in every chapter and verse of the Bible and pursues after Him with every part of their being.

Which kind of Bible reader will you choose to be? After comparing the two choices, I hope you’ll join me in choosing to be a loving God-seeker.

Fifth, follow the pattern of  the psalmist in Psalm 119, to practice from A to Z the proper attitude of God’s loving seekers toward God’s law as His living Word:

A. Choose God’s word (Psa. 119:173).
B. Believe God’s word (v. 66).
C. Lift up our hands to it, receive it warmly, saying Amen to it (v. 48; Neh. 8:5-6).
D. Love God’s word (v. 97).
E. Delight in God’s word (v. 24)
F. Taste God’s word (v. 103; cf. 1 Pet. 2:2-3).
G. Rejoice in God’s word (v. 162).
H. Sing God’s word (v. 54; Col. 3:16).
I.   Regard God’s word (v. 117).
J.  Have a perfect heart in it (v. 80).
K.  Incline our heart to it (v. 36).
L.  Seek it, long for it, and hope in it with prayer (vv. 45, 40, 147)
M . Trust in it (v. 42).
N.  Muse on it (v. 15).
O.  Consider it (v. 95b).
P.  Esteem it to be right (v. 128a).
Q.  Learn it (v. 73).
R.  Treasure it (v. 72).
S.  Treasure up God’s word in your heart (v. 11).
T.  Remember it and do not forget it (v. 52)
U.  Stand in awe of it (v. 161).
V.  Cling to it (v. 31).
W. Do not forsake it (v. 87).
X.  Turn your feet toward it (v. 59).
Y.  Keep, observe and do it (v. 69).
Z.  Walkin it and run the way of it (vv.1, 32a).

“ Lord Jesus, I love You and love Your word. Lord, make all my coming to the Bible, my coming to You. Lord, deal with all the hindrances in my being that keep me from touching You in Your word. Grant me to go beyond the letter to touch the Spirit of the Scriptures. Lord, I choose to come to You in Your word as Your loving seeker like the psalmist. Lord fill me with the attitude of your loving seekers and Lord, establish my footsteps in Your word.”

This post was inspired by message eight of the of second Crystallization-Study of Psalms held in Anaheim, CA on December 29, 2011.

If you’ve enjoyed having your touch with God’s word vitalized, please share your experience so that we can learn together how to practically “hold to truth in love.”

About Tom Smith

Hi. My name is Tom Smith. I'm the writer behind Holding to Truth in Love, and I love the Lord Jesus and His life-giving Word. Please feel free to send me an e-mail through the contact page if you have any questions. I hope you'd take a moment to subscribe to the Holding to Truth blog. Then you'll be sure not to miss a post. Thanks!

5 Replies

  1. Aurora Guillet

    “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to God. ” (Col. 3:16)
    Amen! Lord Jesus increase our capacity and appetite in coming to Your Word so that we may be constituted with the truth to gain more life for the producing of the churches and for the preaching of the highest gospel to all the inhavited earth. Gain our time especially wake us up early in the morning to come, touch and be filled with Your Word! Hallelujah to the Word of God outside of us and to the Spirit within us!

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